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By Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO of Aqilliz
Published on October 9, 2018
I was attending an industry forum last week and there was one senior resource from a large consultancy company speaking on digital transformation. While there were some very good “models”, “architectures” and “designs” shared during the presentation, two themes troubled me. Firstly, these models were derived from their “experience” and “interviews” with various companies, which led me to wonder, whether we are looking at transformation through the rear view mirror. Secondly, there was limited understanding on execution nor were the agencies interviewed to gain some perspectives or learnings from activation, which led me to wonder, whether we are absolving execution from strategy.
I personally believe, we need these models, architectures or designs to be simulated for the new eco-system of the future. Delphi techniques will only give us self-fulfilling prophecies. We need the learnings from the execution, that will give insights into disconnected taxonomies, challenges with inter-operatability and optimisation that are so critical for digital transformation. There are few reasons why this is important.
If technology is the “cause” this asymmetric exchange of value between Marketers, Consumers and the Platforms are the “effect”. Marketers want to reach and engage with consumers fully and meaningfully; and verify the message they’ve paid a platform to deliver, did in fact, reach a real human at a cost that is commensurate. Platforms want a fair exchange of value as rapidly as possible for performing their task, allowing them to generate more and/or better site content to build their user base. Consumers want access to content as inexpensively as possible, without being exposed to intrusive or irrelevant messaging, and without feeling they’re being spied on. These are asymmetric expectations. But can be fixed.
Great “Execution” is the right “Strategy” to maintain a healthy and sustainable balance to this asymmetry. And to do that we need subject matter experts who understand the value exchange between marketers, platforms and consumers. Any unidimensional view from either one or two of them will only aggravate this asymmetry. Profit Vs Privacy, Access Vs Over-information, Marketing ROI Vs Poor quality content are three good examples of potential imbalance in the ecosystem. Consultancies are quite removed from the in-market execution, while activation companies are quite removed from the Corporate Strategy. Neither of them, by themselves are able to maintain this balance. And there-in lies the challenge.
A clear fall out from the current situation is a delayed, slow or a poor implementation of the digital transformation agenda, particularly if one looks at the CAPEX involved with technology investments. Unless and until we take a comprehensive view on the technology investments from a strategic point of view with full line of sight on its execution capabilities, we will only be putting band-aids to the existing system through the current lumascape of technologies. And there is not enough money for all the band-aids.
It is not about in-housing. It is not about consultancies acquiring media or creative agencies. And it is definitely not about media or creative agencies acquiring consultancies as well. All this will defeat the purpose. The industry needs subject matter experts. Specialisms is key for digital transformation, not generalists. There are finite monies. And infinite challenges. Specialists from strategy to execution, from consultants to activation experts, all as one team, must sit at the centre of the marketer-platform-consumer triangle to address the challenge. This is the only way the value exchange can be made symmetric between marketers, platforms and consumers.
This is the new configuration. A new industry. And we need this.