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How The Shipyard Reduced AWS Spend by 35% with Connectria



Founded in 2014, The Shipyard is an independent full-service advertising agency based in Columbus, Ohio. Known for its creative and data-driven media strategies, The Shipyard has established itself as a leading agency that delivers on both building brand demand and predictable performance. To support growing customer data operations, The Shipyard relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and is partnering with Connectria for managed services and AWS support. This collaboration enables The Shipyard to concentrate on strategic business initiatives by offloading AWS administration and management.

“The reasons we chose Connectria focused on how seamlessly they connected the dots between our business goals and the capabilities of AWS. Connectria ensured our team members understood what was possible and they’ve continued this throughout our time working with them, it’s been great,” says Julia Sebastian, EVP of Operations at The Shipyard.

The Challenge

Navigating AWS With Minimal In-House Cloud Skills

The Shipyard’s journey with Amazon Web Services (AWS) featured all of the usual growing pains associated with scaling in a cloud environment. Initially drawn to AWS for its comprehensive service offerings, the agency soon encountered technical hurdles due to a gap in in-house AWS expertise. This skill gap hampered its ability to fully leverage AWS capabilities, leading to inefficiencies, underutilization of resources, and a cloud infrastructure that, over time, had become increasingly difficult to manage. The lack of specialized AWS knowledge also made it challenging for The Shipyard to navigate this complexity, hindering its visibility and understanding of its infrastructure.

Compounding these challenges were issues of cost management and security compliance. As The Shipyard expanded its use of AWS, managing costs efficiently while ensuring the infrastructure’s scalability became a critical concern. They recognized the potential for optimizing expenses but lacked the insight needed to identify and eliminate wasteful spending. Moreover, The Shipyard was focused on maintaining a secure and compliant AWS environment to protect client data, and as its operations scaled it looked for a partner that could be nimble to varying client requirements.

To tackle its AWS complexities and elevate its cloud strategy, The Shipyard made the intentional decision to partner with Connectria rather than hire AWS experts internally. As an agency, The Shipyard has an appreciation for leveraging subject matter experts in their fields and knows choosing the right partner is the key to staying at the forefront of AWS’ evolutions.

This move marked a turning point in The Shipyard’s cloud management journey. Working with Connectria was central to refining The Shipyard’s cloud infrastructure, eliminating redundancies, and securing cost efficiencies, all while bolstering security and compliance. Connectria’s managed services brought a new level of clarity and control to The Shipyard’s AWS operations, driving strategic improvements that were once hindered by internal skill gaps and setting the organization up for its planned large-scale growth.

Connectria has helped us implement a more robust infrastructure that has allowed us to scale. Before Connectria, we had visibility into our infrastructure, but there were gaps in our team’s understanding of how everything was interconnected.” 

— Julia Sebastian, EVP of Operations

The Solution

Charting a Course to AWS Excellence

Connectria delivered immediate support to The Shipyard’s data team, providing the critical AWS expertise needed to streamline its cloud operations and stay in step with evolving security requirements. Starting with a detailed evaluation of The Shipyard’s AWS configuration, Connectria identified key areas to eliminate security risks, and optimize resource usage for cost reduction. Sebastian praised the partnership for its contributions to security and open lines of communication:

Working with Connectria has layered on additional security with a more regular system of checkpoints including vulnerability testing, security reviews, and more immediate alerts. These enhancements not only bring us peace of mind, but also allow us to pass along the peace of mind to our clients about achieving security requirements for their businesses. The communication with the Connectria team and our team has been the best part. Having a human behind the alerts has been fantastic!

The Shipyard heavily relies on AWS services, including EC2, RDS, and S3, to power its operations. In its commitment to maximizing efficiency and reducing costs, a detailed review was undertaken with a notable emphasis on optimizing its RDS for PostgreSQL database. This focused effort is part of a larger strategy to ensure that all aspects of its cloud infrastructure are perfectly tailored to The Shipyard’s specific needs and usage patterns.

Within this comprehensive strategy, Connectria’s recommendations for storage tiering, coupled with the optimization of core AWS services, ensured that The Shipyard could meet its current operational demands while also preparing for future growth. This strategic foresight into scalability underlines Connectria’s role as not just a service provider, but a visionary partner, pivotal in The Shipyard’s ongoing journey towards cloud excellence and market leadership.

The Results

Cost Savings and a Path To Strategic Innovation

The Shipyard’s collaboration with Connectria has transformed its approach to AWS, converting its challenges into strategic victories. Through Connectria’s partnership, The Shipyard streamlined its cloud infrastructure, achieving operational efficiency as well as significant cost savings. Julia Sebastian from The Shipyard highlights this impact, stating,

From a value add standpoint, our investment in Connectria has resulted in overall cost savings. Connectria helped us identify 35% cost savings immediately in our standard operations and adjusted our infrastructure to bring those to life.” 

— Julia Sebastian, EVP of Operations

This partnership has catalyzed a notable shift towards more strategic data operations, allowing The Shipyard to focus on innovation and scalability. Sebastian elaborates on the deeper value Connectria has provided,

With Connectria’s support, we are finally able to embrace true growth. Connectria is helping us build a new product on AWS, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to create the infrastructure that we needed to support this product. Connectria had all the required resources and skills we needed.”

Looking forward, The Shipyard is poised for growth and ready to accelerate strategic product initiatives, like the launch of a new customer-facing product – PULSE, which allows clients to engineer brand love for their businesses. This initiative, powered by AWS services and facilitated by Connectria’s comprehensive support, represents a strategic move towards expanding its service offerings and increasing its competitive advantage in the market. Through its strategic partnership with Connectria, The Shipyard is well-equipped to achieve success and innovate in its industry.

About The Shipyard

The Shipyard is a leading, independent agency that builds performance-driven brands audiences can’t help but love. By applying modern mindsets to established models, we fuel brand and marketing decisions that are more courageous and validated.

Our ability to align bold creativity with individual consumer motivations lets us do more than hope for brand love – we methodically engineer it throughout the consumer journey. That means we can build brand affinity and future growth while simultaneously driving current-day performance.




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