Taking back control of your tech

Michael Titshall

Michael is VP and managing director of R/GA Australia, a global innovation company of almost 2000 people across 16 offices. In 2020 Gartner recognised R/GA for the eighth consecutive year as a leader of global digital marketing agencies. In addition to leading R/GA’s Melbourne and Sydney offices, Michael also sits on the RMIT Advertising Program Advisory Committee and has previously been a Committee Member for the Victorian branch of The Communications Council. He is passionate about helping brands grow through creative solutions, having led agencies across the spectrum of creative, technology and media services. Michael’s career began at Roy Morgan Research. He later led digital transformation projects for global brands at DigitasLBi London. Prior to joining R/GA, Michael spent five years with CHE Proximity.

To win in customer experience, brands need to take back control of their technology.  

I’ve never met a company that doesn’t have legacy tech issues. Everyone knows the business imperative to compete on customer experience and there is no shortage of ideas, but backlogs to execute are months, if not years, long.  

Recent years have seen phenomenal growth of brands investing in enterprise technology stacks. The promise of automation and personalisation wins many over, but in the beginning it is difficult to quantify the opportunity cost of being slow to market and the ongoing investment required to extract value from these platforms post-implementation.  

The business case for such a large upfront implementation cost usually requires many years to reap an ROI. And while that may make sense at project kick off, the world doesn’t stand still.  

The exponential rate of technological change is enabling disruptors to enter new markets, alter customer behaviour and, in turn, elevate customer expectations across all categories. Innovation breakthroughs often occur at the intersection of disparate thinking and deep specialisation, but the huge breadth of tech coming to market - IoT, AR/VR/MR, Voice, AI/mahine learning, for instance - makes it impossible for one company to be best-in-class in everything.  

In this scenario, brands that have invested in one particular tech stack are beholden to the technology and functionality the technology provider decides to prioritise. Not only are brands hamstrung to quickly adapt, they are often dealing within monolithic, complex environments that offer a huge variety of opportunities. Many of which they don’t need or add limited value to their business, eroding their ROI.  

Brands can take back control of their futures, with technical solutions that give them the speed and flexibility to continuously innovate their customer experience and maintain a competitive edge in a changing world. This means thinking beyond monolithic, proprietary, expensive, complex and slow enterprise solutions.  

Using a modular approach to technical architecture allows you to combine the specific features from multiple providers that will provide the optimal performance for your business and leave out the ones that are irrelevant. NASA is a great source of inspiration here. Rather than source all materials from the one supplier, the organisation hand picks every nut and bolt from thousands of specialists. The best thing is it isn’t as costly as a spaceship - by using modern digital services large technology licence fees can actually be avoided.  

 

In this vein, we are seeing significant adoption rates of many modern digital services, many of which are leading innovation in the industry, by being focused on their specialisation. They include services such as headless content platforms that are decoupled from a front-end, enabling content to efficiently be distributed across many interfaces which ensures flexibility and scalability.  

Some deliver cross-channel personalisation and optimisation in real-time through a user-friendly interface for marketers, which lowers training to upskill existing teams and ongoing investment to extract value from the platform. More specialised services come in with emerging technology, such as computer vision artificial intelligence for a range of purposes such as facial verification, predictive maintenance and aerial surveillance. Combining the most relevant services for a brands unique requirements can help deliver a connected ecosystem beyond web interfaces.  

Combining these lean digital services with existing technologies, in an API-driven modular architecture, enables the modernisation of technology in a stepped approach. With these new services getting to market quicker they deliver ROI to the business sooner. While the modular approach provides flexibility to adapt to changing technologies and customer behaviours to ensure brands maintain their competitive edge.   

Through a review of R/GA’s Lean Experience Stack projects, we have seen cost savings up to 60 per cent (over three years), greater than 2x ROI improvement and up to 50 per cent faster time to market. In addition to these quantified benefits, clients have also told us they benefited from improved flexibility, faster developer on-boarding and reduced training costs.  

If your technical platforms are limiting your ability to execute the customer experience initiatives that will win customers over, then perhaps it is time to consider a Lean Experience approach.

Tags: digital marketing, marketing technology, martech

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