Centralized vs. Decentralized Operations

When looking at ways to improve upon scalability and the level of client services, one must weight the options of centralized vs. decentralized Ad Operations Department. If you work in an organizational structure that has multiple sales offices in various locations (satellite offices), decentralizing Ad Operations can make sense. If sales are centralized in one location, then stop right here as there is no need to decentralize your Ad Ops Team. Here are some additional items that should be considered during your decision making process.

Communication: Operationally speaking, it tends to be much easier to have interdepartmental communication if your team is all in one location. On the flip side, it’s very challenging to communicate policies and procedures to satellite offices. A good way to combat that is to have an Ad Operations presence in those offices. It’s also important that Ad Ops management see to it that their team is embedded in the day to day operations at the satellite office. Considering things like regular sales meetings, new product launches and campaign optimization, it’s much more effective for Ad Operations to play a consultative role if you have feet on the ground in satellite offices.

Productivity: A top managerial concern with any decentralized team would be the ability to monitor an employee’s performance. If your department is decentralized, this is a fear that you will need to overcome. It’s important to make sure you have the correct personnel that can handle working in a decentralized environment. Hiring individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit, willingness to learn and the ability to function and operate on their own is key. These factors are important in a centralized organization but are emphasized that much more in a decentralized organization. Weekly staff meetings and daily communication can also be helpful.

Client Services: Ad Operations must put itself in a position to enable and consult sales. The absolute number one comment that I have always heard from sales reps in satellite offices is, “I wish we had an Ad Ops person here.” As more is demanded from Ad Ops, decentralizing your team is a way to extend client services and be in a position to assist and consult in sales efforts.

My Take: During my 10 years of Ad Operations experience, I have had the pleasure of working in both centralized and decentralized departments. While a centralized department is always a good way to go, I am a supporter of decentralized Ad Operations Departments if it fits within the organizational structure. With that said, managers of decentralized departments must be certain to button up policies, procedures and have open and clear lines of communication. Ultimately the decision is up to Senior Management. Keep in mind that having the ability to extend and maximize Ad Operation resources to satellite offices can greatly enhance client services and sales efforts.

Kerel Cooper is the Director of Ad Operations for Advance Internet.
Kerel has 10 years of Ad Operations experience working for Online Publisher’s in the News and Information Technology Industries.