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Looking Back While Running Forward: How Optimove Future-Proofed Its Data and Realtime Capabilities on the Fly

As a trailblazer in the CRM Marketing industry, Optimove enjoys the perks that come with being early, but must balance it by constantly evolving with the rising demands of the ecosystem. Our Cloud Migration journey epitomizes this commitment perfectly

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Being early has many advantages. It’s true in almost every field, technology and business included. But, as the World Wide Web has taught us, getting there before the competition is far from being enough to guarantee long-lasting domination (Hi, Myspace). First, those pioneers must learn to adapt quickly and evolve on the fly. Second, and perhaps more important, the fashionably-late have the benefit of learning from others’ mistakes – a privilege deprived of the trailblazer.

The position of the innovator is one we at Optimove have known very well since the company was founded in 2009 – which makes us a proud member of a small group of companies that paved the way on which the CRM Marketing industry is racing nowadays.

And, back in the days, as Optimove was small and everything was new, most of our clients were early adopters. Meaning, small or medium businesses – the kind that survives by moving faster than the big boys.

Like Changing Engine Without a Pit Stop

As the years went by, we were not the only ones who grew – the industry became more established, and “legacy players” (a nice way of saying “enterprises”) stepped in, as competitors and as clients.

Once most of the successful brands understood that Retention Marketing deserves a seat at the table right next to Acquisition and Branding, simply growing was not enough for us anymore. We had to adapt and evolve, without a pit stop for a quick breather.

Imagine Optimove as a train that’s going as fast as it can, then keeps going at full speed while mechanics are changing its engine to a futuristic model – and the first time the passengers notice it is when they suddenly realize they are moving much faster and smoother than before, and that they’re going to arrive at their destinations earlier than expected (we hope it’s not an inconvenience).

This is where Optimove is now – with clients enjoying award-winning next-gen CRM technologies such as AI-mapped CRM Journeys (Self-Optimizing Journeys) and full realtime capabilities, including realtime segmentation and one-click actionable AI-driven insights. All with the security, velocity, and flexibility that a microservices framework and a cloud-based data infrastructure allow.

Every Journey Begins with a Blog Post

But it wasn’t effortless to get here safely and quickly. Especially as we had to do it while the company, the industry, the competition, and our clients’ standards and expectations kept growing incredibly fast. It was a real journey, admittedly with some mandatory bumps on the road and other, more positive milestones.

We told you about a few of them here before. There was the “Taming the Mythological Beast That Lays in the Depths of Optimove” from the summer of 2019, where we had to – once and for all – face the Kraken in our proprietary processing tools’ depths (and how it was a victory for the ages.)

One month later, we published a guide on creating your first microservice, “Using Swagger and .NET Core”. On that blog, we gave you a glimpse into why we switched from monolith to microservices, plus a DIY tutorial of how to create one. It is an incredibly popular article among our search audience to this day.

Along the way, we provided teasers – like acquiring Axonite, a realtime event streaming solution that took our realtime customer data platforms to the next level. Like updating our “Data Infrastructure” product page. Or, like introducing realtime segmentation, then showing how it can be combined with predictive and historical data to create cutting-edge hyper-personalized CRM.

Have our CEiC and Eat it Too

Internally, this entire project got the nickname CEiC, for “Campaign Executing in the Cloud” – and its main purpose was to build the base on which we’ll migrate multiple mission critical Optimove services to the cloud, which will also allow us to share data quickly and efficiently.

The first major milestone on it, called “Optidata,” was focused on alleviating the pain caused by our complex customer profile calculation processes. And the way we made it happen opened up a new world of possibilities for us to serve our clients better.

By building a framework of interconnected microservices and letting these heavy calculations run on columnar, analytics-first solutions such as Snowflake and BigQuery, before importing the results back to our servers, we were able to cut up to 90% of the process’ time.

Then, by analyzing and identifying other bottlenecks, our team came up with a paradigm-shifting alternative – a fully horizontal scalable way of utilizing cloud resources.

This outside-the-box approach was born in a brainstorm we performed to address the issue of our even longer and less-scalable Target Group calculation process. Coupled with Optidata’s method of performing complex calculations on a dedicated columnar analytic data warehouse (Snowflake), involving GKE-based microservices (before importing the results back to our servers), the scalable horizontal approach improved performances even further.

Never Looking Back

Overall, this entire cloud-migration journey, which still has some final loose ends to tie up, has played a vital role in making Optimove the enterprise-ready solution that it is today. On Gartner’s latest Peer Insights report for Multichannel Marketing Hubs, Optimove was the only vendor to finish in the Top 5 for both “Overall Score” and Willingness to Recommend” – while being also reviewed by enterprise-sized clients. It also helped us package all our realtime solutions together with unmatched predictive analytics capabilities to compile a one-of-a-kind offering. It must also be part of why we won four straight CRM Marketing awards in recent months.

But, if there’s one thing we think this entire journey exemplifies, it is that we never settle for being anything less than future-ready. And nor should our clients and partners.

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Rachel Shehori

Rachel joined Optimove in April 2019 as VP R&D. Before joining Optimove, Rachel held various positions at Hewlett-Packard, including Director of Engineering, SaaS HPE Software. Rachel was also an R&D Consultant for an Aerospace Solutions and Engineering company in Israel. She holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science, Maths and Physics from Tel Aviv University, and an Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate from Stanford University.

Ohad Sheory

Ohad, Optimove's Chief Architect, joined the company in 2018 when the company bought PowerInbox, where he was the CTO for 6 years. That's his 8th tech executive position since he graduated from the Technion with honors. When we asked if he has any hobbies so we can write about them here, he replied saying "a few," which, admittedly, caught us by surprise. When he added that one of them was Competitive Orienteering, we were less surprised.