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Marketing software company gives customers greater flexibility using serverless functions

Stylelabs integrated Microsoft Azure Functions into Marketing Content Hub to give customers a more customized experience when they use the software.

By managing the business logic outside of Marketing Content Hub, we’ve significantly reduced maintenance costs and downtime for our customers, as code doesn’t have to be compiled and redeployed.”
— Fréderic Fosselle: Vice President of Technology
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, May 16, 2018 / -- Stylelabs, a leading Belgium/US-based marketing software company, integrated Microsoft Azure Functions into its innovative marketing platform, Marketing Content Hub, to give customers a more customized experience when they use the software. With Functions, customers can set up their own customizations and integrations that require business logic, providing more flexibility and autonomy. Stylelabs has also minimized downtime that customers previously incurred when customizing Marketing Content Hub.

Some of the biggest brands in the world depend on Stylelabs digital marketing software to collate, organize, and publish their marketing content across a range of channels, including websites, e-commerce, and social media. Startups and enterprises alike use the company’s Marketing Content Hub platform for digital asset management, brand portals, marketing resource management, digital rights management, and product information management—all in a single platform.

“Our typical customer is a global, marketing-focused enterprise that needs to manage large quantities of marketing data, including hundreds of thousands of images and design, audio, and video files,” says Ben Paindavin, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Stylelabs. “Marketing Content Hub is a marketing repository that takes content from multiple sources and makes it accessible in multiple publishing venues.”

Stylelabs built and runs Marketing Content Hub in Microsoft Azure to gain scalability, global content distribution, and high availability. The company uses a combination of Azure information as a service and platform as a service offerings, including Azure Virtual Machines for high-performance data and media processing, the Web Apps feature of Azure App Service to serve marketing content to the end users across different regions, and Azure Blob storage to provide highly scalable and redundant file storage.

As the Marketing Content Hub ecosystem grew, Stylelabs wanted to make it easier for customers to customize the platform and build integrations. Each customization or integration required an additional effort on the part of Stylelabs, one of its resale partners, or the customer by going through an iterative process of writing code, compiling this code into a package, and installing the package in the customer environment. Writing these integrations took time, and they also incurred downtime when customers updated the code.

This problem led Stylelabs to use serverless triggers, versus custom code, to set up new integrations by adding business logic. Stylelabs used Azure Functions to implement this idea.

Azure Functions is a serverless solution for easily running small pieces of business logic, or functions, in the cloud. Developers can write just the code they need for the problem at hand without worrying about the whole application or the infrastructure to run it.

Using Functions, Stylelabs enables users to set up new integrations in Marketing Content Hub much faster. The company can also enhance the product more easily and eliminate customer downtime when deploying improvements. Now, enterprise customers can use Functions to configure their own business rules without relying on Stylelabs for assistance.

“Since Marketing Content Hub started supporting integration with Azure Functions, our partners and customers have gained an incredible level of empowerment that allows for injecting custom business rules,” says Paindavin. “Previously, developers had to keep the application and infrastructure in mind when writing code, but now they can use their time more productively.”

Adds Fréderic Fosselle, Vice President of Technology at Stylelabs, “By managing the business logic outside of Marketing Content Hub, we’ve significantly reduced maintenance costs and downtime for our customers, as code doesn’t have to be compiled and redeployed.”

With Functions now integrated with Marketing Content Hub, Stylelabs can build an even more flexible marketing application for customers and partners. Users can seamlessly create and upload code, and define specific conditions that will trigger the code from Marketing Content Hub. Relying on the scalability of Functions, the execution can easily scale from a few executions to 100,000 executions per day. On top of that, with Functions, customers pay as they go, so they don’t need to pay for worst-case compute resources.

“The easy integration of new data sources or systems and improved scalability is a major competitive differentiator for us,” says Fosselle.

Marketing Content Hub also uses Microsoft Cognitive Services for services like Vision API, to let customers automatically scan thousands of photos for facial expressions or emotions and identify images that contain, for example, happy or sad people—and then automatically create textual metadata for all those photos. Additionally, a recent integration with Video Indexer API enables Stylelabs to create transcripts automatically from thousands of videos, thus enriching the search experience for its customers.

“With our software running in Azure, there’s no end to the technologies we can use to innovate our product,” Paindavin says.

Ben Paindavin
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