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Can Management Consultancies Put an End to the Wild West Programmatic Industry?

Can Management Consultancies Put an End to the Wild West Programmatic Industry?


It’s been heralded as an industry game changer with significant effects on primarily the agencies and their own in-house trading teams, but will the leap of management consultancies into programmatic really change the dynamics of the programmatic trading industry?

A recent article on Digiday on management consultancies moving toward programmatic delved into the effects that the agencies will feel when companies like Deloitte and Accenture invade their trading turf.

Previously, management consultancies have provided much-needed services to the agency holding companies. For example, Tata Consultancy Services has been providing services and solutions to companies like Dentsu Aegis for years and have worked together effectively, with Tata providing real value. The difference is that they have internal expertise, with experience of working with key companies involved in programmatic trading, and as such, can easily and smoothly offer themselves as an extension of the agency or client teams.

Colin Towers, CTO of media solutions at Tata Consultancy Services said, "We've worked with digital companies extensively such as Dentsu Aegis and therefore have hands-on experience of their business and the wider digital industry. This is essential to providing consultancy services and it is imperative that we harness expertise within our own business and from the industry to ensure that the services we offer are relevant and add real value. Those management consultancies that expect to walk into digital businesses with a professional services hat on, will struggle to gain confidence and traction."

Towers makes a valid point and raises the concern and question: Are professional services skills easily transposable to working at the cutting edge of programmatic trading? Naturally, Accentures’ hire of the expert Amir Malik will go a long way to answering a very strong ‘yes’ to this question. It is definitely essential that any company planning to make a foray into the complex world of programmatic needs to come armed with resources and skilled people as well as unique technology.

I recently wrote about transparency on ad tech tax in Campaign and naturally, since, I have been asked if management consultancies will add a new form of transparency to deals. My answer is a resounding yes. Why? Simple, they won’t have the same issues as the middlemen and have a reduced conflict of interest. They also should be aware of how a lack of transparency can negatively impact companies. They have the opportunity to re-write the rule book and learn from the mistakes made to date.

Management consultancies need to come out of the saloon all guns blasting if they are going to show they mean business. They will also need to have integrations in place with all the key exchanges. Most importantly, they need to prove their value quickly as all eyes will be on them, willing them to fail.  Personally, I believe that with the right teams, the right previous experience and with in-house or white labelled technology, they could actually have a positive effect on what is being seen once again as a wild wild west industry. All moves to make trading more transparent, with increased brand safety and high returns should firmly be welcomed.

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Julia Smith

Julia Smith

    Julia Smith is director of communications at Forensiq, a leading fraud detection solution for the online advertising industry.

    Julia’s extensive market insight and understanding of the digital advertising value chain makes her an empathetic advisor across the board. She specialises in fraud prevention, brand safety, ethical trading, piracy, programmatic trading, ad operations, PR, sales training, motivational speaking, ad trading, and digital strategy. Julia is also board advisor at Intrinsic and General Manager of the Alliance and Founder of Digital Trading Consultancy Ltd. Her other clients have included whiteBULLET, Philip Lee Lawyers, Lexteq, Admonsters, and IFPI.

    Julia is also a partner in global consultancy, The 614 Group.

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