Microsoft, Mediabrands Bust Silos

NEW YORK Microsoft and Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands hope to take silo-busting to a new level in the marketing and media sector.
 
The companies unveiled today a new software application platform designed to enable clients to manage marketing campaigns from initial concept through document and asset management, planning, buying, inventory management, reporting and accounting across all online and offline media.
 
The companies have been working on the new platform for about six months, each contributing a team of business process specialists, engineers, and technology architecture and advertising personnel, said Quentin George, chief digital officer, Mediabrands.
 
“We have all these points of entrance in our business,” said George, speaking from Cannes, France, where the companies made their announcement. “What we’ve done is taken a step back and asked what is the business process for marketing and media,” and then designed a single software platform with a suite of tools to manage it all.
 
George stressed that the system was not designed to replace third-party vendors like Donovan Data Systems or its MediaBank, which offer software packages to manage, execute and reconcile media buys. “But now we have a much better understanding of where Donovan fits into our overall solution,” George said. The same is true of other third-party data management vendors such as TV ratings supplier Nielsen, he added.
 
George said the idea is to take the software offerings on the platform and devise custom applications for individual clients.
 
“We have a blueprint that is complete,” he said. The new service, called the Media Operations Management System, will be rolled out to clients and to markets outside the U.S. by the end of the year,” he added.
 
The Microsoft-created platform itself is not exclusive to Mediabrands, although agencies and their clients would develop unique applications from it. “I would hope others would follow,” said Scott Howe, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s advertiser and publisher solutions group.
 
Howe said Microsoft has developed “enterprise software” for many business sectors, with the media and marketing sector being the latest.
 
Howe said the software offers “standard building blocks” such as billing applications, target algorithms and matching logic. Clients, he said, “can utilize as many as they want, customizing around them.”