How can an enterprise best deploy a customer identity management solution to all its brands, properties and regions? How can it keep the solution consistent and updated? And how can it avoid “re-inventing the wheel” every time it expands or business needs change?
On August 30, I sought to answer these questions (and more) through a webinar: “Orchestration and Deployment at Scale.” Drawing from the knowledge gained in Gigya’s 300 go-lives in the past year and our experience with 700-plus enterprise clients, I detailed the common challenges businesses face when deploying customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions. I also showed how Gigya is uniquely qualified to help enterprise deployments run smoothly, at scale, on time and on budget.
Happily, I had an ace up my sleeve. Mary Jo Morelly, senior director of digital products and services at Bonnier Corp., joined me to offer real-world insights into how Gigya helps her enterprise, with more than 30 media brands, turn customer identity strategy into reality.
During the webinar, Morelly supplied some proof to my talking points by describing:
- The challenges Bonnier faced that led them to seek a customer identity solution;
- How Gigya helped her team design, optimize and deploy repeatable customer identity solutions across multiple properties; and
- The lessons she learned during the process.
Below, I’ll highlight six of Mary Jo’s many excellent points, with the hope you’ll find some resonance with your own digital planning.
1. On Identifying the Need for a Customer Identity Solution
Two of Bonnier Corp.’s most popular magazine brands, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life have especially enthusiastic and engaged online audiences. Before implementing Gigya’s platform, customer information was isolated in data stores for separate websites and unavailable for access across the business.
“The strategy of having access management siloed by brand and having that data isolated in a website’s database was, frankly, quickly becoming outdated,” Mary Jo said.
At the time, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life needed to migrate to a new web platform. Realizing they had been missing opportunities to nurture their most engaged audiences, Mary Jo and Bonnier sought a customer identity solution.
“We took that opportunity (of migrating to a new web platform) to not only re-invent those two brands, but to also build into the platform a solution, like Gigya, that would start the process of getting us into the first-party data arena,” Mary Jo explained.
2. On Gigya’s “Team” Approach to Orchestration and Deployment
Mary Jo said one of the most impressive things about working with Gigya was the knowledge, experience and dedication of the Global Services team assigned to the project.
“When we were putting together the specs for the custom work we did, we would run those ideas past [the Gigya team] before finalizing them… They were able to tell us if there was a better way to do something,” she said.
Each of Gigya’s global services teams brings proven methodologies and best practices to enterprise deployment projects.
The methodologies create a framework for programmatic orchestration of both the initial deployment and future deployments and updates as well. They include important tasks such as organizing stakeholder responsibilities at the very beginning of the project. They also include generating a suite of planning documentation to:
- Organize high-level planning and create a CIAM roadmap that defines key decisions for the deployment;
- Establish technical design documents for individual brand deployments; and
- Start “playbooks” to keep track of lessons learned, most effective communication channels, cadence, and decision support frameworks.
The best practices draw on Gigya’s industry-leading experience in deploying customer identity across the enterprise. Our lessons learned have become a set of standards for our services teams that are verifiable and consistent across business cases. One example of a best practice is ensuring new systems and workflows improve customer experience and don’t introduce friction (such as unnecessary authentication steps or preference and password resets). Another example involves developing a data model strategy that identifies the flow of customer profile and behavioral information, while unifying data formats and structures into a single source of truth for customer identity.
Bonnier is already seeing the benefits of these methodologies and best practices.
“We developed a template that included a checklist, a roadmap, and a playbook… of everything that needed to be done for the next site. So the next time around, we were able to go through it pretty quickly,” Mary Jo said.
3. On the Robust Features of Gigya’s Customer Identity Management Platform
Mary Jo said Gigya’s platform offers the features and functions that create economies of scale and repeatable processes while providing brands with the creative freedom to customize and ensure best-fit customer experience. As an example, she specifically mentioned the platform’s Configuration Copy tool:
“The ability to copy settings from one site to another has been good, not only for moving from testing to staging to live but also for doing a whole new site altogether. You can copy from one site to another and then tweak the things that are a little different.”
An enterprise-ready platform is a vital component for all large-scale orchestration and deployment efforts. Enterprises may have a few digital properties with heavy traffic, or they may have hundreds of websites with light traffic. To deploy successfully, the customer identity platform needs to offer ways to streamline change management and integrations with third-party applications and services, while providing brands the flexibility to maintain – and even improve – customer experiences. Mary Jo said Gigya’s platform achieved this mission:
“The goal was to integrate Gigya so that once we were done, any of our websites could have Gigya enabled without development work. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do any work; it’s not like flipping a switch. But all of the work for any [following deployments] would be done within the Gigya console.”
4. On the New Marketing Opportunities Offered by Progressive Profiling
One of the key benefits of Gigya’s customer identity solution is the ability to progressively profile visitors. Through value-for-information exchanges created in Gigya’s platform, enterprises can progressively build upon first-party data, gain more knowledge about customers likes and interests, and become more predictive about their customers’ wants and needs.
Mary Jo said the features included in the Gigya platform like progressive profiling, which triggers experiences to capture more profile and preference attributes, offered new opportunities:
“Our custom insights team was very eager to get [progressive profiling] out there for Field and Stream and Outdoor Life… to begin collecting that valuable first-party data so they can develop some plans for how the brand marketing teams could use that data.”
5. On Maintaining Customer Experiences During Deployment
Migrating customer data into new systems can pose serious risks to an enterprise. For instance, Bonnier understood that many of the 200,000 customers who made the comments sections of Field and Stream and Outdoor Life so lively were well aware of their comment history.
“When we moved to Gigya for these sites, we were leaving the Disqus commenting system… We didn’t want to rock the boat with our user base by not keeping those comments… We asked Gigya to do that migration and they’ve kept us on track.”
This is a prime example of successful orchestration and deployment. Not only did the platform enable the proper data flow, but the methodology of understanding a key need upfront and the best practice of ensuring a best-fit customer experience (the preservation of the customers’ comments) created success.
6. On Rolling Out Future Deployments
One lesson learned Mary Jo shared was that getting brand buy-in at the very beginning is key:
“Because each of our brands are so unique in their business opportunities… they have to be at the table, bringing their knowledge of their businesses to bear on how we proceed with the Gigya integration.”
This input from the individual brands has helped Bonnier determine the order of deployments. It’s also a key part of the CIAM roadmap we develop for our enterprise clients well before the program launch date.
Through comprehensive interviews and information-gathering with key stakeholders across the business, we help define what brands have the capacity to integrate CIAM, the order of deployments, budget needs, and buy-in from brand teams. In this way we create a programmatic orchestration of deployments where time isn’t lost figuring out which brand, property or region should go next.
Conclusion: How Can Gigya’s Customer Identity Solution Help Your Enterprise?
At Gigya, we understand that no two companies are the same. That said, many enterprises are turning to CIAM solutions as a way to overcome their complex organizational and technical challenges to create a single customer view across all their brands, regions and properties.
As this webinar with Bonnier demonstrates, Gigya is uniquely qualified to help businesses deploy this solution at scale, on time and on budget.
This recap provides a small sample of the valuable information Mary Jo shared. To hear her comments in full, listen to the webinar replay: “Orchestration and Deployment at Scale.”
Also, our solution brief, “Three Keys to Successfully Orchestrating and Deploying Customer Identity at Scale” is now available. This comprehensive resource details how Gigya’s enterprise-ready platform, proven implementation methodologies and best practices can help your business overcome the toughest deployment challenges.
By Adrian Nash