Tying in a data warehouse platform at TI Media

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Yemi Okunade, data intelligence manager at TI Media, has been with the company for ten years having started as a data analyst. During that time, he has seen monumental changes in the industry and the company.
The amount of data collected and created by TI Media has exploded, in line with the advent of the internet as a publishing platform and the increasing number of channels through which customers receive the publisher’s content. While this created many new avenues for the media brand to reach readers, through social media, video content, events, podcasts, apps and digital editions of its magazine, it brought with it some severe challenges.

“It is easy to make money, but it is not easy to make a lot of money.”

Across the board, print readership is in decline which has led to downturn in revenue. The recentl- implemented GDPR has also had an noticeable impact on advertising revenue, with consumers having to make more of an effort to consume online content and some deciding that it is not worth the bother.
While digital editions offer a different vehicle to advertisers, Okunade said that the revenues generated are not on the same level with those of print in the past. He said: “With data management platforms and programmatic advertising it is easy to make money, but it is not easy to make a lot of money.”
In addition, time and money needs to be invested to make sure that the digital versions of magazines are just as enjoyable to the readers as the print versions. Furthermore, the many new channels such as social media and digital apps need a support team and cannot just be put in place and left alone.

“Leveraging data is key in this fast-paced environment.”

However, Okunade said that there are opportunities that have arisen alongside these challenges. He said: “We have engaged audiences and it’s a great time to think about innovative products to be able to engage them further or to unlock the door to additional audiences. Leveraging data is key in this fast-paced environment.”
He added that as such companies can’t simply have large data warehouses in data centres that cost a lot of money to support and are not flexible enough to move quickly, therefore TI needed to evolve its data infrastructure. The new solution would  have to be able to do three things: increase the outputs from the data, work with more data faster and save money.

“We want to be a multi domain platform.”

Okunade said that TI Media had to pivot from single domain to multi-domain. He said that in the past: “It was essentially a single customer view that was outsourced to a large data bureau. In terms of where we wanted to be, we want to be a multi-domain platform, we want to support customer data, advertising data, digital data and content data.”
Four possible courses of action were identified. Option A was to renew the existing platform, but that was ruled out as it would have cost a lot of money. Option B was to build a new platform from scratch, but there wasn’t budget available to do that. Option C was to get the IT and web ops teams to build a platform. Option D was to find a platform as a service provider that offered data warehousing and data integration. It decided to go for Snowflake and Talend Cloud.

During the three-week proof of concept, Okunade was convinced that he made the right selection due to the ease of use of both tools, with getting them up and running, and ingesting the data into Snowflake and then into Talend.

“It was backed by a real pedigree in data quality.”

Okunade elaborated that it chose Talend Cloud because, “it was backed by a real pedigree in data quality and master data management. Our key requirement within the customer domain was making sure that we produce a golden record for contact and Talend provided that capability.”
There is the benefit for Okunade of getting immediate feedback. “We have stakeholder users of data within the team. I sit next to people that are using data that we publish and make accessible, so having that direct feedback works really well for us.”
The main benefit of the new tools is time-saving with Okunade saying that he was able to unlock a 50% cost-saving, year-on-year, as well as having to refresh only when necessary compared to three times a week with the old system. He has also be impressed by the 90% time reduction in fixing any data issues. Furthermore, the ease of use made the transition relatively painless. “It literally worked out of the box, which made our lives a lot easier.”
Yemi Okunade was speaking at a Snowflake event.


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