Answers Served: Operative Discusses Solbright Acquisition

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conversationADOTAS – On the heels of the launch of its Operative.One platform for connecting the demand and supply sides, Operative acquired Solbright, which develops software assisting publishers in managing online ad revenue and workflow. According to CEO Mike Leo, the acquisition will bolster Operative’s ability to deliver efficient and effective infrastructure for media companies.

Leo took a few minutes to talk about the acquisition as well as the ways in which Operative.One stands out from the pack of end-to-end digital marketing solutions.

ADOTAS: What interested Operative in Solbright?

LEO: Their clients and their employees.

How does this acquisition fit in with Operative’s aims?

This gives the advertising business management category much-needed scale, while Operative gains significantly in market share and a strengthened competitive position. We estimate to now be managing more than 30% of all digital ad spend through our solutions.

The result is greater value delivered for our clients. A more scalable overall business and R&D organization means a broader and deeper set of integrations with demand and supply-side systems, accelerated product innovation, and improvements to the already high level of client service and support we provide today.

What kind of updates will clients notice when Solbright’s technology is integrated into Operative.One? What will be the most useful?

We’ll be working with each and every Solbright client over the next year to upgrade them to our Operative.One platform. Operative.One provides significant next-generation advantages –- for example, a robust product packaging and selling architecture and an enhanced platform for third-party system integration (e.g., Salesforce). The employees who built Solbright and have been working closely with Solbright customers for several years have joined Operative in the continued development and support of Operative.One.

How does Operative.One stand out from other end-to-end digital advertising solutions?

We’re the only ad business management platform that brings it all together for media companies and their partners. We’ve essentially created a “hub” that allows clients to eliminate the complexities associated with the digital value chain by integrating all systems and processes necessary to package, sell, traffic, manage, optimize and bill ads. In a nutshell, we are connecting critical functions (from product packaging to invoice) with our clients’ ecosystems.

What attracts media companies and publishers to Operative.One? How do their concerns differ from advertisers?

Operative takes care of business infrastructure for media companies, so they can focus on what’s important: product innovation and client relationships. They are also starting to realize that continual innovation and operational effectiveness are inversely proportional. We provide a platform upon which to innovate without the associated chaos.

Advertisers are demanding for new ways to deliver content; e.g., mobile, Tivo, iPad, which is one of the drivers behind the current pace of digital innovation and, hence, the chaos. The amount and pace of innovation that comes out of this industry is staggering — ad production technologists, such as Google, Pubmatic and FreeWheel, providing a constant source of innovations for increasing the value we bring to advertisers. But those innovations must be integrated into the business, rather than the business being a slave to the innovations.

What’s the key to providing transparency on every transaction level?

Data. But data is the easy part. Getting it all in one place is the challenge.

So who is easier to deal with — the supply side or the demand side? If you had to side with one in a fight, who would you go with?

You cannot choose one over the other. Ask Apple. Providing value requires a robust ability to seamlessly combine components of the value chain to create true scalable value. But value cannot be realized unless you can manage all distribution channels with a high degree of rigor.

These are not new problems and the solutions already exist. Demand planning and supply chain management go back to the first farmer’s market. They just need to be translated for our space. That is not an easy job, but the scale we have achieved allows us the resources to get the job done for our clients.

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