How to master tech investment decisions at an agency

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Today's tech-powered media marketplace and agency world talks a lot about what technology means for agency talent. Agencies are the beneficiaries of an explosion of technology innovation and are naturally revisiting their organizations and re-tooling their hiring policies to focus on a different breed of talent. There is a new emphasis on applied technical wherewithal. Agencies have to get this kind of hiring right to compete -- but this can be a moving target. Why not learn from other industries on how to make tech decisions a core capability?
Just think for a moment how serious the competitive requirement in our industry has become. Whether an intimate knowledge of the tech driven ecosystem; engineering credentials; domain knowledge of various technology stacks; data analysis capabilities; or simply a basic ability to understand and operate the mechanics of today's intricate media and ad marketing systems, the agency staff profile is changing, because it must. However, while looking for the right people and hands-on tech chops, there remains a related, extreme need: Ensuring the agency makes the optimum strategic technology investment to allow this staff to thrive in the first place. So, how do other industries nail this?

Telecom as a prime example

Looking to the telecom industry as one that has a history of technology dependency, we see that the discipline of making technology investment decisions is a capability that permeates any organization there. That industry has procurement departments that focus solely on managing the technology evaluation and selection process. This is not a new standard for that industry.
For telecom organizations dependent on technology, the decision and selection process is part of the cultural fabric. It's often managed centrally, and coordinated to ensure the best possible outcome within a defined timeframe.
So, for agencies in a tech driven world, adopting comparable practices that ensure the optimum outcome in technology selection is critical to compete now and in the future. There are specific procedural cues to adopt from other industries that can and should apply to agency land. This ensures that as an agency enters the fragmented and exploding world of technology solutions, decisions to select and invest in technology partners pay off for the agency and its clients.

A look at pain points and remedies

Think about the scope of the "technical" needs agencies have and the solutions required to accomplish these:

  • Data analytics systems to track, report and leverage information in today's ever fragmenting, cross-media, multi-platform environment
  • Finance and accounting systems for tracking and reconciliation across multiple parties, partners and providers and markets
  • Campaign management and optimization tools, with greater bandwidth than ever before
  • A trading desk, and all the various aspects of the solution necessary to engage with and provide trading insights when buying media across a growing number of exchanges and liquidity pools
  • Workflow and asset management, facilitating collaboration, sharing, storage, editing, versioning, and communication