Tweaking the IBM Campaign and IBM Netezza platform – How a connection helped save dollars!

Friday 30th, September 2016


In the previous post, we read about our experience with configuring IBM Campaign to help in a Lead distribution and routing program, which was a deviation from what IBM Campaign is typically used for.

This week, let us look at a different customer where our teams helped solve some difficult integration issues. We will not talk about the technical details on what went into this as that is outside the purpose of this blog. The intent is to give you, readers, a peek into how this helped from a marketing perspective.

One of our customers is a very large private retail bank, highly matured in the Marketing automation and Enterprise marketing space. They are quite respected and have over the years, built a very competent Marketing analytics practice within the bank.

The bank had invested in a new Data warehouse technology platform (IBM Netezza) and needless to say, this was not going to be an easy transition, compounded by the fact that all the existing systems were integrated and had to be re-configured.

In particular, their IBM Campaign (an automated marketing platform, the leader in its category) platform needed to now talk to IBM Netezza (the new Data warehouse platform) seamlessly and ensure their current and scheduled campaigns would not be compromised on.

Why was this important for the bank?

This was a very critical need for the bank as they were heavy marketing users sending out thousands of complex, multi-wave campaigns and any negative impact would lead to bottom-line RoI reduction.

So there was no choice but for the 2 systems to talk to each other – IBM Campaign and IBM Netezza.

There was only a small problem – The bank was using a 3rd party data ODBC driver called Data Direct that was being used for their existing systems (at the time, the bank had multiple data sources running on MS SQL Server and Oracle at that time – this would now be replaced with the Netezza data warehouse platform).

The Data Direct ODBC drivers would not support IBM Netezza directly.

The team at Xerago needed to suitably tweak the configuration and see if there was indeed a way to use the Data Direct ODBC drivers given there was no ready-made methodology. This involved coding using Linux shell scripts, tweaking the parameters in IBM Campaign and IBM Netezza. So far, so good. The Test environment came out positive and all that was left now was to replicate what was done on the Live production environment (or so the team thought!).

What is it about production environments? I mean, why cannot it just be that what works on the test environment is just replicated and the production environment behaves like a puppy? Well, some things in life have no explanation! I bet you have been there!

Anyway, the next couple of nights were spent doing essentially 2 things: Tweak, Configure and Re-tweak and Re-configure!

Thankfully, we got it right once we understood the subtle differences between the Test environment and the production environment. Another small victory but big relief!

In summary, our teams worked around the following areas:

  1. Work on the UAT environment of Netezza
  2. Configure the ODBC to connect to IBM Campaign
  3. Tweaking configuration parameters in Unica Campaign
  4. Write special scripts that would help in data cleansing and massaging
  5. Mapping of tables as required
  6. Production environment configuration changes
  7. SIT, UAT and Production Testing

How did this help the bank?

  • We ensured an older version of IBM Campaign was supported (Campaign 7.x) with IBM Netezza
  • If the integration work-around had failed, the bank would have invested further in ensuring there was data import from the data sources to IBM Netezza, and this was not just dollars being saved
  • There was no significant break in the BAU operations which was very critical for the bank
  • The bank could also save on upgrading their IBM Unica campaign version

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