Ditching Your Legacy OMS? Here’s How to Pick the Right System for Your Business

Blog   |   Operative Team   |   November 11, 2020

Ditching Your Legacy OMS? Here’s How to Pick the Right System for Your Business:

If you’re still using a legacy digital order management system (OMS) to manage your ad revenue buys, it’s time to start thinking about a next-gen platform that won’t limit your growth. Systems continue to modernize, evolve and unify, and you need to consider this when finding a system that keeps up with your needs.

There are several options on the market, and each option offers different integrations, capabilities and reporting interfaces. We, at Operative, put together the following cheat sheet that we actually used when doing our own internal competitive analysis, so you can be sure it’s good to find the right partner for your business.

Step 1 – Draw a Venn Diagram of Your Current Process vs. Your Ideal Process

Other Digital OMS systems continue to be focused mainly on the ad-trafficking element of a much larger set of processes that include pre-sales proposal building, trafficking, delivery, and finance. Multiple systems and integrations are a nightmare for efficiency, and ideally, your next option should include the entire food chain. Moving forward, OMS systems need to be able to unify the components of your process, normalize their interconnectivity and automate core functions so that you can optimize your process from end to end. A decreased reliance on legacy systems and processes not only decreases overall overhead, but it also bakes in a layer of safety being a continuously updated cloud-based system.

Your process map should include the following:

  • A description of every activity, person, document, and handoff that occurs from pre-sales to trafficking to billing and a list of all of the technology partners involved for each step
  • An understanding of your full product catalog, including direct and programmatic offerings across display, video, mobile, etc.
  • A list of necessary integrations, from ad servers to CRM systems to billing tools

To create your ideal process, evaluate your current process for weaknesses. For example, you might be spending a lot of time manually entering data, pulling product information from multiple systems or you might be losing time and money during reconciliation. Highlight the areas that need to be improved by whatever vendor you choose.

Step 2 – Evaluate Vendors Against Your Processes

There are three major departments within a typical publisher organization that benefit from an order management system: sales, ad operations, and finance. In addition to your own list, take a look at what we consider to be the core elements of a full OMS system.

Sales typically has three key processes that may need to connect to outside systems, organize data in custom ways and offer permissions and custom dashboards:

  • Create an opportunity
  • Build a proposal
  • Manage contract approvals

AdOps, the core of the OMS user base, will take approved contracts and need to traffic them and manage the delivery. This process should be:

  • Seamlessly handed off from sales
  • Automated, with no manual re-keying line items
  • Universal, working for all channels, ad servers, platforms and products

Finance controls the money and is, therefore, an important part of deciding what OMS is right for your business. For an OMS to add value to this group, an OMS should:

  • Reconcile delivery automatically, with no manual work or data entry
  • Generate an invoice automatically, aggregating delivery across all products and ad servers into a streamlined document

Step 3 – Understand the Core of the System, the Product Catalogue

Your products are complicated, and it’s your “special sauce,” with hundreds or thousands of options for buyers to choose from. If you are employing teams of sales planners to help your sellers assemble deals across display, video, programmatic and more, then the value of an automated, universal product catalog is huge.

Not every OSM offers a centralized, flexible product catalog, so it’s important to understand limitations. Ask questions, like:

  • Can I create top-down and bottom-up packages that span everything from premium to exchange-traded inventory?
  • Are pricing and approval rules able to be tied to specific products or groups of products?
  • Can the product catalog integrate with my CRM, Yield Management, and Ad Servers?

Step 4 – Bring Your List of Integrations to the Table

Some companies are built from the ground up to work in the advertising ecosystem, some are more attuned to data and reporting, while others are more generalized for sellers from many industries. One way to get a good sense of what type of customers the company prioritizes is to see who they are integrated with. Assess:

  • How many ad server integrations the company has, the more the better, and of course if they are the ones you work with, you will have a faster ramp period
  • What is the cost (time and money) of custom integrations
  • Where the bulk of the other types of ad-tech integrations lies. Is it with Reporting? Yield? Demand? This will help you see how well aligned their business is with your future needs.

Step 5 – Understand Their Vision

Every OMS has a plan for their future, and you should ask not only what it is, but how they are going to get there.

For Operative, you can view our plans for AOS digital here.

This will help you to see if the company will grow with you over time, or if you will grow apart.

  • Client list – Ask how many clients they have now, who they are, and what clients they want in the future. Some companies have only a handful of clients that match your business model, which could mean that your future needs are not prioritized
  • Product roadmap – Try to see if the company plans to pivot, perhaps they aspire to become an SSP or are building their own ad server. These aspirations might sound exciting, but it means resources are being pulled away from the core purpose you are evaluating. Ideally, the roadmap enhances your needs and increases performance and scope to support your business, not compete with it.
  • Transparency – This is an opportunity to create a more open, transparent tech stack for yourself. If you partner with a company that isn’t going to give you all of your data or advocate for your business in the broader ecosystem, you are missing an opportunity to gain strategic insights, bargaining leverage, and control.

Ultimately, the best partner is one that is built to provide support for your kind of business now and in the future, designed to enhance your strategy, be flexible as you grow and deliver game-changing performance. We hope that this cheat sheet helps you find the right fit!

If you’re still not sure if you’re ready to make the jump be sure to check out our deep dives into Operative One and AOS, products that are designed from the ground up to unify, automate and standardize. The future is here, and that future doesn’t have time for legacy tech and integrations.