Smooth rock formation BIG DATA

Segment adds governance features to its data unification platform

Segment.io Inc. is adding a data governance layer to its data collection and integration product that helps organizations ensure that their customer data is consistent and accurate across the organization.

Called Protocols, the toolset builds upon the company’s expanding platform for gathering and normalizing customer’s data from multiple sources.

Unlike self-contained integration tools that work from a common database to reach customers and prospects through multiple channels, Segment pulls data from more than 200 sources — such as web analytics platforms, customer relationship management applications, email servers and third-party data sources — into a single store that customers can use for outbound marketing and other customer contact purposes.

Protocols attacks the problem of data silos that emerge throughout an organization as information is captured in spreadsheets, customer databases, CRM systems and other isolated data stores. Creating a single view of that data can be difficult or impossible. Decisions made about individual data sets can also create integration headaches.

For example, the use of a column heading by one department that differs with those used by others can lead to large data sets being effectively invisible to groups that need it. “It’s difficult to ensure quality in a highly distributed environment,” said Andy Schumeister, product marketing manager for Protocols.

Protocols works from a tracking plan provided by the customer that “aligns business objectives with the metrics you want to track,” Schumeister said. “Out of all the data you expect to see, are you seeing it?”

The tracking plan specifies the data to collect and Protocols compares that to existing data sets and data streams coming in from sources like point-of-sale terminals and e-commerce transactions. The governance layer flags inconsistencies.

The result is that analytics teams can abandon spreadsheets in favor of a data tracking plan in Segment’s cloud service that serves as the single source of truth for customer data. Templates are available for various industry scenarios and for e-commerce, mobile and popular software-as-a-service applications. Data quality issues can be diagnosed before the affect production processes. Protocols also lets data quality teams configure settings to keep data accurate and standardized across all marketing tools and data warehouses.

In conjunction with the announcement, Segment introduced Customer Data Infrastructure, a new software category that’s designed to be the core infrastructure for first-party customer data. It enables companies to automatically collect, integrate, govern and activate all their customer data through a common set of data integration, governance and audience management standards.

Photo: Unsplash

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