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Guidelines for growing your Tech Stack

September 20, 2018

The advertising industry is navigating changing media consumption habits, and the disconnected technology and data fragmentation that comes with it. One look at the Lumascape and you can see the thousands of ad tech providers vying for the attention of advertisers, agencies, and media sellers, with promises to solve these challenges. The myriad of options for media and technology partners makes the selection process challenging, to say the least. Companies find themselves asking: who do I use, are they integrated with my current software, can I trust the integration or will it break my process?
 
There are plenty of think pieces exploring why the trust is eroding and how it can be restored. But I’d like to instead explore the idea that clients don’t want to grow their partner database ad infinitum, but rather simplify their workflows by working with a few ‘trusted’ partners.
 
When building up a tech stack, clients want to avoid three key frustrations: solutions that require additional log-ins, more data to extract, manipulate and format, and lengthy ramp-up to incorporate in their own workflows.
 
Mediaocean's Connect is an entire arm of business built with the goal of simplifying the integration of the latest tools, technologies, and suppliers. We’ve become experts on identifying partners and building relationships with them over the long-term. Read on for suggested evaluation criteria that you can use in building your own tech stack.

SEEK OPEN AND NEUTRAL INTEGRATIONS

To build a lean tech stack, you want solutions that work with one another. By partnering with open and neutral platforms, you can ensure that your data providers, media suppliers, technology platforms, or ad servers will easily plug-in to your proprietary systems and exchange data with the other platforms in your stack.

Data downloads and uploads are an effective way to exchange information between systems, but imagine the time saved and labor reduced when you hire a provider that will build seamless integrations of their data into your UI via APIs.  Open, neutral, and a willingness to build seamless solutions for your needs are key when seeking efficient new providers into your workflow. 

LEVERAGING RELATIONSHIPS TO DISCOVER PARTNERS

Guidance from our agency and advertiser clients is critical to the success of Connect integrations. You too can leverage your network to find the best potential partnerships. By speaking with industry friends and colleagues who have worked elsewhere in the business, you can get an honest assessment of concerns like “how long does on-boarding really take?” “How much customization is actually possible?” “How is their customer support when there is an emergency and I’m on deadline?”

THE LAUNCH IS JUST THE BEGINNING

You can also use those referrals to determine which vendors are interested in being your partner for the long-haul. A true partnership requires transparency on both sides, so collaboration can happen. It means listening and learning from one another to ensure successful adoption in your organization. Those feedback loops should continue beyond a launch, so look for partners that provide dedicated account management, or hold annual or quarterly business reviews. There must be patience on both sides and a willingness to continuously fine-tune, adjust, and adapt to provide the best solution for those who are using it.

As our industry gets better at holding one another accountable and to higher standards, we may see a more reliable pool of tech providers who are open, neutral, and easy to use.  Until then, I hope these principles, the very same ones that we use when selecting Connect Certified Partners, can provide guidance in building your own lean and effective tech stack.