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March 22, 2019updated 25 Mar 2019 9:07am

Apache Unomi Could Prove a Major Customer Data Platform Disruptor

A flexible, scalable OSS CDP with a good privacy REST API? Commercial rivals have cause for alarm

By CBR Staff Writer

Does your business need a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to store customer insights, such as behavioural data, or handle visitor profile management?

Typically enterprises needing this kind of resource have had to pay for closed source proprietary software – open source alternatives are not thick on the ground.

That means a: paying for a subscription; b: little configuration flexibility and c: few, if any, commercial CDPs offer integrators the genuine ability to build in a user interface for customers that lets them manage privacy, in a world in which that is becoming both a customer concern and regulatory priority apropos GDPR.

A new “Top Level Project” at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), Apache Unomi, aims to change that; and has the potential to prove disruptive.

What is Apache Unomi?

Apache Unomi is an open source Customer Data Platform.

A REST server that manages user profiles and events related to the profiles, it can be used to integrate personalisation and profile management within very different systems such as CMS, CRMs, Issue Trackers and native mobile apps.

It was designed to be easy to integrate with external systems, promoting profile sharing and re-use in very different applications.

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The project was originally developed at Jahia. It was submitted to the Apache Incubator in October 2015 and “promoted” as a top level project this week, in a post published late Thursday.

It features privacy management, user/event/goal tracking, reporting, visitor profile management, segmentation, personas, A/B testing, and more.

It can be used as:

  • A personalisation service for a Web CMS
  • An analytics service for  native mobile applications
  • A centralised profile management system with segmentation capabilities; and
  • A consent management hub

Clever User-Facing Privacy Management Tools

Cleverly, using the Apache Unomi privacy REST API, it is possible for integrators to build user facing UIs that let them manage their profile, and control how they are being tracked, what data has been collected and even anonymise previously collected data or future data. End-users can even delete their profile information completely.

Built as an Open Service Gateway Initiative (OSGi) – a Java framework for developing and deploying modular software programs and libraries – application running inside Apache Karaf, the project has been designed to be scalable.

It is also the industry’s first reference implementation of the upcoming OASIS CDP specification. (OASIS is a nonprofit standards consortium for the technology sector).

“Apache Unomi is the perfect solution to implement a user profile platform,” said Jean-Baptiste Onofré, Fellow at Talend: “It fully addresses the user trust and privacy needs, allowing to easily create user profile and Web marketing features. As Unomi is powered by Apache Karaf, it’s also a great platform for several use cases, such as digital marketing in Web applications, managing user profiles on IoT devices, and more.”

Read this: Meet the Apache Software Foundation’s Top 5 Code Committers

Laurent Liscia, CEO of OASIS added: “At a time when client data interoperability and built-in data privacy are mandatory foundations for legal, consistent, and personalized experiences across channel markets and systems, the CDP specification, together with Apache Unomi, is a clear and welcome answer to end-user concerns.”

The project team rolled out a range of users as it announced the promotion to top level ASF project this week. Lars Petersen, Co-Founder at digital services agency Altola, was among them. He said: “As we were developing a progressive web app (PWA) for a client, we were looking for a Customer Data Platform to store customer insights, such as behavioral and explicit customer data. Privacy was table stake for us, along with the flexibility to customize data schema and open API.”

He added: “We selected Apache Unomi based on these parameters, we had it up and running on AWS in less than 30 min. and are very impressed with the maturity of the platform, its privacy by design and how easy it was to work with.”

Thomas Sigdestad, CTO at Norwegian software company Enonic, said: “The CDP marketplace is lacking from a standard way of exchanging data, and the vendor space is over-represented by closed source and proprietary cloud offerings.”

“Apache Unomi is poised to disrupt the Customer Data Platform market…Companies using Unomi will benefit from faster and simpler integrations without locking their customer data into yet another proprietary silo.”

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