Multi-tenancy in the Adobe Experience Cloud

22 Jul 2018 » MSA

It is not too uncommon that you need to have multiple tenants in the Adobe Experience Cloud. Although it was not explicitly designed to support this feature, it is possible to achieve it. I must admit it is not straight forward, but not difficult either. I will start with an introduction to multi-tenancy and, in future posts, I will explain the details for each solution.

Introduction to multi-tenancy

Let’s start with the very basics. What is multi-tenancy? I had the same question when I first heard about it and I was too afraid of asking for its meaning, just in case I looked too dumb. I do not have an academic definition, but an explanation. In general, most of my customers are a single entity and Adobe assigns them one instance of the Adobe Experience Cloud. All users are created in this instance and the permissions are just based on what tool each user is allowed to access.

However, there are some Adobe customers, which represent multiple, semi-independent entities, and only have one single instance of the Adobe Experience Cloud. What is more important: each entity needs to be completely isolated from each other; sometimes, due to legal reasons. In general, these multiple entities are competing in the market and want to keep things private. In summary, multi-tenancy is the capability of having multiple entities (or tenants) in a single instance of the Adobe Experience Cloud.

Let’s see a few examples I have come across in my career:

  • Financial institutions. As you are very well aware, banks are no longer just lenders: they offer a wide range of services: deposits, credit cards, insurances, loans… In some cases, they have even become retailers! A bank may have a single contract with Adobe, but needs to have some of its divisions completely isolated, usually due to regulatory restrictions.
  • CPGs (Consumer Packaged Goods). These companies encompass dozens or hundreds of brands. Many of these brands, in fact, compete with each other. Therefore, one brand will not want other brands to see what they are doing.
  • Multi-brand fashion retailers. I once heard the expression “if you do not have a competitor, create it”. I am sure you know a few fast-fashion retailers that own different brands. Again, these brands should behave as competitors.

Adobe tools and multi-tenancy

As I said in the introduction, I will not explain today how to configure your Admin Console for multi-tenancy. For now, I will introduce how to do it in each tool in general terms.

  • Adobe Analytics. This tool has had multi-tenancy for as long as I can remember. You just need to create one or many report suites for each of the tenants and assign them to product profiles (formerly, Analytics user groups). A user in a product profile will only be able to access the report suites of this profile.
  • Adobe Target. Thanks to a new feature added not long ago, you can assign activities to workspaces. You need to create one workspace for each tenant. Each workspace is then assigned to a product profile. As above, users of a particular product profile can only access the activities in the assigned workspaces.
  • Adobe Audience Manager. This is a bit more complicated than the previous cases. We will rely on a feature of AAM where you need to assign each trait and segment to a data source. This is obvious for onboarded traits, but not so much for real-time traits. Do not get confused here: the concept of “data source” in the case of real-time traits is just for classification purposes; it has nothing to do with a source of information. You need to create multiple data sources; at least, one for each tenant, maybe two (real-time and onboarded). Then, still in AAM, you create user groups and, in the group configuration, select which data sources this group has access to. Finally, you create product profiles based on these groups.
  • DTM. This is probably the easiest case. You just assign individual users to each of the web properties.
  • Adobe Campaign. Both Campaign Classic and Campaign Standard support multi-tenancy. For Campaign Classic, you need a specific folder structure and some custom scripts. For Campaign Standard, I have to dig in a bit more to get all the details, but I know it has certain capabilities for multi-tenancy.
  • Adobe Experience Manager. AEM supports Access Control Lists (ACLs), to control who has access to view, create, and delete content based on content paths, which requires the creation and management of user groups.

If you are familiar with the Adobe Admin Console and a tool, with the previous details, you may even have enough to configure the Adobe Experience Cloud. Otherwise, stay tuned!

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