We recently sat down with Glen Ceniza, Operative’s Chief Technology Officer, to discuss his technology vision and how he approaches the difficult challenge of providing comprehensive solutions to the world’s leading media companies.
Glen Ceniza has a consistent history of driving innovation and delivering transformative cloud-based SaaS solutions at companies such as JDA Software and RedPrairie software. At Operative, Glen leads our Product, R&D, and Engineering organizations. His strategic approach to software development and his focus on long-term customer success has made him a leading voice in the media industry today.
Q: What is your overarching technology vision when it comes to Operative and media technology in general?
A: At Operative, we like to think of our overall mission as unifying the advertising world. Historically, the media industry and its data has been very disparate, with different systems, a lot of on-premise software, and no easy way to bring that all together. So we’ve invested heavily in forward thinking technology – native-cloud architecture, microservices-based solutions, and connecting all the various platforms and technologies. Our goal is to develop solutions that can unify all the data, interoperate with other technologies, and are modular in their approach.
Q: Why are cloud architecture and cloud-based solutions so important when it comes to media business technology?
A: There are several reasons: for one, the best and most practical way to truly unify all of the various data sources is through the cloud. The media industry has so many disparate technologies and data repositories that you need to leverage the cloud to connect them all and get them to talk to each other. Beyond that, cloud solutions scale much better, which is particularly important in media given how rapid growth can be. Implementation is also much faster with cloud software, development cycles are shorter for new features and functionality, and solutions can be more modular leveraging microservices.
Q: You mention microservices and modularity – can you explain more what you mean by that?
A: Yes – think of microservices as taking a big architecture and breaking it up into small pieces, with each piece potentially having its own development team, and its own database. The benefits are that it scales better because each microservice is independent. You also can run what we call parallel development. This allows the developer to curate specific technology solutions to fit specific business needs – what we call “fit for purpose.” That means it’s not a one size fits all approach, but rather solutions can be much more modular in design and businesses can select solutions that specifically meet their needs.
Q: With all of the various media technologies and media types, how challenging is it to connect media and advertising data together?
A: It’s one of biggest challenges of our industry. Because of that, Operative has invested significant development resources to allow a bridge to existing technologies – we call it AOS CloudCore. It allows data replication and significantly cuts down on integration development. We’ve done a lot of things with our solutions to make it easier to move data back and forth. We also publish open APIs to make any custom integration work more straightforward. In addition, we can provide various data streams for our customers – think of that like an ongoing conveyor belt full of different data, and a customer can pull the data they need from the belt without needing to code to an API.
Q: Tell us about your approach to software development at Operative.
A: All of our forward-looking products are SaaS solutions, with applications built on cloud-native architecture. As I mentioned we develop our solutions utilizing a microservices approach focused on specific business needs, which provides us as well as our customers with flexibility to curate solutions and technology to fit particular needs. While this is becoming more common with modern technology development, it’s quite unique in the media industry. We currently release new software features and functionality approximately every 4 weeks.
Q: If you could coach media companies on building out their technology solutions for media business management, what would you tell them?
A: First off, you need to unify all of your data. There’s just no way a media company can efficiently manage and sell its advertising inventory with all the various channels and platforms, if the data is residing in a bunch of separate systems. Next, you want to leverage technology to automate as much of the advertising workflows as you can, to make things more efficient and free up more time to focus on high-value, strategic initiatives vs. ongoing repetitive tasks. Finally, focus on data and leverage data intelligence to improve decision making and ways to maximize the value of media. I think this is an area of huge opportunity for media companies, and it’s only going to accelerate with the proliferation of machine learning and AI.
Thanks Glen! We appreciate your time!