The steady collection of extreme tech skills over at real-time ad platform and app marketplace AppNexus is creating a growing opportunity around services. The company is actively recruiting for an AppNexus Global Services unit, according to a company website, including NYC and London "open positions" from its job board.
Call it a high tech agency or a systems integrator or something along the lines of an Accenture or Deloitte. AppNexus' move makes sense considering the hyperspeed evolution of digital advertising as it becomes increasingly addressable and expands across channels. People with highly specialized skills are needed to implement enterprise marketing solutions.
Check out this explanation from a marketing piece on what an AppNexus Global Services "Implementations Consultant" does:
"It's my job to work closely with a given company to migrate their entire digital ad business off of one system, and on to AppNexus. It's pretty cool. This is the kind of role that gives you opportunities to own complex integrations, while working closely with heads of organizations around the world. On a given day, I might find myself crafting a technical execution plan for a new client, discussing ways another could drive revenue growth, then later pushing out a new PHP script to automate repetitive tasks - all before lunchtime."
AppNexus' strategy echoes MediaMath's recent moves into the agency business when it spun out Kepler Group (AdExchanger Q&A). In order to help grow MediaMath's tech platform, the company wants to enable a services layer which, in turn (no pun intended), can drive business on to MediaMath's platform. More service "liquidity" presumably benefits all platform users as the platform beast is fed more dollars which allows it to innovate.
Raising The Headcount
And, no wonder AppNexus wants to be in a position to do this... CEO Brian O'Kelley told Bloomberg at the beginning of June (video) that his company, which stands at around 250 today, expects to grow to 1,000 people in 2 years. That's a lotta ad tech smarts in one company if they can pull it off.
From the hiring website's copy, AppNexus admits that it's not expecting new employees to arrive with everything that they need to know. There's a dearth of skilled ad tech labor, after all. With training on premises, on the job, AppNexus hopes to make them into a skilled, ad tech service agent enabling AppNexus' clients and supporting AppNexus' own business:
This would seem to bode well for AppNexus' investor Microsoft, too, as it looks to match Google's own breakneck pace in order to claim victory in the data-driven, addressable ad business. Among other traits, AppNexus' "cool startup" factor can't be overlooked in recruiting wars.
We have reached out to AppNexus for comment.
AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley provided this statement:
"Our Global Services group addresses a couple of needs.
First, we have a very powerful and flexible software platform, and our clients aren't looking for an 'out of the box' solution. They want to customize the system, using our Apps platform, APIs, and advanced features. Since our very first client (eBay in 2008) we've had talented internal consultants who understand needs and create elegant, powerful solutions. We often find new product ideas from these engagements, as our clients often work with us because they want to push the envelope.
Second, given the maturity of the industry, many clients we work with are transitioning from an existing ad serving platform. Global Services has a large team of consultants and program managers that shape our customer's vision, build migration plans, integrate ad servers, work closely to address any issues during the migration, and then transitions to our support team. We also have ongoing webinars and training to make sure that our customers keep up with new features and capabilities.
It's different from Accenture and Deloitte in that we don't do custom development or ad hoc projects. It's similar in that we are trusted advisors working closely with our customers to help them innovate. We have a single-minded goal: help our clients succeed in transitioning to and maximizing the value of the AppNexus platform.
We believe our Global Services team is a unique competitive advantage. We've always looked for consultative, analytical, technically-minded problem-solvers who are passionate about making customers successful. We found those hard to find in the industry. So we focused our recruiting efforts elsewhere and built a robust new hire training process. Only about 10% of GS staff have any industry experience. Whereas other ad tech companies focus on managed services or technical support services, we take a very consultative approach designed to build lasting value for our customers."
By John Ebbert