Introducing The Creative Operations Technology Stack

by Chris Ransick, July 23, 2019

The Creative Operations Technology Service Reference Model (COTSRM) is the body of software capability categories and tools used by creative professionals to store, manage, create, and deliver print, video, and digital experiences.

The COTSRM is an amalgamation of all the Domains, SubDomains, and Capabilities which make up the creative stack. The COTSRM is made up of three core domains: Input, Execution, and Output, which follow the process all creative goes through. There are five sub domains areas: Data, Engagement and Operations management, Creation, Delivery, and Channels. Each capability area is broken into capability categories. The COTSRM is a growing, developing entity and is current thinking. It is neither right nor wrong, but a best guess based on the knowledge and input from other creative technologists.

Why Do We Need This?

The Creative Operations Technology Service Reference Model(COTSRM) was developed to provide a catalog of all the software tools used specifically by creatives. The reason developed the COTSRM model and catalog is to provide creative operations professionals a complete listing of all tools and applications upon which they can draw to facilitate creative development. According to the publisher, it is amazing to see how often marketing operations professionals are asking which tools to use, and what tools are available.


The genesis of the COTSRM is a desire to have a model which outlines all tools that a creative organization may need access when producing work. While the Real Story Omni Channel Technology Stack Model and MARTECH do an excellent job documenting marketing technology, the COTSRM aim is to document the unique needs of creative and content creation organizations. There are so many options; Marketing Operations Consulting, in conjunction with wants to create a resource that professionals can access without having to hire a consultant.

Creative Operations Technology Service Reference Model Description

Inputs: DATA

Inputs: Data tools are solutions which house the data used in the creative process to execute. The capability categories are: Digital Asset Management, Project Repositories, Content Repositories, ProductInformation Management, Recipe Management, Font Management, and Creative Ops Data& Marketing Data

Execution: Engagement and Operations

Execution: Engagement and Operations are tools used to manage the creative processes and resources. The capabilities categories are: Work/Project Management, Collaboration, Review and Approval, FinancialManagement, Video Management, Freelance Management, Development Management,Content Marketing Management, , Translation Management, Sample Management, andRights and Royalty Management

Execution: Creation

Execution: Creation tools are the software used to create the images, video, content and layouts. The creation capability categories are: Photography Tools, Illustration Tools, UXTools, Video Tools, Page Layout Tools, CGI Tools, Augmented Reality Tools, 3D Modeling Tools, and Structured Content Tools.

Output: Channels

Outputs are the channels creative materials are presented in. The dimensions shown here are a broad swipe at all the possible channels. The Output Channels are: Print, Packaging, Point-of-Sale, Broadcast/Video, Event, Mobile, Web, Digital Radio, Social Media, and Email.

Input Please

As said earlier, this is a developing reference model, and will only get better with input from the creative operations community and application and tool vendors. If your tool or apps is missing, or if you think we need another category, please reach out to offer suggestions. We can be reached at:

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