An Inside Look at Epsilon: How PowerEdge Powers a Marketing Giant

On a cold January morning, our Media Agents video crew and I arrived at a modern Dallas office building housing Epsilon’s headquarters. You may be asking, “who is Epsilon?” They’re the quiet marketing powerhouse behind many Fortune 500 loyalty programs. According to Epsilon’s Chief Information Officer Robert Walden, Epsilon is happy to stay in the background servicing their Fortune 500 customers.

As I sat down in the lobby, a promotional video was running that really brought to light the work Epsilon is doing for industry giants such as Dunkin’ Donuts, AMEX, FEDEX, and Walgreens.  Have you ever considered who is behind the personalized email marketing communications and great offers you receive from loyalty programs, or how you can seamlessly redeem your loyalty points? That’s Epsilon.

During this visit, we took a look into the intricacies of the complex world of data analytics and building multi-channel relationships with today’s customers.

Our first video interview was with Robert. Robert articulated that Epsilon’s business is all about data, with a goal to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time through the right medium. Epsilon’s success depends on crafting and customizing messages to have the most value to their client’s customers. With a position as a Leader in the report: The Forrester WaveTM: Customer Loyalty Solutions, Q3 2017 and, as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q3 2016, Epsilon is definitely at the top of their game. They single-handedly often deliver and handle a billion emails every day and manage more than 600 million memberships.

To handle this volume of data, Epsilon built a multi-channel messaging platform called Agility HarmonyTM based on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers. This purpose-built platform provides the flexibility, scalability, and performance to meet the requirements of their customers and internal stakeholders. When it comes to one of my favorite new technologies, machine learning, Epsilon is using these methods to better understand their customers at a faster rate.

Our second interview was with Jun Chen, the SVP of Operations for Epsilon. Jun is responsible for infrastructure technologies and operations, whether based in the cloud or on-site. She explained how, in the fast paced world of data analytics, the greatest challenge is keeping up with rapidly evolving technology, as well as ensuring her people have the necessary skill sets. One of the key differentiators for Epsilon is speed to delivery, whether they are delivering a solution or new feature to their customers.  She explained that by working with Dell EMC, Harmony’s platform capacity can be expanded in a matter of a few short weeks vs. a previous timeline that took months.

Next, we spoke to Prashanth Athota, SVP of Platform Engineering. He talked about Epsilon’s goal of making lifetime connections with their customers. The Harmony multi-channel messaging platform isn’t about sending bulk email, but building a story and intelligently creating connections based on individual preferences, interest, transactional history, off line activity, and cross channel activity to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time and on the right device. The Harmony platform using advanced data analytics, allows Epsilon to meet their client’s challenges and aggressive requirements.

Prashanth discussed the details of how Harmony big data clusters run on the Dell EMC R740XD. It was captivating to learn about the different big data technology stacks running on Harmony, including Hadoop, Cassandra, hedge based clusters, and memcached big data clusters. Epsilon chose to partner with Dell EMC because our technology allows them to support multiple types of workloads and horizontally scale on- demand. The flexible and scalable architecture of the Dell EMC PowerEdge servers allows Epsilon to support different types of workloads based on rapidly changing requirements, whether they need more CPU power, memory or storage data clusters.

Whew, what a fascinating journey. And these were only our morning interviews!  Follow us at @DellEMCservers for the upcoming Epsilon video, and to learn more about this global marketing solutions team and the Dell EMC solutions that power its success.