Stratics converts raw data into customer-oriented marketing insights on powerful Combell servers
Whether online or via social networks, we are getting increasingly close to our favourite brands. Big names, from AS Adventure to ZEB, trust Stratics to transform this huge flow of digital customer data into information that can be easily used for marketing and communication purposes. Combell guarantees secure data storage, compliant with the GDPR, as well as considerable computing power for the processing of such a large amount of personal data.
Customer contact digitally screened
Stratics captures moments when the customer gets close to the brand in order to gain insights into what is happening. What is his interest? What does a customer look at and what does he buy? When and via which channels? This can be done for a website, a brick-and-mortar store or a telephone customer service. “Omnichannel is not just a tagline; it is reality”, says Filip Corne, managing partner at Stratics.
“Of course, every insight leads to new questions, which we investigate through test groups or new analyses of customer data in order to suggest new marketing campaigns. Ultimately, we make sure that insights pay off – for customer groups and at an individual level. For example, when does a loyal customer suddenly stop buying a particular product? That is when action must be taken.”
“We provide a ‘single customer view’, i.e. an individual profile based on history and recent interactions. For this purpose, we have developed a Marketing Insights Platform (MIP) with a modelable in-house data model. After all, our client first wants A, and then B. It is up to us to take care of that, in a flexible ecosystem.”
Big data requires secure storage and a lot of computing power
“Customer data is often stuck in silos (websites, cash register systems, CRM applications, etc.). So, we need to aggregate a huge amount of data. At the same time, we need a place where all this information can be gathered securely. We are talking about multiple terabytes of sensitive data per brand, for a few dozen brands. The databases are fed on a constant basis, mainly through the Internet. This must be done in a secure manner, in line with the highest standards.”
“Data are a means to an end. The mountain of raw data is getting bigger and bigger. And it is all about gaining insights and taking concrete action as fast as possible. Think of the click behaviour of an Internet user; one year later, that information is completely worthless."
Speed and volume are our biggest challenges. And this is why we need computing power, as well as fast connections.
Combell provides specialised infrastructure for big data
“Choosing an external partner instead of managing the infrastructure, hardware, software, security and backup is only logical. Marketing is our business, not ICT. This is why we decided to join Combell in 2012. They already had a very simple method for purchasing Microsoft SQL Server databases. Plus, they are very transparent in terms of costs. And they are a Belgian company.”
“We manage and analyse data from a few dozen brands. We are talking about multiple databases of several terabytes for each brand. We gather these in a data warehouse, where we transform them into useful information. Combell ensures that we have enough memory and computing power to do this quickly. With our in-house and external APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and secure SFTP transfers, we receive the data permanently and often in real time. In the future, we may even consider using artificial intelligence and real-time analyses.”
Strict compliance with the GDPR
Such a large amount of customer data can only be stored and processed with the utmost care for everyone's privacy. Together, Combell and Stratics did everything necessary to strictly comply with the European GDPR. “Our working method has not really changed. Our system is in line with the new rules by design. In particular, there is a great demand for additional documentation: we now have to draw up a data processing agreement, a data register and storage terms for each customer”, Filip Corne evaluates.
Combell had to comply to all the regulations too. Thanks to their ISO certification, this was actually already the case.
“Who has access to what data? For what reason? Everything is put down on paper and we have to keep every change up-to-date. We work for major brands that hold us accountable, which means the potential liability is huge.”
“This exercise has required a lot of energy. The positive thing is that everything is now very clear, and that security awareness has been further raised. Combell has the knowledge and procedures to guarantee a high level of security. We simply cannot afford to have anything go wrong with our data sources.”
Very personal collaboration
“For the services we are looking for, there is a wide range of services on offer, from obscure cloud providers to giants like Amazon. We wanted to find a business partner that really knows you and that understands your specific needs. And Combell is a perfect match for this. We can, always talk to them about our issues and ideas. There is clear interaction and exchange of knowledge. We see Combell as a real partner rather than just a provider.”
“It may sound trivial, but our business contacts have been the same since the very beginning, in 2012. That is very pleasant, and by no means self-evident in the ICT world. They know our situation inside out. We regularly meet them, in person, to discuss various issues. Is it necessary to schedule a technical intervention at four o'clock in the morning? That is not a problem at all.”
The closeness and personal approach are very important to us. This service definitely goes beyond the norm.
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