One of the great things about working in the tech industry is the variety of experiences you have when working with teams implementing solutions like Gigya’s. Over recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with single brand and market deployments as well as large multiple brand and region deployments, and we see different types of challenges arising from these different use cases.
Let’s take a look at multiple brand and market deployments in particular, and see how Gigya’s platform and professional services team help meet the following challenges.
Consistent Data Structure Across Brands and Regions
Deploying one or many brands across many regions can be very difficult. From our experience, one of the first challenges is that there may be decentralized IT functions, with each brand or market selecting different tech platforms that leverage differing data points, and that have different naming and storage requirements. This offers flexibility, but inhibits the centralized data store for analyzing or segmenting the data at an aggregated market or global level. Attempting to merge datasets across brands and regions may be a poor use of IT’s time, since data structures and formatting will differ from source to source.
An important step during the Gigya deployment is defining a global data model that ensures data can be used effectively for brands within the same market and then aggregated to enable global trend analysis and segmentation. Gigya can connect to many different CMS, eCommerce, mobile (for example) platforms, but it’s important to store data in a consistent and structured way to ensure best use of that data. Defining the global model with configuration per region offers the right balance of agility and consistency.
Core Integration Design
There are typically technology platforms integrated into the ecosystem related to improving website and mobile customer experiences, including Email Service Providers (ESP), Data Management Platforms (DMP) or Business Intelligence (BI) suites. With decentralized IT departments, different vendors may be selected for each of these, and each may require different levels of support and development to implement and maintain.
Having centralized “best-practice” integrations into appropriate ESP, DMP, BI tools ensures consistency within tools across those brands and markets. Being able to segment audiences and personalize customer experience using a well-defined integration strategy with a proven track record ensures that brand and market stakeholders don’t make strategic decisions in isolation, repeating mistakes that have already been corrected in other parts of the organization.
Getting data structure and data integrations right is a great place to start, but there should be flexibility within the resulting design to avoid friction between local brands and regional markets. The end goal for any Gigya implementation is to solve problems (poor user experience, siloed data and so on) whilst continuing to allow each team to efficiently do their job in the way that makes the most sense. Sometimes that means using an ESP the region has previously deployed and used for a number of years. Enabling individual brand and market stakeholders to add custom data requirements on top of the established data model will ease deployments and their adoption by business users. Knowing when to be flexible is key.
From our experience with large multiple brand and region deployments, brands learn lessons from various integrations, but sharing that knowledge between different teams is often an area needing improvement. Deploying a global data model and core integration design allows companies to define implementation strategy “playbooks” to share experiences and collaborate on how best to use those tools to get the best results. A playbook is a hybrid between product documentation and customer specific details which allows organization-wide sharing of best practices and quick wins.
These are often the most challenging deployments, but have the most opportunity for big rewards, since they can unlock the ability to personalize and customize the customer experience, and turn unknown customers into known and loyal customers.
By Adrian Nash