TMS: Too Much Smoke

This is not a Tag Management 101, or a set of golden rules, or even a new revolution…again kind of post.  This is a cut through the smoke and mirrors to get down to the fundamentals of what the various Tag Management Systems in the market today can provide to your business.


We have worked with our clients to implement a variety of tag management systems in both simple and extremely complex environments, and as part of every engagement we spend the time to make sure that the introduction of a TMS into their digital ecosystem is part of a larger governance plan.   But before we start doing any work on the planning and implementation we take the time to make sure the client understands exactly what it is they have purchased.


If you just read the marketing propaganda you will get the impression that the TMS you signed signed the contract is the greatest thing since…

Better than sliced bread

…. the in car DVD players….way better than sliced bread.   Before we dive into what a Tag Management System can do for you, lets talk about what they can NOT do for you.


TMS is not Superman, it can not leap buildings in a single bound, there is no heat vision, or any other super powers either.   It also will not:

  • Eliminate the need for technical resources on your team to properly implement and maintain your tagging infrastructure.
  • Magically tag your site and align everything with your business goals, hopes, and dreams.
  • Free you from the critical need to do exhaustive QA and validation of new and existing tags.
So what does it do?
What would you do here?

You have just purchased a very very nice…..wait for it…javascript deployment tool.  Sexy right?  Can’t you see people flocking to the streets clamoring for their very own javascript deployment tool?  No?  Neither can I.   But now that you have your own javascript deployment Tag Management System we can talk about the three main reasons that people need or want a TMS.

Speed:  You just want to go fast.  You want to reduce the length of time to not only deploy new code and tags to your site, but to gain the speed and agility to make code fixes when bad code makes it way to the site.

Reliability:  You want to bring consistency and reliability in the code,  You want the system you choose to have the highest level of availability and uptime to make sure that you are not introducing a system into the mix that is not going to stand up to the volumes of data that you will be passing through it.

Control:  Sometimes… IT is not a pleasant group to work with, and sometimes you feel like you are dealing with  “IT” and not the Technology team.  And once they figure out that they are losing control or some of their control you and your team you might have a bit of a fight on your hands.  Tag Management Systems also makes it easier, not easy, but easier to replace your analytics vendor if you choose to at some point in the future.


So what?  What does this mean to all of you out there that has purchased a Tag Management System or are planning to?  What is the real benefit of going through the effort to implement an enterprise class Tag Management System?  Here is the typical deployment cycle in a large enterprise without a TMS:


And here is the typical deployment cycle after a full TMS implmentation:

Before you say, I thought I was getting the ability to instantly push new tags to my site, these diagrams map out the entire lifecycle of the deployment of tags.  From the initial request to business approval to code,QA, and deployment.   The part of these two diagrams I want to make sure you see is that the QA section does not and can not go away.  It is true you have the ability to push code changes to your site as frequently as you would like with amazing speed.  That also means you now have the ability to push really crappy code to your side with amazing speed.   Think about that for a minute and then think about who on your teams you trust to get the ability to with a click of the mouse the ability to bring your website to its knees with sub-standard code if proper QA and testing has not been done.   Trust me, you do not want to be this guy.

This guy skipped the QA part, pushed crappy code and was fired.   Don’t be this guy.


If you have purchased a TMS, or you are thinking about a TMS, you need to take a step back and evaluate your specific needs and business problems that you are hoping to solve.  At Keystone Solutions we have worked with a large variety of clients in all the major verticals and the various Tag Management Systems and would be able to sit down and review your plans to help you map out a solution that will not only give you the speed, reliability, and control you desire, but the peace of mind that you have thought through all of the pitfalls and common mistakes out there.