TMS Governance – The often overlooked step during an integration

Tag Management Systems (TMS) have been available for quite some time now, but there is a key step that I often see organizations missing when integrating one into their ecosystem.  Before we get to that step, let’s discuss the problem that these organizations are trying solve with a Tag Management System.

For organizations without a TMS, the only way to deploy the data collection agents, or tags, associated with analytics and marketing partners is to go through the development team.  The code associated with the tag needs to be added directly to the page code of the site.  We’re all familiar with this process and what’s involved.  A project needs to be scoped, estimated, scheduled, and then executed upon.  This process can take a significant amount of time and will also come with a cost.

TMS allow for you to take the routine, and maybe not so routine, deployment of data collection agents from the development queue and place them in the hands of the analytics and marketing teams.  Technical analytics practitioners and digital marketers will then be able to configure and deploy tags to the site.  Since the speed and flexibility provides substantial benefit to the organization, everyone is usually ready to get started very quickly.  The excitement to adopt a new tool is great, and needs to be properly harnessed.

The issue that I’ve seen come up with some organizations is that they are so excited to start using their brand new, shiny TMS is that they skip a crucial step.  They forget to apply the appropriate governance to the tool.  Governance of a tool such as a TMS is so very critical.

Bureaucracy Unnecessary Process

One of the main reasons of going with a TMS is to decrease the time to deployment with tags.  So why add bureaucracy on top of it?   That’s actually the key first step; realizing that you need to add key steps and gates without adding a bloated process to the mix.

The components of a successful TMS Governance Plan include:

Process Document: This outlines the key milestones in the cycle from tag request to validation.

RACI Document: RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. This identifies the key stakeholders and and milestone owners.  It is highly recommended that steps and milestones be owned by individuals, not teams.  The goal here is to clearly communicate who is responsible for what.

Impact Assessment: This provides guidance on a projected level of effort on the types of tags to be deployed through the tag management system.

Since the development process was such an issue for these organizations in the past, those looking to integrate the TMS usually want to avoid as much of the development process as possible.  The problem with that approach is that it ignores crucial steps that are a part of the development process that are designed to prevent issues, such as bad code, from reaching production environment.

Website DownWithout those gates, these organizations risk creating a wormhole to the production environment that puts the stability of the site at risk.  Taking the time to build a proper TMS Governance process will not add unnecessary bureaucracy, but instead ensure that the new tool is being used to is optimal effectiveness.

Jim Driscoll
Jim is a consultant on the Solutions Engineering team at 33 Sticks who brings 15 years of solution design and technology implementation experience, with 9 years focused on web analytics and digital marketing technologies.  He is a fitness enthusiast and avid sports fan.  He also thinks he can play golf.