Segment took another step Thursday toward becoming the data steward for brands using multiple platforms, with the launch of a data governance product called Protocols.
How does this help marketers? Segment provides a data tracking plan across a company, setting the standards for incoming data with a shared data dictionary. Protocols automatically detects if incoming data is valid before the tools try to act on it, so reports and alerts can flag issues. At any point, the company can reconfigure the settings.
The basic idea is that, especially for brands with multiple business units capturing data from a variety of customer interactions, this helps make sure the many data inputs are all set up in the same way.
Standardized taxonomy for incoming data. The new offering sets guidelines for how newly captured data should be labeled and formatted, and it diagnoses issues in incoming data. This isn’t the data already residing in, say, customer databases, but the data coming into the brands’ tools from websites, e-commerce systems, sales funnels, mobile apps and so on.
When the company originally launched in 2012, it acted as a data switchboard so that brands could readily connect and integrate data between their many tools without reconfigurations, such as websites, CRMs, applications or help systems. Currently, Segment connects more than 200 marketing, analytics and data warehousing tools for more than 19,000 companies worldwide.
Then, a year ago, it set up Personas, so that the data from various platforms could reside in a golden master database of customer profiles, as part of Segment’s evolution into a customer data platform where audiences could be defined across tools.
But, co-founder and CEO Peter Reinhardt Reinhardt said, one business unit in a company might define the information from an incoming trial subscription as “demosignup,” while another might designate the same data as “demo_signup.”
Internal quality assurance. With Protocols, Reinhardt said, Segment is now acting as a kind of internal quality assurance team for data, making sure there is standardization within a company.
Segment’s diagram (top of this page) shows how the company views Protocols compared to its other two main offerings — data integration through Connections and customer profiles in Personas.