Digital Data - The Foundation Principles

Janus de Visser

Director Operations

17 December 2019

5 minutes reading time

Navigating the world of digital data can sometimes feel overwhelming. If this is how you’re feeling, we’ve got the perfect remedy for you. Take a deep breath, grab a coffee, sit back and read our eight foundation principles. Hopefully, they’ll provide you with the clarity you’re looking for. And remember – we’re just an e-mail or phone call away if you’d like to discuss any of your digital data challenges in more detail.


Focus on your business

You’re not implementing Google or Adobe (or any other vendor) – you’re building your business using their digital solutions. So, start by focusing on your business, your strategy and your goals. And then translate these into tangible business requirements before getting stuck into any technical implementation projects.


Keep it sweet and simple

Complex case studies are fascinating for your marketing department to sink their teeth into, but they rarely do anything to improve operations as a whole. Applying data insights to your daytoday business means your data has to be accessible, understandable and maintainable. So, keep it sweet and simple!
Developers can dream up solutions to any problem – if need be, taking every exception and eventuality into account. But letting them do so is to build a house of cards that’s highly unstable and expensive to maintain. Too many custom solutions will turn data management into a massive drain of resources and a major headache. Avoid customization, if at all possible!


Remain agnostic

Data has greater value if it can be shared seamlessly between different systems. Reason enough to keep your data and system design as agnostic as possible. Doing so will also provide enormous benefits when it comes to multi or omnichannel operations. What’s more, your design efforts won’t be wasted if you ever decide to switch vendor.


Close the loop

Data adds value to every aspect of your business development:

  • Base your designs on data insights
  • Define metrics to determine degree of success
  • Collect relevant data wherever possible
  • Repeat


Don’t aim for perfection

There’s an Italian proverb “Il meglio è l’inimico del bene” that translates as “The best is the enemy of the good” – Voltaire 1770.
Data triggers a mathematical compulsion within us to derive absolute values. But not all data is created equal, which means trying to compare absolutes will, without fail, result in discrepancies. Pick the best single source of truth and stick to it. Use frontend analytics for customer journey metrics and your back end/office for order metrics.


Standardize your terminology

When implementing and building new datasets, you’re essentially writing a story. Use language everyone understands. Agree definitions, naming conventions and methods to make sure everyone is on the same page throughout your entire organization – analysts, product owners, developers, marketers, management…



A verb, not a noun! People forget things. People come and go. And how ever sweet and simple your digital solutions may be, they often remain black boxes. Documenting what you build and how it works will make a world of difference in the future. It may seem like a hassle at the time, but you’ll be glad you did, as it will mean the difference between continually repeating yourself and expanding your operations.


Leave development to the experts

Countless technical challenges face the online marketing industry – mobile apps, singlepage applications, intelligent tracking prevention and ad blockers to mention but a few. Trying to develop proprietary custom solutions to overcome these hurdles is an ill-advised, shortterm investment. Large vendors such as Google, Adobe, Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Tealium have the development power to find solutions to these universal challenges. Isn’t it best to leave it to them?

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