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What’s in a Name?

Villain SnakesFear

That which we call a rose
By any other name
Would smell as sweet…

Not the case when speaking about Service Providers/Digital Agencies/Systems Integrators. These firms are committed to their selected nomenclature (often for good reason), and will correct anyone who calls them otherwise.

With so many different services offered, there is a lack of consistency within the content management industry around what these types of partners are, or should be, called. While there is an apparent never-ending stream of (self-published) information on what technology platforms have to offer, not nearly as much attention is paid to those dedicated souls who help clients implement the technologies themselves. These are the people with whom organizations often work with on a daily basis to ensure the technology is implemented effectively and meets the needs of both their users and audiences.

By any other name …

The choice of calling oneself a “digital agency” rather than a “systems integrator” is crucial in the eyes of the Service Providers. It helps to identify them, and their strengths, in a marketplace where differentiation is difficult and filled with nuance.  Self-identifying as a digital agency infers core strengths around visual and interactive design.  On the other hand, being a systems integrator points to a deep technical knowledge with a prescribed implementation process. But what about the firms that have core capabilities in both areas? Is therea better handle for them that tells prospective clients that they can do it all?

Ultimately, these two types of firms are trying to accomplish the same thing: provide clients with the best support and services to execute on a successful digital strategy. But depending on the scope of work at hand, one may be better suited to deliver that success than the other.

Consistency is Key

Many companies spend a lot of time and resources on finding the best technology for their business needs but then give little more than a passing thought to how this technology will be successfully configured. Finding the right partner, in conjunction with the right technology, can often be the key differentiator in a successful implementation.

There are great benefits, therefore, to be gained in achieving standard definitions surrounding this very complicated, yet crucial component, in content management technology implementations. If you call yourself a digital agency, and I call myself a systems integrator, how is a client to know which is the best fit for them?  How can we bring focus to this decisive element that Service Providers bring to the table if we can’t even agree on the basic naming of these types of services?

At Digital Clarity Group, we have landed on the term Service Provider. As we delve deeper into the world of digital agencies, systems integrators, and strategic partners, we find it is inclusive enough to include just about any type of CMS implementation partner. That is not to say that companies should throw their handles out the window and adopt ours. Not at all. But what it does do, for us, is broadly categorize those firms that other companies can look to for support in their technology implementation and online strategic endeavors. And in turn, we can then help them find the right partner for their needs.

So, that which we call a service provider by any other name would still work as well, but now, we have a more general term to use. And, we can begin to uncover the truly exceptional benefits that the right service provider can bring to any CMS implementation.


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