Case Study

Martech Pioneer Embraces Advanced Analytics to Improve Predictability and Service

Executive Summary

Rokt is a martech company connecting brands and e-commerce sites with customers. Rokt helps its clients reach customers at the exact moment they’re most receptive – the moment of purchase – to introduce them to something new and relevant. As the business began to grow significantly, Rokt saw an increasing need to centrally manage its logs to increase efficiency and productivity. Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, Rokt has seen benefits including:

  • Accelerated log management from hours to minutes
  • Full visibility into IT environment, user behaviors and DevOps testing
  • Real-time operational insights through predictive analytics
    • Lack of a centralized logging system increased workload for employees
    • Time-consuming operational processes posed efficiency challenges
    • Labor-intensive system monitoring and issue resolution
Business Impact
    • Enhanced business efficiency due to realtime, proactive log management
    • Improved productivity with full visibility into IT environment, user behavior and DevOps testing
    • New business possibilities created by predictive analytics
Data Sources
    • Microsoft Active Directory
    • User logs
    • Access logs
    • Load balancer logs
    • AWS CloudTrail logs
    • System logs
    • Customer logs
    • Transaction logs

Why Splunk

As Rokt continued to grow, it generated a higher volume of transaction records and user data every day. Despite moving operations to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform, Rokt continued to see a strong need to better manage its diversifying range of logs, such as user, access, load balancer, CloudTrail, system, customer and transaction logs. “It used to take hours, and sometimes half a day for us to manage daily logs,” says Andy Vermeulen, lead engineer (DevOps) of Rokt.

Rokt decided to build a centralized logging system with Splunk Enterprise. “We had heard good things about Splunk and know how popular it is in the market, but it wasn’t until we actually used the software that we realized its true value,” Vermeulen adds.

Initially used for log management, Splunk Enterprise is now serving as a multipurpose business platform enabling Rokt to embrace advanced analytics to improve predictability and service, which has since exceeded expectations.

“Not only has Splunk consolidated all of our log data and pushed it to one central, accessible and easy-to-use interface, but it has also opened the door to new possibilities helping us bring the business to new heights.”

Andy Vermeulen, Lead Engineer (DevOps)

Hours of manual work becomes minutes of mouse clicks

Splunk Enterprise has refined log management for Rokt. As a centralized log analysis tool for machine-generated data as well as unstructured and structured data, it enables IT managers to automatically index, correlate and monitor all logs across virtual and non-virtual environments from a single location, turning manual searches into automated real-time alerts, graphical reports and intuitive dashboards with only a few mouse clicks. What took the team hours to finish has now become minutes of computer operation, allowing the business to further grow and scale.

End-to-end visibility benefits IT and business operations in multiple ways

However, log management is only part of the story. A real surprise came after Rokt discovered to what extent it could take advantage of the Splunk software. “We never imagined we could achieve so much with Splunk,” says Vermeulen. “By delivering end-to-end visibility across our IT infrastructure, Splunk provides unprecedented benefits for both technical and business users.”

Firstly, it enables engineers to proactively monitor the operational health of critical IT and business services, prioritize problem resolutions and enable analytics-driven IT on-premises and in the cloud. Secondly, it allows business users to trace consumer behaviors through real-time visibility and historical analytics on user-friendly dashboards. Thirdly, it enables Rokt to monitor online interconnections with e-commerce partners in real time and take immediate corrective actions before any technical problems arise.

Moreover, the DevOps team has derived maximum benefits from Splunk software. From application development, testing to production monitoring, Splunk offers real-time insights across all stages of the delivery lifecycle, which enables the team to seamlessly move from concept to production and achieve more efficient application delivery.

“Splunk facilitates application testing, as we can easily trace security problems through real-time analysis and alerts to make sure the applications we develop are free of glitches and bugs. It also helps developers troubleshoot applications, detect issues and review application performance,” says Vermeulen. “What’s more, we’re able to correlate business metrics with code changes to gain new business insights.”

Preventing fraud and grasping future opportunities

According to Vermeulen, another game-changing feature of Splunk Enterprise is predictive analytics. “We can generate statistical reports and dashboards at our fingertips and easily spot anomalous events in data,” says Vermeulen. “We also predict future activity from the patterns and correlations in the events happening on partners’ websites, while sending alerts based on thresholds and enabling ‘what-if’ scenario analysis.”

Using Splunk dashboards, Rokt also takes proactive steps to analyze changes in consumer behaviors and traffic shifts on partners’ websites around the clock, thus gaining smarter insights to enable it to act and generate stronger outcomes. "It is a key capability in today’s highly competitive business environment,” Vermeulen adds.

Paving the road to a sustainable future

Splunk is laying the groundwork for Rokt to embed analytics into every function and deliver value to other business areas, creating a truly insight-driven and increasingly scalable organization.

“Meanwhile we’re exploring new possibilities with Splunk Enterprise, such as expanding the use of the software to our production environment and quality assurance processes. Splunk will continue to help us prepare for future growth and challenges, while getting ahead and staying ahead of the curve,” Vermeulen concludes.