WPP is made up of around 100 different companies, the largest with 15,174 employees, the smallest has 17, and operates in 106 countries around the world. Because of the structure of the organisation and the competitive nature of many of its clients WPP has an unusual IT challenge, as it will never be able to completely consolidate its IT offerings.
Each business runs its own IT department and while this leads to some duplication, the company has for the last couple of years been working to share services and procurement whenever possible. One of the current business challenges for communications services organisations like WPP is the diminishing traditional advertising market and the increase in technology-based forms of communication. But despite this WPP continued to grow with revenue up 9.9 per cent to £5.908 billion, and billings up 13 per cent to £30.141bn. The company is predicting future growth over the next 12 months.
Last year, WPP CIO David Nicoll stated that global procurement of as much of the group’s IT as possible was an ongoing theme, and that the changes the company had imposed over the last couple of years to promote this had proved very successful in reducing costs and promoting IT and business process best practice.