Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Oughta be in Pictures......

This week I had the privilege of appearing on the cover of respected Australian advertising industry publication, Adnews in an article entitled "Lord's Digital Lair." They don't publish these features on the website, so the only place to read it is in the 17th November issue.

This article talks about Hyro and how we are in the process of bringing "geeks and creatives" together to create our Digital Services offering. I thought the journo, Paul McNamara did a great job of filtering the empassioned ramblings of a digital services zealot down into a concise summary of what it is that we are doing at Hyro and why we are in a great position to respond to the needs of our clients.

One of the points the article does pick up on, is one that you will be hearing more and more from me in coming months - the commercial risks of poorly executed digital services.

There is no denying that the effects of the structural changes going on in advertising and marketing are starting to bite. In the last week I have heard of two traditional ad agencies who have announced with a flurry that they have "made an important hire" who will "head up our new digital arm" and a terrifying chill ran down my spine.

My concerns come from two fronts; the first is that in a vain attempt to delay the effects of the shift to digital services, agencies will attempt to trivialise the digital channels by trying to convice their clients that shiny Flash animations and banner ads constitute a digital services strategy. Even scarier is that they will gain a sense of the commercial significance of the digital channels, and the need to integrate the commerce with the communciation, and will actually try to do it themselves.

This stuff is complex and should be left to the experts.

In building Hyro, we are treating each of ingredients required for successful digital services delivery with the respect they deserve. Each of the teams we bring together to service our clients (the "geeks and creatives" plus the consultants, project managers, identity specialists, security professionals, experience and usability professionals, campaign experts and more) are well established units, part of a team that has been building digital solutions for more than a decade.

We are dealing with significant business systems which have material commercial considerations. Yes - the creative execution is absolutely critical to the success of our clients' communication and marketing objectives, but so to is the ability to take the order, service the customer, bank the cash. Not getting it right - building solutions which do not perform consistently, are not fully secure, are not tightly integrated to the creative, are not robust - has very serious consequences. I don't think it will be too long before we see an agency sued for lost revenue or other damages because the system they delivered was hacked, or because the ordering system fell over, or because the privacy legislation was breached.....

So my word of advice to the agencies - don't rush into this. We have been "getting ready" for more than a decade. The organistional knowledge and experience that comes from a long term team who have worked on more than 2,500 projects is NOT something you can recreate by throwing money and people into a room. Be aware that the risks that you are dealing with are not just yours - they are also your clients'. By asking them to commit to your "new digital arm" you will asking them to gamble on you getting it right......

When we set out actively market our Digital Services offering, we did it because we are ready. Ready to do everything required to deliver the communications, marketing, customer service and commercial requirements of our clients.... and ready to change the world.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

WOW .... Wireless which changes everything ....

We had the pleasure of spending a big chunk of the weekend in the company of our good friends G&S at their beach house across the bay from Adelaide. Outside of the fact that the beach house is just SENSATIONAL (one of the most beautiful homes I have had the pleasure of visiting) I also got a little taste of the future.

This beach house is located 50m from a gorgeous beach on the Great Southern Ocean and has great views all the ways to Adelaide. It is dirt roads in and out and there are maybe 25 buildings in the community - no shops, so schools, nothing.

My job requires me to work some unpredictable hours at the moment (some might say it is a little sad, being on the beach with a laptop, but we ARE building a world-class company here) so armed with my laptop and my new Telstra NextG Data Card I took a few minutes to send an email.

The screen shot to the right shows the reported data speed from this card, from this connection - a WHOPPING 1.8Mb/s down and 203kb/s up..... absolutely plenty of bandwidth for most of the things I need to be able to do when working on my laptop.

I haven't devoted very much of this blog to talking about specific products and services, but I have to say that I am very impressed with the NextG network. The mobile broadband is exceptional; stable, fast and very easy to use and I find it is a fabulous business tool. Well done Telstra and their partners!

(I have to confess that we do some great work for Telstra, specifically for the NextG mobile platform, but this does not bias my opinions here - this is a very good quality service!).

This does change everything. Areas which were previously "remote" in terms of decent, commercial grade bandwidth are becoming increasingly connected. Even more significantly, the constraint we have had on delivering rich media digital services off the "tethered network" are now VERY possible. Think animated billboards, mobile advertising, rich-media point of sale and more.

Hang on to your hats as we will now see the rate of change for communications, advertising and entertainment step up another notch .... the thing I really love about my job (and yes it is that we get to change the world) is that our team are the No.1 team in Australia to help our corporate and government clients to make the most of this exciting accelerated change.....