Twilio Segment releases customer data platform dev toolkit

Twilio Segment, the division of Twilio formed after the company’s acquisition of customer data platform (CDP) Segment last November, today launched its developer toolkit, a set of developer services designed to give companies ways to deliver unique customer experiences. With the toolkit, organizations can save money, gain greater control, and reduce the risk of adopting a solution that doesn’t meet their needs, Twilio says.

CDPs have become key infrastructure for enterprises aiming to reach customers through digital channels. According to a survey by London Research, the majority of companies — 51% — are already using a CDP, while 35% aren’t planning to but might in the near future. Only 14% of respondents said that they don’t have a CDP and lack implementation plans. The same survey found that about 24% of those with a CDP “significantly outperformed” their marketing goal in the prior 12 months compared with 10% of those without a CDP.

Dev kit

In some ways, the developer toolkit is the culmination of integration work behind the scenes, post-acquisition of Segment. In April, Segment founder Peter Reinhardt told VentureBeat that the near-term goal was a customer engagement tool that could blend the Segment and Twilio experience into a seamless customer data management system.

“The one-size-fits-all software-as-a-service suites of today can no longer deliver the differentiated customer experiences needed for businesses to set themselves apart from the competition. What companies save in build and maintenance efforts, they lose in differentiation and flexibility — both of which are key for survival in the digital age. As a result, developers are often stuck creating integration workarounds for marketing and product teams that require thousands of hours of work to be extended and maintained,” Jodi Alperstein, VP and general manager of Segment Core, told VentureBeat via email. “[W]ith our new Developer Toolkit, developers have even more flexibility to modify and customize all their data flows.”

The developer toolkit takes steps toward this with Destination Actions, currently in beta, which provides the ability to configure how data is shared with downstream data destinations. For example, developers can orchestrate custom actions and tailor predefined actions within the Twilio Segment UI to trigger specific behavior, like adding a user to an audience or creating or updating a user profile. Another capability, called Functions, delivers the ability to build custom sources and destinations on top of Twilio Segment infrastructure.

Beyond this, the toolkit offers Multi-Instance Destinations, which connects multiple instances of a destination to a single data source to support departments with unique use cases. Rounding out the resources are popular libraries including Swift and Kotlin (in pilot) and Analytics.js 2.0, which supports batched events for improved performance.

“Marketing stacks are growing exponentially and often developers don’t have access to the integrations needed to connect their technology stack. This creates a nightmare for developers. Building and maintaining all the integrations that a modern business needs requires thousands of engineering hours, distracting them from building customer experiences and products that are core to their business,” Alperstein continued. “The Twilio Segment Developer Toolkit empowers developers to control and customize  data collection and integration, giving an incredible amount of flexibility to build unique, differentiated customer experiences. Both Twilio and Segment share a developer-first DNA, and we are shifting the industry’s focus away from ‘one-size-fits-all’ towards giving companies the building blocks to customize their customer experience as needed.”

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