Delivering innovation: Is your agency becoming clogged up with technical grit?
For any digital agency, technology is the enabler that drives innovation. It’s the essential tool that agencies use to dream up and deliver those incredible breakthroughs every client is looking for.
Is your agency becoming clogged up with technical grit?
A great example of which is Nivea Sun Band. The campaign centred on a print magazine advert featuring a magnetic strip that became a tracker bracelet for children when torn out.
An accompanying app, Nivea Protégé, let parents connect to this bracelet and monitor where their kids were. An alarm went off if they went beyond a distance set by the parent.
This fantastic project won Best Tech Innovation in The Drum’s New Year’s Honours, its celebration of the year’s best work.
This is the sort of pure innovation that could only have come from an agency firing on all creative cylinders. An agency using technology as its driving force.
However technology can also be one of the biggest hurdles to any agency in delivering true innovation.
This sounds counter intuitive when you’re talking about a digital agency.
But no agency is an island; no agency today can be expected to do everything in house. Delivering outstanding and effective creative work depends on a growing network of partners and suppliers proving essential technologies and services.
The problem is when these partnerships fail to deliver or start to creak under the strain. One of the areas where this is most apparent is hosting.
An essential requirement for every agency, hosting has become increasingly a hygiene factor for many. Something that can even be left to be handled on a public cloud or self-service portal. And therein lays the problem.
Suddenly, technology becomes a drain on your business, not an enabler. Your technical team stops concentrating on writing the code that will make you and your clients famous. Instead its focusing on firefighting, on battling bugs and incessant after-hours notifications.
This is the grit that can so easily clog up the wheels of any agency, the laborious grunt work that is the enemy of innovation, something that is easy to ignore until it’s too late.
This is the hidden enemy within that only becomes an increasing resource drain as digital projects continue to grow in scale and complexity.
The Drum recently launched a series focusing on the relatively new role of creative technologists, to understand what makes these creative geniuses tick. One of the first featured, Dare’s Charlie Perrins, believes a strong DevOps team is crucial to applying innovation to client problems and solutions.
He says: “We've also built up strong relationships with the corporate IT departments within larger clients like Sainsbury's and Barclays. Their auditing systems and internal governance certainly keep us on top of our game in terms of hosting and other concerns. And earning the position of a trusted technology partner with a client can create the freedom we need to build exciting products.”
A digital agency and its team’s sole priority is harnessing technical innovation to deliver incredible creative solutions for clients. It needs to ensure all its suppliers are true partners in that innovation and hosting is no different.
So it’s up to you to start asking some hard questions of your suppliers. For instance, do you have both tightly controlled live environments but also total flexibility at testing and development stage?
Your hosting supplier needs to become an essential partner in delivering the technical innovation that is crucial for your business. To become a key ally in delivering the work that gets you celebrated in The Drum’s New Year Honours for 2015!
For inspiration on how to make this happen, simply download our latest Tip Sheet here.
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