Facilitate Digital Holdings Ltd: The merger of DDS and MediaBank to create ‘MediaOcean’
Facilitate Digital believes the announcement of the proposed merger between Donovan Data Systems and Mediabank (to create MediaOcean) constitutes a significant and exciting inflection point for the media industry. In the most unambiguous way possible, this development recognises that media has changed forever, and that technical innovation is and will continue to be a driving force as our global industry transitions from current to future state.
Undeniably, digital is driving and redefining what is possible. Against a background of fragmentation and burgeoning complexity, it is increasingly clear that the tools of yesteryear do not provide a blueprint for the future. Purpose built, highly configurable and interoperable toolsets that combine to form an industry ‘Operating System’ (OS) are required, which in turn provide for efficient trading, aggregation of data assets and value creation on both sides of the buy-sell equation.
The MediaOcean announcement is the clearest articulation to date that our industry recognises that the time to change and embrace this view of the future has arrived.
Critical Characteristics of an Industry Operating System
The announcement is particularly exciting for Facilitate Digital as its’ stated premise aligns closely with a view of the world that we have held for a long time. As we set out six years ago to vision and create a digital agency OS, we determined that the key attributes of such an OS must be:
- Interoperability: an open platform, providing for standardisation and controlled automation of two way data transfer between tools, platforms and stakeholders
- Agnosticism: the OS must be agnostic to all vendors and point solutions; it must empower agencies by future proofing their capacity to partner with stand alone solutions at will, knowing they can be seamlessly assimilated into their ecosystem
- Global: the technology must be a global platform. Advertisers are global, the agencies that serve them are global, and the opportunity is global. Nuances in workflow and business process particular to languages, currencies and time-zones must all be provided for.
The Importance of Workflow
A factor critical to success is the adaptability of the workflow itself. This is the component that makes the OS both meaningful and achievable; the singular basis on which an OS either stands up or falls down. . Adaptable, automated workflow establishes both the business case (operational efficiency), and the framework under which diverse taxonomies may be administered and meaningful data assets created; workflow is the glue that binds the many parts together. Informed by our years of media agency experience, Facilitate Digital launched version 1.0 of ‘Symphony’ – our Digital Workflow & Trading Platform for media agencies – in 2005. Some six years on, Symphony version 5.8 integrates with agency finance and ad serving systems around the world, and is used by a rapidly growing community of media buyers in North America, UK, Europe, Asia and Australasia.
We have learned a great deal over the last six years, much of which is manifest in our Symphony platform. We have also learned that technology in isolation is not enough. Business transformation must be supported by a purpose designed and adaptable implementation blueprint. As each agency has unique clients and associated requirements, we have invested in the development of research, process engineering/consulting and change/project management capabilities. These capabilities have proven critical to understanding each client’s current state, their future state opportunity, and formulating the right project plan to get there.
Facilitate Digital looks forward to working with MediaOcean
With the stated objective of MediaOcean’s OS project being “to create an operating system through which any advertising agency can access any advertising technology, and orchestrate across all technologies globally”, it would appear that the thinking of our two organisations is very much aligned. Facilitate Digital looks forward to working and integrating with MediaOcean for the benefit of our shared clients both now and into the future.