We’ve already established in our research that there’s a huge opportunity for application development and delivery (AD+D) pros to help marketers deliver exceptional digital experiences. Why? IT can offer valuable skills to fulfill marketing’s customer experience vision.  

One of the biggest areas where there’s a lack of IT-marketing communication has been in the selection of digital experience delivery service providers. This is big because digital experience implementations are complicated, and most of our clients need a little outside help. I define these vendors as: Service providers that help create digital experiences (through design and/or strategy) and implement technology solutions (e.g. content management, digital analytics, eCommerce platforms, etc.) that support digital experiences.                                  

These vendors come in all shapes and sizes (and some are better at certain components than others). In an upcoming report, I will include a more detailed list of relevant vendors and their capabilities. But in general, they include service providers with a varied background:

·         Management consultants. These firms (e.g. Accenture, Deloitte) have experience with delivering broad, strategic consulting services. Though it’s often a smaller part of their business, these vendors remain relevant in the digital experience delivery space.

·         Systems integrators. These vendors (e.g. HCL, Infosys, Acquity) will be familiar to most AD+D pros, as they have traditionally been more technically oriented. But (to a varying degree), they are moving to support more holistic digital experience delivery implementations, and some have included capabilities for design and digital experience strategy.

·         Interactive/design agencies. These are the vendors best known for their creative and user experience services (e.g. Razorfish, SapientNitro, Rosetta), but many of these vendors are increasingly supporting the ability to implement, integrate, and support digital experience delivery technologies.

·         Marketing back-end support. These are the vendors that tend to be more concentrated on marketing services, whether it is more strategic (like SEO) or more technology-oriented (like customer relationship management). Many (though certainly not all) of these vendors tend to focus on marketing back-end services and have only just begun to dip their toes into technology for actual experience delivery.

Given these market dynamics, what should AD+D pros know? I have a few recommendations when looking at the digital experience delivery service provider space:

1.      Take a stake and active role in owning your service provider relationships – don’t just leave it to marketing.

2.      Own – don’t outsource – the integration between your various technology solutions that support digital experiences.

I will be publishing a report on this space in the next month or two, where I’ll include more details on the problems AD+D pros face when working with these service providers, the service provider landscape, marketing dynamics, and more tips for AD+D pros. This is ongoing research, so if you have any more recommendations or experiences working with digital experience implementation partners, please comment below.