If only software providers just did one thing anymore. The increasing pace with which ad-tech vendors have expanded on to each other’s turf is causing problems for ad agencies that want to use brands’ data more freely.

That is according to a leading executive from the world’s largest media-buying agency.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Evan Hanlon, GroupM’s US chief strategy officer, says the “inherent competitive nature” of ad-tech firms was problematic.

“Very few (of them) just do one thing,” Hanlon grumbles. “There’s the disappearance of a point solution. So now Amazon is competing on the same ground as Comcast, which is not something that you would have necessarily thought about even one or two years ago.

“(That’s) let alone talking about the more traditional competitors like Google and Facebook.”

By “point solution“, Hanlon is referring to the technology term that describes software which tends to focus on just one task.

That is how many ad-tech platforms started out. But, as they have become larger, launched new features, have acquired, been acquired or otherwise consolidated, many of them are now offering overlapping feature sets.

“That presents an interesting, unique sort of challenge that we’re getting into now,” Hanlon says. “Siloing and walling off of data, of capability, of complexity,  prevents automation and the ability to really lean into technology. (That is) a potential risk that we’re going to have to face and that we’re going to have to deal with.”

So Hanlon is hoping agencies like GroupM can “step in” and “build better ecosystems” that connect tech platforms.

At GroupM, he is working on “building bridges and connectivity between those pieces” of technology.

It’s not all bad. Software consolidation is also bringing regulation, scrutiny and shining a light on previously-darkened corners of the ad-tech supply chain, Hanlon says.

This video is from a series leading up to, and covering, the Xandr Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara.  This Beet.TV series is sponsored by Xandr.   Please visit this page to find more videos from the series.