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Considerations and Best Practices for Global Deployment Strategies

15 min read

Considerations and Best Practices for Deployment Strategies

Have you asked yourself the question whether you want to use one SAP Marketing Cloud instance to serve all countries or decide for multiple instances and data centers? If you plan to roll out to multiple countries or have a complex organizational structure, this is certainly something you should think about.

This article provides you with a decision framework to evaluate a potential global SAP Marketing Cloud target architecture.

Table of Contents

Introduction

In the article Build Your Technical Architecture for SAP Marketing Cloud you have learned about how to create your own SAP Marketing Cloud design architecture. The solution architecture describes how business scenarios are translated into a technical solution design. If your company is a larger enterprise with multiple organizations or wants to deploy SAP Marketing Cloud in many countries across the globe, you might also face the question how your global deployment strategy can look like. While for many companies it might be sufficient to have one central instance of SAP Marketing Cloud, being used by all organizations and countries, there might be more complex situations where multiple SAP Marketing Cloud instances are required. In the following you will learn about the available options and how you can come up with a strategy that fits to your situation.

Approaches for Global Deployment Strategies

Before going into the details of defining a global deployment strategy, let's first clarify the basics and what is meant with such a 'Global Deployment Strategy' at all. When developing and rolling out a software solution to multiple countries or business divisions, a deployment strategy basically answers the question whether all countries/organizations are served from the same instance or if there are multiple instances each serving one region. Instead of the term 'instances', you might also hear about 'tenants' or 'data center' - in this context they typically have the same meaning.

The following illustration shows you the difference between a central instance approach vs. having multiple instances in use:

Image one: central instance vs. multiple instances based on a geographical separation

On the left side you see a central instance approach. This is the standard supported and most common approach used with SAP Marketing Cloud. While the SAP Marketing Cloud instance might be hosted e.g. in Frankfurt, Germany, still all countries around the globe work on the same marketing system. In contrast, on the right side you see an approach where the globe is divided into three regions (Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific) and each region is served by a dedicated SAP Marketing Cloud instance. That means, three disjointed SAP Marketing Cloud systems are running in separate data centers, each in locations close to the regions they are serving.

Please note that the foreseen SAP standard is to have one pair of SAP Marketing Cloud systems per customer (Quality and Productive system). While it is possible to order additional systems, they come with additional cost. Customers can order further tenants via separate contracts. However, these additional tenants are isolated and decoupled from the other two tenants, i.e., no transports into or from these tenants are possible. Customers would need to keep them in sync manually.

Factors Influencing a Tenant Strategy

As there is no ultimate solution or recommendation for a tenant strategy, you need to consider all factors impacting such a strategy and work out the best setup for your situation. The impacting factors can be divided into three requirement areas:

Image two: requirement areas influencing a tenant strategy discussion

Within the business category, you need to check how your marketing organization and processes look like and whether there are any potential implications on a tenant strategy. In the technology area, there might be reasons why from a technical point of view it might make sense to have multiple instances from SAP Marketing Cloud. In addition, there might also be legal requirements in countries that you want to roll out to, that force you to think about a multi-tenant strategy. In the following you will find an overview of the impacting factors per category.

Disclaimer

Please be advised that nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Especially for the legal related topics, we strongly recommend that you involve your legal deputies to check and approve the concept you want to implement. If you want to use SAP Marketing Cloud in countries with Local Data Storage laws, you have to run a detailed check with your legal deputies in context of your solution landscape.

Requirement Area Topic Guiding Questions Recommendations
Business Global Marketing Campaigns
  • How is your marketing organization structured?
  • Are you running marketing campaigns on a global level (across all countries, brands or divisions)?
  • Or is each region or brand itself responsible for their marketing activities?
  • If you want to run operational marketing activities across all regions or organizations, that requires to have all data in one single system. This cannot be achieved with data being distributed across multiple systems.
  • If you are not running global campaigns but still want to do reporting on a global base, you could use SAP Analytics Cloud to aggregate KPIs from multiple instances. SAP Analytics Cloud supports connections with multiple SAP Marketing Cloud systems. However, please note that all reports and stories need to be created or rebuilt in a custom effort. The standard delivered stories and dashboards for SAP Marketing Cloud are developed for a scenario where one SAP Marketing Cloud is connected with one SAP Analytics Cloud. That means, you will not be able to use them directly when having multiple SAP Marketing Cloud instances connected. However, based on our experience for such global reporting scenarios you have different KPI requirements anyway (less tactical, more strategic).
Data Separation
  • Is your SAP Marketing Cloud instance acting on a holding or ultimate level and brands or legal entities need to access SAP Marketing Cloud?
  • Do you have any internal regulations that define the need to physically separate data or restrict accessing data from other business units?
  • In most of the cases, a data separation can be achieved by implementing a Marketing Area concept and no physical separation with multiple tenants is required. This will allow you to have multiple organizations working in the same system and having their customers logically separated from each other.
  • For details on how to create a Marketing Area concept, please refer to the corresponding CX Works article: Set Up Marketing Areas for SAP Marketing Cloud
  • Only in case you are reaching the limitations of Marketing Areas or in case there is a strict policy to physically separate data, you have to think about multiple SAP Marketing Cloud instances.
Organization Setup
  • How complex is your marketing organization?
  • Are you able to build your marketing organization in SAP Marketing Cloud by leveraging Marketing Areas?
  • In most of the cases, the Marketing Area concept is flexible enough to allow customers to build sophisticated organizational structures. Only in case of very complex multi dimensional structures, you might reach the limitations of Marketing Areas and a separate system might be required.
Development Processes and Timelines
  • Do you have a central team who is managing the system and orchestrating the activities from the different countries/organizations?
  • Is it possible to harmonize development and project timelines of the different regions or business units?
  • While we often see that from an organizational point of view it is feasible to have all organizations in one system, this certainly needs some central resources to orchestrate and manage development and configuration activities within SAP Marketing Cloud.
  • A single system requires to follow one aligned lifecycle process (e.g., transportation from Quality to Production). Otherwise there will be a risk of having competing/conflicting developments influencing each other and leading to malfunctions. If the complexity to manage developments across multiple business units is too high, this would speak for multiple dedicated instances.
Technology Near-Realtime Marketing scenarios
  • Do you plan to run any marketing scenarios that require a near-realtime processing?
  • Would a latency that naturally comes when accessing a central system from another region be a showstopper for your marketing scenarios?
  • It is recommended to analyze in detail the impact of potential latencies.
  • Especially for the realtime personalization of your commerce store based on SAP Marketing Cloud data, it is required to retrieve the information from marketing very fast so that there are no noticeable delays for the user. If your commerce system needs to do webservice calls to a SAP Marketing Cloud system in another region of the world, you might have to factor in a small delay for potential network latencies.
  • Based on our experience, for standard product recommendation scenarios, even with a latency of less than a second (roundtrip) the response time for the user is still acceptable.
System Capacity and Performance
  • What data volumes do you plan to load for Interaction Contact and Interaction objects?
  • Are you planning any intense data load operations at the same time when business users want to run campaigns?
  • Would you consider your data footprint as above the average?
  • Define your data retention strategy as a basis for estimating your data volumes. Please find a detailed article on that topic here: Implementing Your Data Retention Policy for SAP Marketing Cloud
  • Calculate the number of Interaction Contacts and Interactions you plan to load into SAP Marketing Cloud and in case of extraordinary high volumes align them with your SAP contact person. While as a public cloud solution SAP Marketing Cloud is fully managed by SAP, it is still recommended to share your expected volumes with SAP so that you always have a properly sized system.
  • Try to schedule performance intense operations such as API imports/exports during times when the system is not busy with processing segmentation queries or campaigns. Even though SAP takes care of the system scaling, with extremely performance intense scenarios it might be necessary to consider having multiple SAP Marketing Cloud instances.
Integrated Systems
  • How many SAP C4C or CRM systems do you plan to connect with SAP Marketing Cloud?
  • Do you want to use outbound scenarios such as lead creation for multiple CRM systems?
  • The standard integration with SAP Sales Cloud or SAP CRM for Lead Management is based on a scenario where one SAP Marketing Cloud system is connected with one SAP Cloud for Customer and/or one SAP CRM system. If you want to integrate with multiple Sales Cloud or CRM systems for Lead Management, you might have to work on a custom integration or even consider a dedicated SAP Marketing Cloud instance per CRM system.
  • It is recommended to take a close look at your current architecture and how SAP Marketing Cloud could fit in. If you for example have multiple CRM solutions for one or more countries in place it might make sense to apply the same 'tenant strategy' for  SAP Marketing Cloud.
Legal Data Localization Requirements
  • Do you plan to roll out your marketing solution to countries with data localization laws such as e.g. China?
  • According to the Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the data generated by internet applications which serve the Chinese market should remain in China. It might be required that your SAP Marketing Cloud platform is hosted in a data center based in China.
  • As for European customers you most probably don't want to store the data in a Chinese data center, that means you would need at least two SAP Marketing Cloud instances (China + Rest of World).
Sequence of Local Data Storage
  • Do you plan to roll out your marketing solution to countries with legal regulations on where customer data needs to be stored first (as e.g. Russia)?
  • We have seen customers implementing custom extensions to make sure customer data from Russian customers are stored in databases in Russia first. The concept of such an extension can look like this:
    • Source systems are sending customer and interaction data to an iFlow on Cloud Platform Integration (CPI) middleware - the payload is not directly sent to Marketing Cloud
    • On CPI side, the data is first sent to a database based in Russia to fulfill the local legal requirements. After successfully writing the record, a success message is sent back to CPI.
    • In a second step and after successfully writing into the local database, CPI can send the record to SAP Marketing Cloud as well.
  • Alternatively, you might also check whether a dedicated SAP Marketing Cloud instance hosted in the corresponding country is available. This is typically the easiest approach to follow legal regulations. However, that certainly leads to a significant higher effort as you need to fully configure an additional system.


Comparison and Evaluation

Now you have learned what you have to assess before you can create your own deployment strategy. In the following, we will provide you with a comparison of a central vs. multi-tenant approach including the advantages and disadvantages.

Deployment Approach Advantages Disadvantages
One central instance
  • Everything (data, configuration, extensibility) is in one place
  • No efforts required to synchronize, execute global marketing activities or get global analytical views

  • Easier maintenance and distribution of global content templates which can then be adapted by the regions
  • Depending on the countries you are operating in, potential issues with legal/country-specific requirements towards data storage and access

  • Often marketing departments are regionally organized and would not benefit from this approach (e.g., since campaigns are executed regionally and not globally)
  • Potential scalability challenges
  • Potential latency challenges accessing the data center from remote regions
Multiple instances
  • Legal/country-specific requirements towards data storage and access are easier to meet
  • Better management and focus on regional requirements and configurations
  • Smaller tenants with better local scalability and latency
  • Typically faster, smaller and easier to handle implementation projects
  • Data distributed across regions. Additional effort required to synchronize data across regions, e.g. for consistent analytical view.
  • No option to execute global marketing activities from one system.

Conclusion

In this article you got to know possible deployment strategies for using SAP Marketing Cloud in a global or multi-organization set up. You have learned about the impacting factors of a deployment strategy decision such as legal, business or technology requirements. For larger corporate enterprises, it is highly recommended to thoroughly analyze and define your own tenant strategy before you start with the implementation of SAP Marketing Cloud. The decision for a deployment approach depends on how your marketing departments are organized and if there are legal/country-specific requirements towards data storage and access and further regional requirements (e.g., country-specific configurations).

In case you need further support, please refer to our dedicated 'Technical Design Guidance' service. You will find more details in the fact sheet that is linked in the services section of this article.

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