It started with a small idea. I wanted to have a marketing master record hosted directly within the BI platform where all analysis were made, predictive models and where there was access to all data. Usually marketing master records are outside of core data sources, e.g. billing, provisioning/network and similar platforms.
This idea was widely welcomed by the different business owners, but not by the business itself. Mostly due to past failed attempts in smaller projects. Even so, sometimes you just have to move forward and hope the business will follow. Challenge the existing business!
The marketing master record is hosted within SAS and to access it, I used (or actually simulated) something that SAS calls Treatments. Treatments are realtime recommendations. They are prioritised workflows that accesses data based on structured rules, that uses a UUID as input and then gives you back the Treatment ID’s for the ones that has a successful positive match.
When I initially started looking at Treatments, I unfortunately found Treatments wasn’t ideal for the purpose. SAS was inside a hosted environment and so was our CMS/EPiServer. This meant that the API that exposes the Treatment had to be able to handle realtime requests. Hence the fact that SAS is a BI platform, there’s no real way to guarantee a 99,99 % uptime. This is a heartbreaker for many, but when you know it, you just have to work around it.
You could either:
- Build a proxy API that handles all requests
- Export end results from all business logic to a flat-file
In reality there’s nothing that’s right or wrong… You only have to select the most feasible solution for your requirement.
One of the limitations of Treatments out-of-the-box is it uses a very strict approach without the ability to learn what actually works. This logic can of course be implemented. E.g. A/B testing with control groups as a self-learning service can be programmed directly into SAS, but then it wouldn’t be a out-of-the-box solution anymore. In the rarest of cases, you would actually need this. Just getting your product out there is the primarily goal right now.
If you want to use SAS as a marketing master record, you could easily go two steps beyond that, and use it for managing the actual content and not limit it to “what” has to be offered. That means that you could centralise content within the master record and push it to apps, social, web, self care, web banking, oss, etc. Really only limited to the integration points. I used it to personalise text versions, image-urls, etc. to be context aware. Originally there were basically only 2 versions, but very soon we found out having subsets was necessary.
Even though should maybe don’t want to invest in having inbound CRM, you should think about having a master record. Imagining if you knew what you already know!