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Boosting customer engagement through personalization

Capillary uses Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to foster customer loyalty


Increase in marketing campaign conversion rates


Reduction in compute and infrastructure costs

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“The Databricks Data Intelligence Platform enables us to identify old customers at risk of churning and leverage machine learning to power personalized marketing campaigns designed to engage and drive LTV at an unprecedented level.”

– Piyush Goel, SVP of Engineering, Capillary Technologies

As we continue to dive deeper into a digitally evolving world, the shift in how customers behave and interact with brands is quickly becoming one of the most critical indicators in determining loyalty and lifetime value. Capillary Technologies is taking this challenge head-on, helping the biggest brands in the world — including Shell and Levi’s — identify profitable customers and nudge them back to purchase through data-driven loyalty and marketing programs. But with over 13 billion customer records to analyze, Capillary’s legacy infrastructure buckled under the weight of their clients’ data sets — slowing performance and creating operational overhead. With the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Capillary is now able to process and analyze all their clients’ data quickly and cost-effectively. With data no longer a blocker, they can build pipelines that quickly serve actionable insights that help their clients increase customer retention and lifetime value.

The challenging environment of scaling data management 

The difference between a mediocre and a delightful customer experience often comes down to understanding the needs of your customer and what it takes to satisfy them. As the retail landscape continues to become more digitized, the need to engage your customers when and how they want is paramount. Capillary Technologies understands firsthand the importance of being customer-centric. With over 400 brands across more than 30 countries, their platform supports more than 450 million customers, which makes up 40% of all loyalty management capabilities across the regions they operate in.

To be successful at that level of scale requires one thing — data. With over 100 global loyalty programs in flight at any given time, Capillary processes more than 13 billion transaction records per year while recording 187 million new customer registrations during the same time period. This volume of data pushed their legacy data warehouse to its limits, which slowed performance while increasing the time and cost to maintain their systems to support their increased operational requirements.

“Data management can be an arduous task. But it becomes more rewarding for enterprises when done efficiently. While that is one aspect of looking at data handling, the other most critical factor is assuring all the data analysis is completed in time to derive real-time insights,” said Piyush Goel, SVP of Engineering at Capillary Technologies.

To cope with the ongoing and incessant client demand, Capillary needed to modernize their approach to data and AI. Through the adoption of the lakehouse architecture, they were able to not only provide a unified view into all their data but also enable analytics and machine learning capabilities without worrying about data management and infrastructure maintenance.

Transforming the customer engagement landscape using lakehouse architecture

Moving to the lakehouse was a game changer for Capillary. With the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, they are now able to tap into the best of data warehouses and data lakes, ensuring a seamless platform for data and AI. Once they implemented the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, the impact on their business use cases was immediate. For example, the mammoth task of executing personalized marketing campaigns for Capillary’s large enterprise clients in real time was challenging with their previous native technology. With Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, they are able to streamline cluster management and build highly performant and reliable data pipelines to feed their analytics and machine learning needs.

“Our prior native technology involved more man-hours for infrastructure development and MLOps,” said Goel. “With Databricks, we were able to speed our execution times significantly.” With cluster and infrastructure management a thing of the past, Capillary’s data team was able to focus on improving customer and business performance. Databricks sends out the alert and manages all the back-end heavy lifting to solve issues quickly. And with extensive visualizations at their fingertips, they were able to feed data insights to internal business consumers for smarter decision-making.

The value Databricks provided didn’t stop with its platform. Databricks’ expert and dedicated teams across customer success and solutions architecture offered valuable tips and timely feedback to enhance query performance after observing the working style of a predefined query. With every query, the Databricks team guided Capillary’s data team toward the best possible solutions.

Delivering successful loyalty campaigns more efficiently

Since moving to Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Capillary has seen an immediate business impact. From an operations perspective, the automation and sheer performance of the lakehouse allowed them to reduce inference queries from 150 seconds to 115 seconds — reducing customer resource usage and costs by 35%. The ML workflow was also optimized for speed. “With MLflow, we have been able to build an ML workflow with ease, saving us 180 hours of MLOps overhead,” said Saurabh Kumar, Director of Engineering at Capillary Technologies. “This means we are able to get new models to production faster, which has improved our ability to target and retain old customers from 1%–5% to 200%–400%.” Using Capillary’s algorithm on Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, the conversion rate of the campaign increased by 600%.

Looking ahead, Capillary’s client onboarding keeps growing every year and they are excited at the prospect of leveraging more data to their clients to close the loop on customer acquisition, engagement and retention.