It’s almost ten years to the day since I first wrote about Celebrus, which then called itself speed-trap (a term that presumably has fewer negative connotations in the U.K. than the U.S.). Back then, they were an easy-to-deploy Web site script that captured detailed visitor behaviors. Today, they gather data from all sources, map it to a client-tailored version of a 100+ table data model, and expose the results to analytics and customer engagement systems as in-memory profiles.
Does that make them a Customer Data Platform? Well, Celebrus calls itself one – in fact, they were an early and enthusiastic adopter of the label. More important, they do what CDPs do: gather, unify, and share customer data. But Celebrus does differ in several ways from most CDP products:
– in-memory data. When Celebrus described their product to me, it sounded like they don’t keep a persistent copy of the detailed data they ingest. But after further discussion, I found they really meant they don’t keep it within those in-memory profiles. They can actually store as much detail as the client chooses and query it to extract information that hasn’t been kept in memory. The queries can run in real time if needed. That’s no different from most other CDPs, which nearly always need to extract and reformat the detailed data to make it available. I’m not sure why Celebrus presents themselves this way; it might be that they have traditionally partnered with companies like Teradata and SAS that themselves provided the data store, or that they partnered with firms like Pega, Salesforce, and Adobe that positioned themselves as the primary repository, or simply to avoid ruffling feathers in IT departments that didn’t want another data warehouse or data lake. In any case, don’t let this confuse you: Celebrus can indeed store all your detailed customer data and will expose whatever parts you need.
– standard data model. Many CDPs load source data without mapping it to a specific schema. This helps to reduce the time and cost of implementation. But mapping is needed later to extract the data in a usable form. In particular, any CDP needs to identify core bits of customer information such as name, address, and identifiers that connect records related to the same person. Some CDPs do have elaborate data models, especially if they’re loading data from specific source systems or are tailored to a specific industry. Celebrus does let users add custom fields and tables, so its standard data model doesn’t ultimately restrict what the system can store.
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– real-time access. The in-memory profiles allow external systems to call Celebrus for real-time tasks such as Web site personalization or bidding on impressions.. Celebrus also loads, transforms, and exposes its inputs in real time. It isn’t the only CDP to do this, but it’s one of just a few..
Celebrus is also a bit outside the CDP mainstream in other ways. Their clients have been largely concentrated in financial services, while most CDPs have sold primarily to online and offline retailers. While most CDPs run as a cloud-based service, Celebrus supports cloud and on-premise deployments, which are preferred by many financial services companies. Most CDPs are bought by marketing departments, but Celebrus is often purchased by customer experience, IT, analytics, and digital transformation teams and used for non-marketing applications such as fraud detection and system performance monitoring.
Other Celebrus features are found in some but not most CDPs, so they’re worth noting if they happen to be on your wish list. These include ability to scan for events and issue alerts; handling of offline as well as online identity data; and specialized functions to comply with the European Union’s GDPR privacy rules.
And Celebrus is fairly typical in limiting its focus to data assembly functions, without adding extensive analytics or customer engagement capabilities. That’s particularly common in CDPs that sell to large enterprises, which is Celebrus’ main market. Similarly, Celebrus is typical in providing only deterministic matching functions to assemble customer data.
So, yes, Celebrus is a Customer Data Platform. But, like all CDPs, it has its own particular combination of capabilities that should be understood by buyers who hope to find a system that fits their needs.
As I already mentioned, Celebrus is sold mostly to large enterprises with complex needs. Pricing reflects this, tending to be “in the six or seven figures” according the company and being based on input volume, types of connected systems, and license model (term or perpetual, SaaS, on-premise, or hybrid). The company hasn’t released the number of clients but says it gathers data from “tens of thousands” of Web sites, apps, and other digital sources. Celebrus has been owned since 2011 by D4T4 Solutions (which looks like the word “data” if you use the right type face), a firm that provides data management services and analytics.