How do you choose the best customer loyalty technology for your business? Especially in an enterprise environment, there are several key stakeholders that should be involved in the selection process. Next to marketers , who typically drive the loyalty project from a business perspective, this includes the IT, Security, Compliance, as well as the Legal Team.

loyalty program system requirements

But what are the exact loyalty program system requirements that this second important stakeholder group should look out for? To lend you a helping hand we have summarized:

  • The top 5 questions the IT team should ask to identify the best customer loyalty technology.
  • The top 3 questions that the Data Security, Compliance and Legal team should ask.

If all of these 8 requirements are met, you can rest assured that you will have an integrated loyalty system at hand where things will be smooth sailing in all stages of your loyalty program project – with everything from set-up and launch, to ongoing operations! So let’s get started:

The Top 5 Questions that Help The IT Team Determine Essential Loyalty Program System Requirements

As an IT expert, you are the best judge of whether the features and capabilities promised by the customer loyalty technology provider will truly be delivered. To determine this, you will check criteria around the technology’s architecture and code quality, performance, integrability, scalability and security.

Question 1:

Is the Customer Loyalty Technology of Highest Technological Quality Ensuring High Performance and Scalability

loyalty program system requirements

Why does it matter?

As an IT expert, you know how essential high performing and high functioning technology is. No matter how fancy sales teams might sell the features of a customer loyalty solution, if it isn’t delivered in a top-notch technological quality, the complete loyalty program project is likely to fail sooner or later.
The technological quality of the loyalty solution determines a number of key deliverables:

  • Quick set-up of the technology: keeping your involvement to a minimum (see Question 2).
  • Smooth, seamless loyalty system integrations : heavily reducing your own workload (see Question 3).
  • Smooth operation of the customer loyalty technology: sparing you headaches and extra workload for fixing unforeseen downtimes or errors (see Question 4).
  • Highest performance levels & scalability: a loyalty program is demanding in terms of technological performance. To be successful, large amounts of data need to be processed extremely quickly according to rule-sets of varying complexities to ensure rewards earning, redemptions, promotions, and account management happen smoothly and in real time.

Overall, customers have high expectations and are unforgiving if they feel a loyalty program fails to deliver on its promises – and all other stakeholders in your company will follow suit. It is your responsibility as your company’s IT expert to ensure high performance will be delivered no matter how much the loyalty program grows with regards to member size, data flows, rule-sets and complexity.

How does it work?

In an ideal scenario for the IT department, a top-notch customer loyalty technology ticks the following boxes:

  • The customer loyalty technology is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service with a cloud-native, micro-service oriented architecture and a modular infrastructure with strict separation of the software modules and operation in a high-availability kubernetes cluster.
  • The software is of the highest code quality due to test-driven and object-oriented development.
  • If these criteria are met, you will have a loyalty technology at hand that functions smoothly and flawlessly with highest performance (no matter how big or complex the program becomes), that is highly scalable, and can easily be configured and updated for new functionality.

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    Question 2:

    Can the Customer Loyalty Technology Be Easily Configured to Your Needs and Enable a Quick Time-To-Market?

    loyalty program system requirements

    Why does it matter?

    Your IT department is likely very busy. As a result, the effort it takes to introduce a new technology should be as minimal as possible. Time is money – you know that just as much as your colleagues driving the loyalty program project from a business perspective.

    So, the customer loyalty technology you choose should not only minimize the input it takes from you and your team for set-up, but also enable your loyalty program to go live in the shortest amount of time possible.

    How does it work?

    In order for your loyalty program to be set-up as easily and quickly as possible, look out for the following in a customer loyalty technology:

    • Desired Features available out-of-the box, easily configurable to your needs: if all of the features that are needed from the business are already there and just need to be configured, this saves you months or even years of development time.
    • Awesome support for the loyalty system configuration & set-up: make sure to choose a customer loyalty technology provider that efficiently supports you with setting up and configuring the loyalty platform. An experienced provider has a standard project methodology ready for this, ensuring your set-up time and efforts are kept to a minimum.
    • Enables self-configuration IF desired: usually it is most efficient to use the provider’s experience and specialized resources do the first configuration and setting up of the customer loyalty technology for you. IN CASE you prefer to do this yourself, choose a provider that has training ready for you, so that you are guided through the set-up process.
    • A customer loyalty technology provider with agile development methods: check whether the loyalty platform provider works with agile development methods. This will ensure flexibility for you during set-up and ongoing operations.

    Question 3:

    Does the Customer Loyalty Technology Easily Integrate With All of Your Other Software and Existing IT Landscape?

    loyalty program system requirements

    Why does it matter?

    The third highly important selection criteria for the best customer loyalty technology from the IT perspective is a seamless and smooth integrability with your existing IT infrastructure. This is important for three main reasons:

    1. You need to keep your internal efforts to a minimum with regards to integrations.
    2. You need to support your company with the quickest possible loyalty program launch.
    3. You want to ensure that the loyalty platform runs smoothly in combination with all other technology IT infrastructure.

    How does it work?

    To ensure the easy integrability you should look out for the following in a customer loyalty technology:

    • Is the loyalty platform developed with an API first approach? This ensures a seamless integration into your existing IT system landscape because the relevant functionality can be accessed directly via APIs based on your needs.
    • Does the loyalty platform follow OpenAPI standard guidelines and specification (RESTful APIs) for all its APIs (including detailed, interactive documentation) to ensure a quick and simple integration?
    • Does the loyalty platform provider already offer standard integrations with tools relevant to you (such as ERP, PMS, eCommerce, POS software, campaign management and other marketing tools)?
    • Does the customer loyalty technology provider work with an efficient project approach to ensure fully integrated loyalty systems can be accomplished in the shortest possible time and at the least possible efforts?
    • Sometimes you might want to work with your own APIs. If that is a must for you, check whether the loyalty platform provider offers that option as well.

    Question 4:

    Does the Customer Loyalty Technology Enable Worry-Free Platform Operation & Maintenance?

    Why does it matter?

    You do not only want to keep your internal IT efforts to a minimum with regards to set-up and launch, but also with regards to ongoing operations and maintenance. The loyalty program technology you choose to decrease your effort and stress, not add to it.

    How does it work?

    In order to minimize the input (time and financial) on your end, choose a customer loyalty technology provider with:

    • A worry-free Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product: if the customer loyalty technology provider has a SaaS solution, your company simply pays a SaaS fee and the provider takes care of all the technology maintenance, hosting, and operation for you. This means an absolute minimum of time and effort will be required from your team!
    • Clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs): make sure that the loyalty technology provider offers you suitable service levels within a service level agreement (SLA) that covers aspects like response-times and platform availability. This means you will have a contractual guarantee for a high-performing customer loyalty technology!
    • A continuously updated SaaS product: another benefit of choosing a state-of-the art loyalty platform in a software-as-a-service subscription: you will automatically benefit from the latest software versions and new developments, which means no aging and legacy system problems for you!

    How Much Does High Quality Loyalty Technology Cost?

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    Question 5:

    Does the Customer Loyalty Technology Match With Your Existing Cloud Strategy?

    Why does it matter?

    And now to the fifth essential question you as an IT expert will ask to uncover the loyalty technology solution best suited to your needs: does the customer loyalty technology match with your company’s cloud strategy?

    This question only is relevant of course if you choose a cloud-based loyalty solution (which is highly recommended as mentioned in the question above).

    How does it work?

    Most probably you already have a certain cloud strategy in place, so you’ll need to consider which applications you already have in the cloud, which cloud provider(s) you prefer to work with, and where you want hosting to be done.

    The best loyalty SaaS solution fits in with this strategy, meaning that it is a cloud-native software that runs on your preferred cloud provider.

    And in case you don’t yet have a cloud strategy, your loyalty SaaS provider should be able and willing to give you expert advice on this.

    Congratulations, by now you have discovered the key customer loyalty technology selection criteria for your IT team. Now let us turn to the next highly important stakeholder group: IT Security, Compliance and Legal.

    The Top 3 Questions that Help the IT Security, Compliance and Legal Team Determine the Essential Loyalty Program System Requirements

    Your loyalty program will handle a lot of sensitive data (such as personal data, transactions, and possibly virtual currencies). This is why your compliance, IT security, and legal department have an important say in choosing the best customer loyalty technology for your business as well.

    They need to look for a customer loyalty technology with highest security levels, a comprehensive rights & roles management, as well as readiness to adhere to relevant data privacy laws (even across multiple countries).

    So let us look at the 3 questions these important stakeholder groups need to ask to identify the best loyalty solution and their related loyalty program system requirements.

    Question 1:

    Does the Loyalty Technology Deliver State-Of-The-Art Security Levels?

    loyalty program system requirements

    Why does it matter?

    First of all, it is highly important that all of the sensitive data of your loyalty program is secured from external threats such as hacks and data breach in the best possible manner.

    How does it work?

    To ensure the highest security levels, IT security experts need to consider the following characteristics in a customer loyalty technology:

    • Security by Design:
      The architecture of the loyalty technology should in itself already deliver maximum security, for example, because there is no direct connection of the data bases to the internet. The loyalty platform should also use state-of-the-art encryption methods (such as TLS 1.3) to secure data exchanges.
    • Security via Hosting From a State-Of-The-Art Cloud Service Provider:
      Another crucial characteristic that you as an IT security expert will check is the hosting provider that the loyalty SaaS provider uses or allows to use. By using a state-of-the-art hosting provider (that has numerous security tools and measures in place), another important level of security is added.
    • Security Via Regular Penetration Tests:
      Finally, IT security teams need to check whether the loyalty technology and hosting provider guarantee high security levels, as they regularly conduct effective penetration tests.

    In addition to these elements, we also recommend checking whether the loyalty technology provider has relevant certifications that prove they follow high security standards, such as the ISO/IEC 27001 certification.

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      Question 2:

      Does the Loyalty Technology Offer a Comprehensive User Rights & Roles Functionality?

      loyalty program system requirements

      Why does it matter?

      Comprehensive rights and roles management is essential for three reasons:

      1. Smooth Operation of the Loyalty Technology and Loyalty Program:
        An appropriate rights and roles management avoids undesired changes to configurations or promotions settings made by unauthorized and untrained team members, as this could disrupt the functionality of previously set processes or workflows.
      2. Adherence to Data Privacy Laws:
        A comprehensive rights & roles functionality is crucial to adhere to data privacy laws, such as that sensitive personal data can only be accessed by authorized personnel.
      3. Usability of the Loyalty Technology
        You need a state-of-the art rights & roles functionality to enable a great usability of the loyalty platform that is optimized per user group. This means that the different user groups only see those functionalities in the platform’s frontend or user interface that they actually work with.

      How does it work?

      For a comprehensive rights & roles management the customer loyalty technology should offer 2 main capabilities:

      1. Configurable Rights & Roles:

        The loyalty platform should allow you to configure which roles (user groups) you would like to have access to the loyalty software and which rights are given to these groups.

        Examples of roles (which could further be differentiated by seniority level, for example) include:

        • Customer Service Agents
        • Loyalty Marketing Managers
        • Partner Managers
        • Loyalty Program Admin managers
        • POS/Outlet managers
        • Management & C Level

        Examples of right types include:

        • Edit rights
        • Edit rights with additional rules/ limitations (example: manual point credit limitations for junior call center team members, higher points values must be signed off by call center team leads)
        • Read-only rights
        • No access or limited visibility of a functionality
      2. Audit-proof activity/ change log:
        In addition, your customer loyalty technology should give you audit-proof records and added security via logging of the actions carried out within the loyalty software, e.g. who changed a promotion rule and when.

      Question 3:

      Does the Customer Loyalty Technology Consider Data Privacy Laws?

      loyalty program system requirements

      Why does it matter?

      Data privacy laws are becoming stricter, particular among certain US states and in Europe with the GDPR regulations. As loyalty programs of course handle a lot of personal data, it is important that the customer loyalty technology enables adherence to these data privacy laws.
      This not only make your company’s legal team happy, but also helps to build member trust, because they know you are handling and processing their data legally.

      How does it work?

      Make sure your loyalty program technology provider confirms that data privacy laws can be adhered to with the loyalty platform. Some examples include:

      • Member Consent Management: data privacy laws are based on the credo that personal data belongs to the customers and that they need to give active consent before their data may be used by companies. As a result, you need a loyalty technology solution that can manage member consents in various categories (such as opting-in to data collection for marketing purposes and opting-in to receive a newsletter for example) and reliably process member accounts according to these opt-ins.
      • Member Access to Data & Right for Erasure: data privacy laws such as GDPR also give customers the right to request the data which is stored about them and request that all of this data is deleted at any point in time. Again, make sure to choose a customer loyalty technology that gives you access to both these capabilities (sharing personal data with customers and deleting all personal data easily and in an audit-proof manner if requested).
      • Data Security: data privacy laws also require companies to protect personal data by appropriate security levels. Make sure that the customer loyalty technology solution you choose adheres to this as well (also read more here ).
      • Audit Logging: data privacy laws such as GDPR typically ask companies to demonstrate their adherence to these laws via suitable logs and documentation on data storage and processing activities. Also here ensure that the loyalty technology solution enables you to deliver on this requirement.

      How Does Prime Cloud Help You Adhere to Data Privacy Laws?

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        But wait...there’s more!

        In order to make the decision process easier, we’ve compiled further in-depth information about how to choose the suitable customer loyalty technology for stakeholders across your entire business. Click on the icons below to take a deeper look:

        MARKETER’S GUIDE

        The Top Questions Marketers Need to Ask to Identify the Best Loyalty Program Platform.

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        FINANCE & ACCOUNTING GUIDE

        The Top Questions Finance & Accounting Need to Ask to Identify the Best Loyalty Program Platform.

        finance-people

        ALL STAKEHOLDERS

        The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: The 8 Steps You Need to Identify the Perfect Loyalty Program Platform.

        loyalty program software