Scal-e has just been listed in two reports by the Forrester International Research Institute : “Now Tech: Customer Data Platforms, Q4 2021” Asia Pacific (APAC) report, and “Now Tech: Customer Data Platforms, Q1 2022” world report. The marketing & technology French Blog Martech.cloud took advantage of the launch of the new Scal-e website to organise an interview.
Scal-e´s CEO Christophe ALVES spoke with the Martech.cloud about the company since its takeover in 2018, he discussed Scal-e´s strategy, the evolution of the market, its team and his vision of the company’s future.
This article is the first of a series of 5 entries published throughout 2022. Find the links to all the articles at the end of the page at the end of the summer.
Scal-e in a few words
Martech.cloud : Before talking about your strategy, could you tell us what the Scal-e platform is used for?
Christophe Alves : Scal-e platform makes it easy for B2B and B2C brands to implement customer acquisition and retention strategies, and improve their results.
With the objective to retain customer through the implementation of personalized customer experiences, our platform offers marketing teams different modules to easily unify their data, protect privacy or get a deeper understanding of their customers.
Martech.cloud : How exactly does your platform facilitate, does it set up customer acquisition or retention strategies?
Christophe Alves : On one hand, the platform can be configured (using a no code approach) to adapt to the customer’s context. And on the other, the platform is natively integrated, it does not require integration between modules: reducing implementation costs and making it easier for brands to collaborate and navigate on the daily basis.
A no code platform
Martech.cloud : You mentioned “no-code” mode, what exactly is this? And what interest does it have for your users?
Christophe Alves : The platform was designed to be used by business teams (marketing, data analysts, e-commerce, after-sales service, point of sale, etc.) without requiring daily assistance of IT teams. This is what we call in the vocabulary of editors, a “No Code” platform or “low code”. At first, this may seem like a small detail, but as we saw during the pandemic the market is evolving at an incredible speed. The advantage of “no code” is that it allows marketing teams to react very quickly to implement an idea with a few clicks. The goal is to acquire new customers or generate new sales before the competition has had time to implement similar marketing tools.
Modular and integrated
Martech.cloud : Understood. You were talking about a natively integrated platform. Can you tell us more?
Christophe Alves : From its conception, the platform and its various modules have been natively integrated around a CDP (Customer Data Platform) module on a single cloud. Did you know that Scal-e is a spin-off of a Bouygues Telecom project?
Coming back to integration, it’s a bit technical but the integration of all the Scal-e modules around our CDP facilitates the implementation of the platform as well as its daily use, as I said previously. Because all modules are accessible to all users from the same interface this facilitates daily cooperation. Meaning there is no need to go to a data cloud, a marketing cloud, or a service cloud etc.
This facilitates handling and cooperation as for example, if we look at the medium and big companies we work with, their size often implies a data organization in silos. Indeed, the after-sales, marketing, IT, data, or even legal teams are often independent and use their own tools. Scal-e platform brings the necessary structure to make them collaborate around marketing topics.
Martech.cloud : Can you give us examples of co-operation made easily possible thanks to your platform? For example, in the regulatory framework, between the work of the data protection officer, agency and the data team or the brand and its marketing team?
Christophe Alves : Yes of course. Many brands have invested in marketing tools to move from a siloed customer experience to a global experience (marketing, sales, after-sales service, etc) and omnichannel (online and offline). The famous phrase “reaching the right person with the right message or service or reward, at the right time”. Yet according to the Gartner Institute, by 2025, 80% of companies will abandon their efforts due to a lack of return on investment, the dangers of managing customer data, or both.
One of the reasons why so many brands give up is the multitude of confidentiality policies (RGPD, CCPA, GDPR, PIPL among other legislation), and the silos that are created by the businesses (by channel, subsidiary, or BU) or the technological silos (ERP, website, merchant site, social networks, messaging, mobile application, point of sale, etc). These two points do not help the marketing teams, who must therefore be able to juggle with these technical and legal constraints to set up their operations.
Scal-e history – Past and Future
Martech.cloud : You talked about a spin-off, if I understood correctly, you bought the company with your associates. Could you tell us more?
Christophe Alves : Yes, absolutely. We together co-founded a marketing agency in 2008 and developed its activity in Europe, Asia, and the US. Over time with the evolution of local regulations, we have had to adapt and use different marketing solutions. We were limited in our development because of these tools and decided to develop our own tool. Before launching the project, we came across the Scal-e transfer file which had already carried out more than 200 projects directly or via its network of partners. Suffice to say the advantage of a start-up coupled with the experience gained through numerous projects.
Martech.cloud : Can you tell us how the Scal-e platform was different from the products you have used?
Christophe Alves : My associates and I have been working on Fintech or Martech projects for more than 20 years. We have seen agencies, integrators, IT teams, and even our teams repeat the same developments for each industry. Every brand wants to adapt its solutions for off-shelve distribution. An idea came to us; perhaps we should make it easier for users to set up the platform themselves without having to resort to overly technical developments or products.
It was necessary to understand the need for brands to evolve and that even two competing brands do not want to do the same thing. We thought that instead of focusing on a single use case or a single sector, like having a CDP dedicated to B2B, B2C, e-commerce sites, or a loyalty solution that only allows you to manage certain types of rewards or allocate points/reward only on transactional events. We wanted to offer business teams (marketing, data, DPO, IT) the possibility of personalizing 100% of the platform without the need to redevelop the product. And allowing them to offer a 100% personalized experience to their customers.
And that’s what we liked during the first presentation.
The modular side of the platform allows each brand and even each user to use only the modules or functions they need. The “single cloud” side avoids IT teams having to interconnect the different clouds/solutions. The fact that the platform is centred on a CDP, makes it possible to configure 100 % tailor-made data models without even having to touch the database server. The functional side of the ETL offers different interfacing methods, for example, having a polymorphic API that self-adapts automatically to the models implemented in the CDP. The ability to use any CDP field to build a segment, a population, personalize content, recommend a product, or even build a report even though this field has just been created or calculated.
The best ideas are often simple, now we can see the big American players would like to go in this direction, but given their history of purchasing and integrating solutions, it’s not that simple. So yes, we liked the product as well as its designer who continues to surprise us every day with the ingenuity of his ideas.
Martech.cloud : That gives me a nice transition to my last question. Can you share with us some topics you are working on?
Christophe Alves : There are dozens!
As I said, each project allows us to identify new channels or data sources. So, this allows us to add connectors to these solutions.
As more and more brands are now able to unify their data, the more requests we get to better understand and exploit this data. As such, we have invested a lot in the creation of a self-service BI module that allows any user to create a dashboard in a few clicks. This may seem simple because many BI solutions exist, however, we are referring to users with the same level of expertise as right-clicking in Excel, choosing a type of graph chart, and building a tailor-made dashboard. When we know that some of our customers have millions of contacts to which millions of transactions are attached and other data, this kind of calculation can take hours on standard solutions. On Scal-e it is a few minutes.
Now there are topics that are beginning to emerge, such as being able to scrape data from different blockchains to no longer just unify offline and online data, but offline, online and onchain! Either to have a 360 ° vision on any environment or to allocate tokens or NFTs to members according to their commitment both in-store or on an e-commerce site and on the web!
But I suggest you keep this for future exchanges, knowing that we are going to be making announcements about it.
Follow up for the rest of the interview next week!
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