Trifacta Legends recognizes a customer every month who is doing groundbreaking work with data using Trifacta.
We’re pleased to announce the Trifacta Legend for March 2022: Bud Johnson, Sr. Data Operations Manager at Healthgrades.
Bud Johnson is a Sr. Data Operations Manager at Healthgrades, where he and his team help match people with the proper care at the proper time to maximize their healthcare outcomes. Bud is a Trifacta fan, his background is in the data space, and he has been in this space for a very long time, working in interactive advertising specifically for over 25 years.
We talked to Bud about his experience and insight into interactive advertising. Bud shared some of the challenges he faced, and how he overcame them with automated processes powered by Trifacta.
Trifacta: Welcome Bud! Do you want to add anything to the introduction?
Bud: So, as you can tell, I’ve been around awhile. I took my first computer class utilizing an old IBM 360 mainframe with an acoustic phone coupler in 1975. So I’ve been playing around with this stuff for quite awhile, but went into sales and marketing, and came back to the dark side about 25 years ago directly in interactive advertising.
Trifacta: That’s awesome. You’ve probably seen a lot of variations and development in this space.
Bud: Oh, everything has changed.
Trifacta: That’s awesome! Bud, can you tell us about Healthgrades, and how we have probably interacted with Healthgrades without even knowing it?
Bud: So, we have the largest health marketplace in the country – possibly in the world. And our mission is to help match people with the proper care at the proper time to maximize their healthcare outcomes. So we can help you find the correct doctor – we have ratings from consumers, and we also bring in any public records that we can get. And the area that I work in the most is with internal customers who do interactive pharma advertising online.
Trifacta: Bud, can you take 30 seconds to explain what interactive advertising is?
Bud: So just think of interactive advertising as advertising on the web. If you’re looking at, let’s say, a dermatologist, you might get an acne ad for somebody who has a good pharmaceutical for that. So an interactive ad can help you find the right doctor, and possibly find the right treatments and medications. If you don’t know interactive advertising, this can be really complex to set up, maintain, and track, especially for our business, being in the healthcare industry, where we have much more government control over what we can and can’t say and do.
Trifacta: Excellent. So can you tell us about some of the biggest problems you face with interactive advertising, and how you use Trifacta to make your ads more effective and get more timely insights?
Bud: So one of the biggest problems that we have with interactive advertising from the data side is that most of our data is coming in as attachments to emails. Think CSVs and spreadsheets. We have no control over this, and they may come directly from our clients, or from their agencies, or it may be automated from a client’s Google Ad Manager or Google Campaign Manager via APIs or canned reporting. And that data can change with absolutely no notice, but we still attempt to make changes and get data published within the same work day it’s received. So we have to be very nimble.
Trifacta: So the accuracy and timeliness are absolutely important. Can you walk us through that a bit more?
Bud: Well, our data is used to ensure that we’re on pace for our KPIs. Using our data, we can tell if we are on schedule or behind, and this gives our trafficking teams the ability to go in and tweak campaigns as we go. Now, most of our customers have monthly goals. It would be very hard if we were only able to go in and make changes to their ads 3 times in that month. So frequency and recency of the data are very important – time is of the essence.
Trifacta: It sounds like the speed of insight is very important to you. What problems were you facing with your previous process that handled this incoming data?
Bud: So we were using a SaaS offering that was an all-in-one tool. And that tool helped us get out of doing a lot of things by hand and get to a single source of truth. But what we found was that if we brought in something new, as I discussed in the beginning, and if an agency suddenly changed the format of the data coming into us, even something as small as a name on a field, we would have to open a ticket and wait 1-3 days for resolution. And we don’t like our data being unavailable. So we made the choice to change from an all-in-one vendor to something that gave us a lot more speed and flexibility, but more importantly, more control over how the data was ingested, and how we joined the data. We needed to be able to bring in data from a lot of internal and external systems and be able to expand.
Trifacta: And how did Trifacta help to simplify this process for you and your team?
Bud: What we found is that Trifacta really helped us reduce the need for a lot of the things in how we originally envisioned writing this ourselves. We wrote a script to send information from our emails into S3, and Trifacta can immediately come and grab that information from S3 and standardize it. And that’s helpful, because we have certain types of data that come in from agencies we find the same problems with. And if we have a reoccurring class of data, we can add that into our template to easily check for it on any file we have coming in, just in case.
Trifacta: So you’ve been able to use Trifacta to help templatize your process and speed up the onboarding of new files. That’s awesome. That’s great value from a technology perspective. What is some of the value you’ve gained from using Trifacta from a business value perspective?
Bud: One of the big things that we do is leverage Trifacta to bring in data multiple times every day, and we’ve used this to set up business rule enforcement. We can capture data very quickly, and when things aren’t going out properly, we can get an automatic alert sent out to the team. Right now, we have 25 different alerts that we send out everyday. And that saves us I don’t even know how much when it comes to avoiding situations where we might have to give out potential refunds if ads aren’t showing where they were paid for. It also helps us avoid lost opportunities, because we can get data in very quickly. To give you an idea, using Trifacta, I was able to create end-to-end flows to bring in 27 new data sources in one week. That would have been impossible with our old SaaS provider. Trifacta is really the hub of our entire system.
Trifacta: That’s amazing. 27 sources in just one week. Thank you again Bud for walking us through your data journey!