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A digital evolution: modernizing ASTM International

Situation

Adapt and thrive: business transformation with AWS

Standards are the basis of, well, everything—the house you live in, the car you drive, the food you eat and much more.

ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials) is a global standards organization whose 30,000+ technical specialists create and maintain more than 13,000 standards. ASTM members represent more than 90 industries and develop standards for everything from airplanes to N-95 masks for more than 120 years.

Part of ASTM’s longevity is their willingness to adapt and innovate. As technology and standards evolve, so has the organization. In response to an increasingly mobile workforce, global utilization of standards and market need for a complete digital solution, ASTM International launched a full-scale business transformation. They also set the stage to continually adopt new tech and create a cloud-first organization with the AWS platform.

Solution

Bringing cloud modernization to life

ASTM’s goal: Become a 360-degree product and service provider in the standards industry via a global platform—using modern cloud technology—where B2B and B2C clients can securely access data and seamlessly collaborate. By itself, it was no small task. But the clincher? Do it in 9 months.

BXT, PwC’s way of working, combining business strategy (B), experience design (X) and immersive technology (T) helped us work better, smarter and faster so we could rapidly innovate and allow ASTM to meet its goal.

Business

Tomorrow’s standards platform today

ASTM knew they had to prepare to fulfill the business transformation vision of meeting new member and customer demands, innovating a 360-degree solution offering and diversifying revenue streams with fast action. For example, with B2B and B2C customers to satisfy, they realized their existing 20+ year-old legacy system would no longer do the trick. It was cumbersome for users and developers: The site and search functions weren't standardized, and it often took multiple tries to find information.

ASTM deeply understood their customer's needs—including the desire for secure, open access to standards while on the go. Gone are the days of static books full of standards. Customers demand interactive standards from anywhere at any time.

The company seized the opportunity to modernize, innovate and open up to additional revenue streams by offering subscriptions as a SaaS provider.

Experience

Tearing down silos and ranking must-solve problems

The first order of business was getting into the heads of ASTM stakeholders to understand the forces pushing them to make a change.

Alongside ASTM, we ranked and recalibrated high-priority problems by plastering a conference room with neon sticky notes. We continuously peeled back the onion to identify challenges, opportunities and align on goals. Together, we launched work on the new platform, and simultaneously assisted in tearing down silos, which ultimately contributed to bringing the organization together.

Then, as the world shuttered in response to COVID-19, our work went virtual. We didn’t miss a beat, likening our experience to industry leaders who collaborate across time zones to publish the latest standards. With ASTM's agility, and our customer-centric commitment, we adapted and forged on.

Technology

Cloud-based, flexible and super secure

ASTM wanted to bring certain technology expertise in-house to reduce vendor dependency. The tech's must-haves: cloud-based, scalable and super secure. But it needed to go further. With ASTM’s additional goal of becoming an eCommerce SaaS provider via a more robust subscription-based model, the platform also had to be flexible. AWS fit the bill, offering an ideal blend of power, elasticity and custom-built business solutions.

Working hand-in-hand with ASTM, we swiftly helped design the platform, adjusting on the fly. Using AWS' Well-Architected Framework, ASTM implemented serverless tech and microservices for faster deployment and scalability. The company also intensified security, upskilled employees, rolled out a common lexicon and embedded a DevSecOps culture.

Results

The scalability to meet shifting demands

ASTM now boasts a user-friendly, customizable platform to help them grow like never before—built entirely on AWS. They’re also positioned as a SaaS provider, offering customers tailored experiences. To boot, the company adopted an agile culture that links cross-organization teams and ignites ongoing change.

And ASTM sees huge growth potential. They can get to market faster with innovative ideas and scale to meet shifting customer demands. In the past, ASTM experienced about a 3% annual growth rate, which is now expected to jump threefold.

But their work isn’t done. Next up is financial management transformation, increased cyber security and an overhaul of sales and marketing platforms as ASTM is laser focused on ongoing evolution.

9 months effort and up to 3X anticipated annual revenue growth

Reduced average time to onboard new customers from 6 months to 5 weeks

Up to 4,000 B2B customers and 30,000+ members on the new platform once complete

“Working with the PwC team opened our eyes to the impact of innovation on our future and how a technology upgrade can lead to a full business transformation.”

Kathie Morgan
President, ASTM International

“As they say, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ We helped ASTM bring the cultural change needed to help them deliver on their strategy.”

William Tate
Managing Director, PwC

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Bob Moore

Bob Moore

US AWS Alliance Leader, PwC US

William Tate

William Tate

Managing Director, PwC US

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