The digital landscape is shifting and agencies must evolve to meet the dynamic demands of their customers. They’re working more closely than ever before with clients and leveraging technology in new ways to improve digital experiences for their customers and help them grow their businesses.
Velocitize: What does it mean to be the VP of Technology at Digitas?
Bleau: In my job I focus on couple different areas. First, I help lead some of our larger accounts from a technology perspective… In this role, I oversee all aspects of the technology delivery for clients, which includes discovery design and the actual development. The teams are made up of business analysts, software engineers, and architects. Obviously the size of the project dictates the scale of our technology team.
Also, I lead the content management practice at DigitalLBi. In this role, I support our teams working on content and experience management projects. We are a team of business analysts who focus on content technologies and specialize in what content management platforms meet our client’s requirements.
My craft and technology experience is at the intersection of technical strategy and implementation as it pertains to content and experience management platforms.
Velocitize: How does DigitasLBI think about open source software internally?
Bleau: If you talk with our engineers and our architects, I think they’ve always had a strong affinity for open source technologies such as WordPress. Every day our developers work closely with the Apache Stack, for example… I think there’s a natural inclination for developers to adopt these technologies.
Velocitize: How do you see the digital landscape shifting? What are you doing internally to adapt to these changes?
Bleau: There are more disruptive technologies out there than ever before. We have to really keep pace with change — things like virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics. We haven’t even reached the edge of potential with these different technologies and how they will impact not only digital marketing, but how people work and how they engage in their everyday lives.
There’s a huge amount of potential there and I think it’s going to become even more fast-paced than what we’ve experienced in the last 25-30 years.
I think it is important for both agencies and clients to really keep an eye on where the innovation is happening. At Digitas we work very closely with the academic community… We also keep a pulse on where things are going with startups… Ultimately this will help us as digital agencies better enable our clients to stay ahead of the curve. But, overall it’s an interesting challenge where everyone really needs to be vigilant and stay engaged with what’s happening.
Velocitize: As the marketing technology landscape continues to grow, how are you selecting which technologies to partner with?
Bleau: I think those tech companies that are really focusing in on what’s next, even before people are talking about it, will be successful.
One of our vendor partners was talking about experience management and how content management platforms can drive personalization and other experience management functionality seven or eight years ago. So they were a bit ahead of the curve. We started to do some work on Chatbots for example, and that’s an area where you see AI having a great contribution on how content can engage with customers in real time.
It’s also really important to stay on top of it and focus on innovation internally. In all of our offices we have an innovation room, so we’re always trying to look at new technologies and learn how to capitalize on it.
Velocitize: How have you seen the agency-client relationship change over the last five years?
Bleau: There’s been a lot of change. When I got into this business 15 years ago, there was a big focus on IT organizations as it pertains to the decision maker on technology platforms. That’s evolved, and now marketing is more focused as the decision makers around technology, which is kind of a big change.
To be successful today there needs to be a partnership between digital agencies and clients… For successful partnerships, clients are looking to digital agencies to be an extension of their team.
Today we look at our clients overall digital maturity, where they are from a digital marketing capability standpoint, and bring them further up that a curve and enable their experience management and digital marketing capabilities. I think this is such a big area where agencies can really focus on and bring more attention to clients as they try to grow their businesses.
Velocitize: Where do you see the agency model going in the next five years?
Bleau: Over the last couple years we’ve witnessed a growing trend where large agency networks are absorbing smaller agencies and bringing them under their network. From a business standpoint, it creates an economy of scale and greater possibilities for clients. But it also provides great opportunities in the capabilities and services provided — the platforms on the technical side that can be offered to our clients. If there’s a larger network, there’s more resources, and there’s more technology experience at your disposal.