Canada’s Yellow Pages Transforms with TIBCO Master Data Management
Reinventing the Yellow Pages Directory: How YellowAPI Became an Engine for Digital Transformation
Yellow Pages is a Canadian digital media and marketing solutions company that champions local neighborhood economies. “Consumers are looking for businesses—a plumber or florist—and these businesses are looking for potential customers. Our role is to connect these two entities,” says André Boisvert, chief architect.
Yellow Pages print directories are well known, but the world has changed significantly. People now look for information online, on smartphones, and on social platforms. As a result, the company was transforming and adapting its business to the digital world.
“Traditionally, you would look for a merchant in a given section, a given category of the printed directory,” explains Boisvert. “Now, people with their mobile devices are
looking for a store right around them, right now. When we were just producing books, we simply needed to organize the content per heading, per town or city, but now, we need to have information projected in many different ways.”
The company had multiple sources of merchant information that, if simply published online, would lead to incomplete or duplicate listings. “Consumers do not accept that,” says Boisvert. “Our information needs to be as complete, accurate, up-to-date, and rich as possible. Content accuracy is what differentiates us. If we don’t have that, we will lose users.”
The company’s vision is to have efficient, systematic, and controlled curation of directory content by implementing the right governance, people, processes, and tools. Its Content Accuracy & Relevance (CAR) initiative would acquire, maintain, and deliver the richest, most accurate, up-to-date, and relevant content to consumers and provide advertisers with exceptional ROI for lead generation and customer acquisition.
YPG favored a single-vendor approach and selected TIBCO from among several vendors because of its overall toolset, including integration, speed of implementation, data-model flexibility, and matching capabilities. TIBCO technology allowed the company to identify businesses that consumers were searching for and accurately match these businesses with data from third-party services and its own databases.
Today, data governance routines, the matching engine, and identification and elimination of duplicates, including metadata management, is performed by the TIBCO® MDM platform. Exception management and business process management is handled with TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks™. The integration of both inbound (source content) and outbound (publishing systems) is implemented using TIBCO Enterprise Message Service™.
“What distinguished TIBCO MDM from other MDM vendors was very flexible data modeling. We have a very specific data domain, and we need to be able to accurately model this information. Also, in our test, we saw that TIBCO was really among the best in terms of scalability and performance,” says Boisvert. The first phase of the project, which addressed the merchant golden records, took a little less than six months from beginning to end.
MDM has made information more accurate, timely, and easier to maintain. “We are in the process of using this foundation to increase consumer reach, the CAR program’s ultimate goal. At present, we have removed 1.2 million duplicates, corrected over 500,000 geo-codes, and although this is an early indication, increased our perceived consumer relevance by more than 10 percent,” said Boisvert.
YPG did not base the project on ROI directly, but on data accuracy, which will bring huge returns. It now has the right infrastructure, an Online Merchant Management platform that allows it to put a firewall between data sources and make sure that, before any data is added or altered, it’s correctly matched to existing records. Data accuracy is crucial, not only for Yellow Pages’ own properties, but for Google, Yahoo, and others that use its content.
“Customers would go elsewhere if we were not able to provide accurate information,” says Boisvert. “TIBCO’s master data management, business process fulfillment, and system integration, is the core behind producing the best data, the best online directory, and that’s strategic to us.”
With MDM and a proper infrastructure in place, Yellow Pages Group has refocused on what differentiates them from the competition: rich content. “In the next phase,
we will expand our MDM initiative by leveraging the same TIBCO MDM instance to add data types including brands, products, as well as individual consumers,” said Boisvert. Subsequent steps will re-engineer the distribution and search platforms and enrich the relevance of content by tracking and using the consumer profiles, behaviors, and actions.