The Openprise agile CDP solution
The Openprise Agile CDP Solution: Why Now? How Are We Different?
Aren’t we a little “Johnny come lately” you say? Why jump into such a crowded space so late in the game? Let me first explain our hesitation, and then the revelation that convinced us we should create an Agile CDP solution.
What’s a CDP Anyway?
You’ll find multiple CDP definitions, whether from Gartner, Forrester, or The CDP Institute. The basic definition amounts to solutions that:
- Aggregate data from many sources
- Unify data and produce golden records / 360-degree view of the customer
- Segment data
- Maintain a persistent data repository
- Produce analytics
Well, the Openprise Data Orchestration platform has always done all these, and many of our customers have been using Openprise for-CDP centric use cases. So why didn’t we jump on the CDP bandwagon when it started to get hot and trendy in 2019?
For folks that have been around enterprise data for a long time, this CDP definition sounds almost identical to Master Data Management (MDM), Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Big Data, Data Lake, etc. (From here on we’ll use EDW for short.) CDPs look like a niche EDW. The promise of embedded artificial intelligence with “machine learning” on top has been more hype than substance.
Our initial assessment was that CDPs were just another marketing fad, slapping a sexy new label on existing technology. We decided: we’ll pass. At Openprise, we don’t do bandwagon hopping—just like we never jumped on the ABM (Account-Based Marketing) bandwagon two years ago when every martech vendor was in a rush to call themselves an ABM solution, or predictive a year before that. We’re boring that way. At that time, I personally gave CDPs a 24-month lifecycle before the fad disappeared, like so many before it.
What’s Wrong With CDP As We Know It?
Sure, it’s a new label on existing technology, but if CDPs are indeed a great application of EDW, then why the hesitation?
The CDP pitch is easy to grasp: “Get a 360-degree view of your customer and prospect.”What self-respecting CMO / CRO / CEO doesn’t want that? The devil’s in the details.
The way the CDP nirvana’s being sold is exactly the way EDW has been sold for decades一what I like to call “The Field of Dreams” approach. “Build it, and they will come.” Let’s bring all your data into one place, create a unified schema for the data that everyone can agree to, then let the business users access this comprehensive database and do whatever they want to do. Sounds fabulous.
While the vision sounds fabulous, getting to the promised land is not at all easy or straightforward. EDW’s mortality rate is amazingly high and usually falls way short of delivering the value it promises to the business users. Why is that? EDW projects face two main hurdles: they’re not agile, and there’s a long time-to-value. What does that look like?
- It takes 6-9 months to get all the stakeholders to agree on the unified data schema
- Once everyone’s agreed on a unified schema, it becomes very difficult to make changes because any change triggers a domino effect
- Because everything takes so long—if changes are allowed—the project never finishes
- If changes aren’t allowed, then the resulting database falls short of the ever-changing business reality
- Ongoing changes after go-live are equally painful and time-consuming
- Data quality, more often than not, is ignored, leaving the resulting data hard to use
- To do anything with the data requires serious data science and engineering skills
- The output of the project is just data and any practical usage of that data, the “last mile,” like analytics, automation, or self-service, are additional projects
CDPs have been defined just like EDWs, so we expect CDPs will experience all the challenges EDWs have faced. In fact, some of our venture investors told us that most VCs aren’t even investing in CDP vendors any more because of the lack of success stories.
Therein lies our hesitation.
To make matters worse, if you look at the list of CDP vendors, the CDP category looks like a refugee camp of previously trendy MarTech and AdTech categories, including predictive analytics, account-based marketing (ABM), attribution, data management platform (DMP), and even some data enrichment companies. It’s a bunch of vendors that don’t have the proper data infrastructure DNA trying to make CDPs into a success. Given all the inherited EDW challenges, this just doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.
Our hesitation deepens.
So What’s Our Big Revelation?
We resisted entering the CDP space because we think data orchestration is more fundamental than CDPs. Also, the monolithic, one-size-fits-all approach of CDP/EDW just doesn’t jive with the agile approach we’ve advocated as the foundation of data orchestration. However, in working with our customers on various use cases (like segmentation, attribution, scoring, lead-to-account matching, building account hierarchy, and self-service prospecting portals), it’s become obvious to us that all these customers are incrementally building towards a CDP, use case by use case. Some of them are doing this as a conscious strategy. Others are subconsciously marching toward the same goal while pragmatically focusing on meeting current business needs. These observations led us to the three big revelations:
- CDPs are not one big monolithic, one-size-fits-all application/data warehouse. They’re a collection of targeted solutions leveraging a common infrastructure.
- There’s no single “360-degree” view of the customer. There are many depending on the data consumer’s job function and purpose of the project. Different teams in the enterprise have different views of the customer.
- EDWs deliver only data. The utility derived from the data is external to EDW. The utility is the application of that data, which includes user interactions, business logic, and process automation. You can think of it as the “apps” that make EDW data useful to the end user. What makes CDPs more than a relabeled EDW has to be the utility a CDP delivers. A CDP is a platform that enables users to create utility/apps easily.
When viewing CDPs from this perspective—not as a monolithic, one-size-fits-all, relabeled EDW, but rather as a platform that enables companies to create targeted, customer-centric utilities for different data consumers in an agile manner—then the Openprise Data Orchestration platform absolutely is an “agile CDP.” And now that CDP is fundamentally different than EDW, it’s infinitely more interesting.
Monolithic vs. Targeted CDP Solutions
Let us use a simple example to illustrate the difference between a monolithic approach to CDPs vs. Openprise’s agile approach to creating targeted CDP solutions.
A use case we often see with our enterprise customers is that the marketing ops team owns a platform like Marketo or Eloqua. The rest of the marketing team has no access to these platforms. To build and run a campaign, a demand gen person has to file a ticket with the marketing ops team stating their targeting requirements. The marketing ops team then goes into those marketing databases and pulls a list based on the proper segmentations, and populates those leads into a campaign in a CRM like Salesforce. This is a tedious, manual process that everyone wishes could be transformed into a self-service prospecting portal to provide the necessary utility to the demand gen teams while preserving the security and integrity of the underlying systems like Marketo and Salesforce. This is one of the biggest use cases for a CDP.
In a monolithic CDP approach, there would be a single self-service prospecting portal for all the marketing teams, regardless of their region, vertical, or functional alignments. The EMEA digital marketing team, the US Federal Government New Account Team, the US SMB Team, and the APAC Customer Marketing Team would all use the same portal and have the same 360-degree view of the customer. This one-size-fits-all approach results in a rigid platform that’s suboptimal for all its users.
Even though all these teams want a self-service prospecting portal, the requirements for each are different. For example:
- The APAC Customer Marketing team needs the portal to have these capabilities:
- Only APAC customers
- Products each customer is using or has used before
- Use cases, usage statistic, and upsell opportunities
- Critical issues and customer satisfaction levels
- Renewal date and license compliance
- The US Federal New Account team needs the portal to have these capabilities:
- Only federal agencies and private-sector companies tightly integrated into the federal agencies, like Booz Allen, Lockheed Martin, and Mitre
- Agency hierarchy and relationships
- GSA contract vehicles available
- Security clearance requirements
- Open bids
- The EMEA commercial team needs the portal to have these utilities:
- Only non-customer leads from EMEA
- Leads and accounts further segregated by regions like UK/IE, Nordic, DACH, Benelux, and Iberia
- Definitions of “commercial account” by region
- Language requirements by region
- Product offerings by region
To create a single one-size-fits-all solution for these three teams above means:
- Appealing to the lowest common denominator or building an overly complex solution with all the bells and whistles that accounts for all use cases
- Developing a complex data schema that’s difficult to create, and even more difficult to maintain
- Ensuring a suboptimal user experience for everybody
Openprise is Agile CDP
The Openprise Data Orchestration platform provides an agile CDP solution that finally fulfills the promise of CDPs, as opposed to merely relabeling EDW. We believe this so strongly that we’ve named the solution, “Openprise Agile CDP.” Using this agile approach you can:
- Maintain a single data and automation platform that’s easy to manage, with a simplified architecture with fewer moving parts.
- Deploy targeted solutions to each data consumer and process stakeholder, which can include:
- A tailored data schema.
- Delivering utility as direct data, data within third-party apps, analytic, or custom application.
- Custom applications in the form of a web application, Chrome Extension, or REST API.
- Backend process automation.
- Embed enterprise-strength data quality and computational capabilities into every solution.
- Deploy each targeted solution quickly and have the agility to modify each one in an agile manner as business evolves.
- Do it all without writing a single line of code.
Now that we’ve come to see CDPs in the proper light, Openprise is excited about the future of CDPs. With the proper approach and technology choice, CDPs can deliver tremendous lasting value for any enterprise.