Did you ever think that a loyalty program might elevate your business operations? Or maybe you already have such a solution, but you would like an upgrade to make it more innovative and adjusted to your customers’ needs? No matter what is your goal at the moment, we would like to invite you to our interview about Open Loyalty. It’s a comprehensive guide to the platform and its customization process. We discuss all crucial topics that can arise during collaboration and explain every detail of our product. If you wonder how Open Loyalty and collaboration with Divante can help your company, read on!Let’s begin with the basics: What is Open Loyalty?
Open Loyalty is a headless loyalty platform that offers flexible and complex services for companies that require loyalty programs as a part of their business models. What’s important is that the product provides the highest possible level of customization and personalization to ensure that the clients get the loyalty application tailored to their need.
The main advantages of Open Loyalty are the API-first approach as well as over 50 pre-built features, like coupons, referrals, rewards, and more. With those features, brands can quickly introduce engaging loyalty programs with a custom user experience (UX) at any touchpoint. Open Loyalty provides flexible tools that provide teams with the freedom to create loyalty products and connect them with other systems.
Why are customer loyalty programs so important, and which industries can benefit from them?
A loyalty program can be beneficial for almost every industry. It’s a tool that has several functions in a company. Business owners can consider these programs as a medium for accelerating and structuring communication between the brand and its customers. It can also be an integral part of a marketing strategy. With the right approach to loyalty offerings, every company can improve sales, transform one-time buyers into recurring customers, acquire new clients from referrals, and so much more.
Why is Open Loyalty a go-to solution for companies that needs a personalized loyalty program? What gives it a competitive advantage?
There are several reasons why leading business players so often pick Open Loyalty. The headless approach and future-proof architecture used in the platform provide flexibility and excellent scalability.
As I already mentioned, a flexible API and the way every program can be built using premade blocks are splendid for integrating Open Loyalty with the existing tech stack. Scalability is nearly unlimited but, at the same time, cost-effective. That’s thanks to the microservice-readiness and cloud infrastructure we’ve built it on. The upgrades are nearly effortless, and the whole customization process can be done much quicker, which shortens time to market and improves UX.
How exactly can Open Loyalty be adjusted to individual business needs and requirements?
On the one hand, Open Loyalty platform provides a set of ready-to-use mechanics to allow companies to implement almost any possible loyalty scheme. On the other, the solution can be freely customized for most of the requirements for businesses and hosted on-premise. Divante has proven numerous times now that we’re capable of adjusting this system to almost any wish that clients have.
For example, one of our recent partners wanted to switch from Open Loyalty’s regular database to Oracle midway through the project. It was a challenge, especially since we didn’t know about the change beforehand because it wasn’t mentioned during the discovery phase or at any other early stage before development. Still, Divante did precisely what was needed and migrated the platform to Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP). For something like that, it’s crucial that we have a team of coders, designers, testers, and other experts who can craft the loyalty program to any company’s business model.
Do you provide all the required services, like design, maintenance, or business consultations?
Divante is a business partner that always puts the customer first. As one of the main Open Loyalty partners we have a perfect uderstanding of this loyalty engine. As a company we developed and implemented multiple loyalty systems.. We also provide all additional services to ensure seamless, full personalization of loyalty programs. We walk step by step with the client from workshops and the discovery phase to design, development, and testing. Our specialists also provide maintenance services in close collaboration with Open Loyalty’s team.
We are well known for our experience in eCommerce projects and software development. That means we can implement any type of dedicated loyalty system quickly and effectively. If the client is looking for a provider that will take care of their needs instead of a premade solution that might not be adjusted to them, Divante is the place to go.
What does the entire collaboration process look like from the first contact to implementation?
We have an elaborate, detailed process that guarantees satisfying results every time. Let’s walk through it step by step.
Every project begins with an analysis of needs and confirmation of the project scope. We always want to make sure that Open Loyalty will meet expectations, and we also want to determine what level of customization will be required. Additionally, we need to find out what kind of system architecture we’re going to build. After all that is discussed, we ask ourselves one question: how can our product fulfill the main business scenarios of the client’s loyalty program?
Initially, we create a document with all the cases that have to be covered, including technical background and systems that have to be involved. Once we have that, we prepare a dedicated demo call to show two possible options. Those options are either an out-of-the-box Open Loyalty product that can support these requirements or easy and quick customization to cover them. This is a crucial step for both the client and Divante because it shows the benefits of the Open Loyalty platform. In other words, how it can support the brand and speed up time to market. At this stage, the client must decide whether to move forward to the next step or go with another approach.
What happens next? Is this the moment when the customization process begins?
Not quite yet. We know that it might seem like we’re doing a lot of preparation, but it’s the proven way of doing things at Divante. Spending more time polishing the project’s scope beforehand saves a lot of resources later on. That’s why the next step is the time for deep analysis and discovery. Now, we refine technical and business needs. Our goal here is to find out as much as possible about the project. We also try to match out-of-the-box features of Open Loyalty with every requirement, and if that’s not entirely possible, we plan customizations. It’s great background information for estimating the first timeline, determining the responsibilities of each team, and preparing a rough estimation of the project’s cost.
Now, with all the information we’ve gathered up to this point, it’s time for planning. We sit with the client and look for a balance between the time, cost, features, and complexity of the project. Now, we can simplify some functionalities, remove the ones that are not necessary and put them on the backlog for later development, and set priorities. We outline the first MVP and subsequent releases of the product. On top of that, this is when we assign roles within the team, pin down needed resources from both sides, schedule meetings, and so on.
Now it’s time for development, right?
Exactly! We have everything in place, and everyone knows what they should be doing, so the development phase can finally begin. I emphasized the previous stages so strongly because they actually have an enormous influence on the quality of this phase. If we have an organized knowledge base and plan, we can achieve much better results because everything is transparent and clearly stated.
At this point, we focus on delivering business outcomes by implementing a set of features and releasing them as soon as possible to the client’s team. The whole development process is based on a loop: develop, test, learn, repeat. This is how we can quickly detect any malfunctions and react to them accordingly. We can proudly say that we’ve managed to design a process where every client gets access to all of the necessary information. This information includes budget utilization, project completion, detected potential issues and how we’re addressing them, and expected delivery time. It’s crucial to measure those things in order to minimize failures and increase confidence, for both sides, that we’re moving in the right direction.
Does wrapping up the development phase mean the loyalty solution is finished?
Not at all. Once we’ve done each development task, the work is still far from done. Now, we’re entering the setup and migration phase. Here, it all depends on whether the client had a loyalty program before. This stage might also be tricky if millions of records are exported from the old system and imported to the new one. It’s crucial to do this right so the client doesn’t lose any crucial data.
Last but not least, we perform testing activities with a strong emphasis on stress tests and end-to-end tests. Both Divante and the client’s team should engage in these to make sure the software works as it should, even with many customers using it. If errors are detected, our team fixes them to prevent the product from further technical difficulties.
After this long journey, we’re finally ready to take off and launch the Open Loyalty-based program.
Are clients included in the process? What is their role in the collaboration?
As you probably can guess by now, the answer is yes. We take ownership of delivering the entire loyalty solution. Nevertheless, we collaborate closely with the client’s team at every stage. Communication and constant updates about the progress of the project are essential for getting results that will be satisfying for the product owner.
Many projects we’ve worked on proved that clients always know their business, customers, and competitors best. They know precisely what is needed, what can wait, and what is unacceptable. We listen carefully and apply these needs to a custom Open Loyalty solution. Actually, that’s why we’ve made this product to be an out-of-the-box solution with the possibility of personalization. By doing so, every brand that comes to us can get exactly what they require according to their budget and resources. We know that every business is different, so we do everything to adjust our services to the individual business.
Does Divante or the client host the Open Loyalty solution?
Both options are possible. Nevertheless, in most cases, our clients prefer to host the loyalty application on their internal infrastructure. Our teams have experience with platforms such as AWS, Azure, Oracle, and many others. We understand that enterprise-size loyalty systems require an on-premise approach.
Is there any technical and business knowledge required to use Open Loyalty and prevent major (or minor) issues?
First of all, let’s talk about the out-of-the-box and customized versions of our system. The first one is relatively easy to navigate and install so that means almost no tech background is required to operate on it. However, as with any premade solution, it’s not perfectly tailored to the client’s business. That’s why customizing is highly recommended, and even though it gives the product owner some responsibility, it also pays off with various benefits.
For example, an on-premise solution can’t run on a cheap external server somewhere in Europe. It needs a complete infrastructure and a specialist to handle it. Usually, that’s a DevOps engineer from Divante. We sit down and discuss all the risks that might happen. That includes even a tornado or a fire in the place where the platform is hosted. Our team also proposes many ways to automate every process to prevent the challenges or react to them without disrupting the system. Developing additions like these can take more time and be costly, but it’s definitely worth it. All of that is discussed at the beginning of collaboration to make sure the client understands all the whys and hows.
The crucial thing I would like to underline here is that our specialists propose resolutions from the very beginning. They try to predict worst-case scenarios and prevent them before they even happen. Also, they thoroughly explain every technicality that has to be known by the product owner to operate their custom Open Loyalty product seamlessly.
What happens after implementation? Who maintains the product, and how are technical malfunctions solved?
The team at Divante supports clients from the beginning of our collaboration to the very end, meaning implementation and beyond. No matter if the product is finished at the moment or further development is required, our team is available to fix issues, provide updates, and take care of the solution in every possible way. We always talk about the specifications and build an SLA contract that considers internal requirements, such as versioning the code.
We establish the amount of time per month that our team will spend working for the client, and we regularly report how that time is used and when it’s been exhausted. The product owner decides what the priorities are. We usually work in either Kanban or Scrum to achieve high productivity. Most SLAs have 24/7 availability included, but we can approach this on a case-by-case basis if the client has a different idea.
Do you have any examples of Open Loyalty customization?
Of course! Actually, we just finished a customized Open Loyalty solution for one of our clients in August. It was recently released live, and we can tell you, without a doubt, that it’s a great implementation on our side. The company that came to us is a recognized U.S. brand that provides loyalty solutions for gas stations and convenience stores throughout the country. Their main goal was to update their engine to a more modern, innovative, and scalable system. They needed a reliable IT partner to help them with that, and Divante was their choice. Now, we’re working together with us being their maintenance crew that makes sure everything works just fine.
We adjusted Open Loyalty to be more of a back-end engine that powers the client’s system instead of giving them a ready-to-use service that will handle their current operations. The Divante team used the power of the cloud and Kubernetes to reshape the system in order to make it similar to the reference architecture the client showed us at the beginning. We also had to consider massive scalability because the company wanted their loyalty program to handle one million customers during the first week after release and 10 million within a month.
Interestingly, the project took less time than predicted, which is hard to achieve in the IT world, especially when there are projects with changing conditions and sudden plot twists. Good communication and flexibility with both teams helped us achieve all of the business goals and create a solution greatly appreciated by their customers.
What would you tell potential clients that are interested in this solution?
Don’t wait, and contact Divante if you want to develop a loyalty system that delivers spectacular results. We’ll create a platform that is exactly what you and your customers need. Let our specialists know about your idea, and they’ll analyze it to give you the best possible recommendations. We’re waiting for you to reach out!
Published December 8, 2021