CANNES — In the last couple of years, data-driven and programmatic advertising techniques have grown in importance to ad agencies, so many of the agencies have put the processes at the heart of their organizations.

For many, that has meant a promotion for the executives who once ran outlier data divisions within an agency but who now are calling the shots.

What changes when that happens, and what have those people learned along the way? In this recorded panel discussion at Cannes Lions, four agency executives opened up. Here is what they said…

Brian Lesser, CEO, GroupM North America (previous: CEO, GroupM’s Xaxis):

“It’s a sign of the times that people with data, analytics, platforms backgrounds are now being put in a position to manage media agencies.

“For me, it’s a matter of making sure our agencies have appropriate platforms… make sure we are data-informed at every step along the way … activation across all channels.”

Arun Kumar, chief data and marketing technology officer, IPG Mediabrands (previous: president, IPG’s Cadreon):

“In this role, I’ve started to see the reality of the imbalance between planning and buying. Planning tools are activated by data sets which are still not quite where they should be.

“There are silos being created which are legacies from the past, you need to clean them to make some of the tech and systems work. That’s all I’ve been focused on for the last there of four months since starting the role.”

Doug Ray, product and innovation president, Dentsu Aegis Network (previous: CEO, Carat):

“I’ve always been on the planning, strategy and management side, not so much on the buying side. What has made great plans and strategies … is human insight, to have a deep understanding of customers. Clients are looking for the human truth, the insight to help them with better outcomes on their media.”

Scott Hagedorn, CEO, Hearts & Science (previous: CEO, Omnicom’s Annelect):

“We under-leveraged the audience creation and syndication side of it. The buying side of programmatic is actually the least important side of programmatic. The three most important sides… are the audience creation, syndication and also using some of the new ad-serving capabilities like an Innovid … to do the orchestration of the creative assets in the product.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page.