Almost every business process has been subject to digitalization in recent years, but for lots of organizations, marketing was among the first. In many cases, this has resulted in a plethora of systems, each containing important sales, marketing and customer relationship management data.
Tekside specializes in helping companies make sense of complex martech ecosystems so they can drive more value from their data and deliver more successful marketing campaigns. “We help midmarket and enterprise clients manage their best-of-breed marketing stacks by bridging systems and consolidating data,” explains Philip Thomson, Vice President at Tekside.
Originally established as an offshoot of one of Canada’s leading email marketing agencies, Tekside comprises a team of highly skilled data scientists, developers and architects. The company provides technology and resources to help clients across Canada, the US and Europe establish more effective digital marketing platforms. Tekside generates up to 80 million email and SMS messages every month on behalf of these clients.
To help its clients aggregate, analyze and segment data across multiple systems, the company was dependent on specialized staff building raw database queries, which was effective but not efficient. “It was difficult to establish repeatable processes, there was a high risk of human error and correcting mistakes could be a lengthy process,” explains Karen Connelly, Head of Data and Email Deliverability at Tekside. “Allocating resources was also tricky, as we had knowledge siloes and sometimes had to move staff from existing projects to focus on more urgent priorities.”
Tekside recognized that it needed greater agility and scalability to meet growing client demand. For example, COVID-19 has meant many of its retail clients have needed to adapt outbound communications very quickly. To help these clients put out highly targeted messages within hours rather than weeks, the company needed an automated data integration solution.
Processing Data with Greater Ease and Efficiency
Tekside discovered Pentaho Data Integration, a Lumada portfolio product, in 2016. "We came across Pentaho technology almost by accident, and had no idea at the time that it would rapidly become part of our DNA," says Connelly.
Using the Pentaho solution, Tekside can integrate complex data from disparate sources. These include its proprietary Tekside Connect email marketing platform, its inhouse microservices stack, various enterprise databases such as Microsoft SqlServer, MySQL, Oracle, MariaDB, along with other third party APIs. "Pentaho Data Integration maximizes development speed as we can drag and drop rather than code from scratch. This means we don't need as many resources and we can deliver results faster," comments Connelly. "As well as being able to handle greater complexity with less effort, the solution simplifies change management and enforces accountability."
One of the most helpful features for the Tekside team is the process flow visualization, which means every member of the team has visibility of project processes. "The visualizations also help us manage customer expectations and have more powerful conversations, as we can show them exactly what's involved in the project," explains Mike Riehl, Customer Development and Success Lead at Tekside. "We also love the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) Metadata Injection, as it accelerates productivity by eliminating repetitive tasks. We didn't realize we needed it before, but now we're not sure how we ever lived without it!"
Tekside is also part of the beta program for Pentaho's new data flow management feature, which further extends the company's visualization capabilities.
Pentaho Data Integration now supports hundreds of highly complex marketing campaigns for Tekside's clients that are key to customer retention and relationship management. These range from GDPR consent verification and shopping cart abandonment emails to other cross-sell and upsell activities. The company is also starting to use the solution to help run its own business. "We're now using Pentaho to aggregate our own data across different platforms so we can ensure our client relationships are well-maintained," adds Thomson.
Boosting Competitive Advantage with Faster Results
With repeatable and adaptable data integration processes, Tekside has improved efficiency by up to 80%, which means it is able to take on more client projects and more complex tasks. “Pentaho Data Integration provides us with a common platform where we can design, execute and schedule jobs more easily,” explains Connelly.
Tekside can also cross-allocate resources more effectively and colleagues can easily pick up projects if a team member is on vacation or off sick. Thanks to these improvements in efficiency, the company hasn’t had to increase the size of its data science team, even though it’s taking on more work.
By improving Tekside’s data management capabilities, the Pentaho solution also benefits its clients. “With Pentaho, we’re helping clients get greater value from their data and deliver stronger marketing campaigns,” explains Thomson. “By investing in an enterprise tool, we’re able to respond faster and more effectively to client needs, which boosts our competitive advantage.
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