Sure your Tag Management System is cool…but I want more.

Dear Tag Management Vendors,

In the past few months there have been quite a few posts from others in our digital measurement industry on tag management and the various vendors out there.   Even more recently a few large players ( Google / Adobe)  have entered the market and decided to give away their solution for free!  That’s right….free.    Eric Peterson wrote a post yesterday on the evolving tag management marketplace and he brings up many good points in his post.  The marketplace IS evolving and it needs to continue to do so to really begin to bring to the consumers out there something that is far more than just a javascript deployment tool.

Tags & Implementation have become four letter words in the digital measurement industry.   Companies, pundits, and practitioners alike wretch a little every time they have to deploy new code or modify code on their digital assets.  Why?  Because it is a royal pain in the ass for most companies and sometimes it can take weeks if not months to navigate through all the obstacles that exist in large enterprises to get their code deployed.    Believe it or not, these I.T. obstacles exist because of process #fail – at some point something was skipped and something broke. And because of that, processes were created and put in place to try and prevent those failures from happening again, “digital fail safe’s” of sorts.

I have in the past been a critic of where the state of the TMS ecosystem is today, and I do not want to turn this into another one of those negative posts.  Instead I want to use this to ask for more.    More features, more flexibility, more control over my data.  More.

I want more control over user accounts….

I want a system that will give me ultimate flexibility in creating and maintaining user accounts.  I want to be able to create custom group access with both very broad and very granular levels of access.   I want to setup groups of accounts with expiration dates on their access so I can give agencies or consultants temporary access and not have to remember to go back and remove that access once they are no longer working on the projects.   I want deleted users to actually be deleted and not linger in the user list for eternity.  I want to make the process of controlling access to be pain free so that I don’t get frustrated with the system and end up giving every user admin access because it’s the easy thing to do.  I want an audit (see also blame) trail for everything a user does and I want the ability to roll back any changes if need be.

I want more control on how I manage the code/tags/sites in the system…. 

I might have three sites with over a thousand tags for each site and I need your system to be flexible enough to handle that and make it super easy for me to navigate and search through those tags.  I want to decide for myself if I want to see all the tags at once or by site or by any other piece of meta information I so choose.   I want to be able to see what the last set of tags that were deployed were, not just a list of everything on the site.

I want more control on how code is deployed and promoted to my digital assets….

I want to have multiple development servers and production servers and I want to be able to easily and safely promote tags through the different environments.   I want to be able to edit a single tag that is currently in production & development and test my changes in a safe development environment only without having to make a copy of the tag or risk breaking things in production.  I want to be able to promote a single tag or set of tags from development to production without fearing that I might promote everything that is in development to production at the same time.   I want to treat the code contained in the TMS like a true code repository with being able to have more control with traditional code development features like commits, branching, merging of code or better yet fully integrate with Git or SVN or some true version control system.   I want the windows / modals that show me the code to not suck and force me to copy and edit the code in another system that then I must re-paste back into the TMS tool.

I want more control over templates, samples, pre-provided code….

It is super awesome that you have provided pre-configured code blocks within the tool, but I am not a trusting person.  If my job or reputation is on the line for code that gets deployed to the site, then I damn sure want easy access to review and edit that code if need be.   At 4:00 am on black friday when all hell breaks loose, chances are they are not calling the TMS support number, but the person who deployed the code last.   If you ask me to cook dinner, I get to buy the groceries.

I want more control on hosting options for the code…

It is super awesome that your data center has amazing SLA’s or that you have a quadruple fantasmic cluster, but from earlier in the post you already know that I am not a trusting person.  What happens if your VC money runs out, or you get bought, or you get hit by a bus.  I want to know that I have an option to host all of the code (UI & deployment code) myself with minimal pain.

I want to stop focusing on tags and focus on the data…

To me the value of a TMS has always been the promise of creating an abstraction layer between the digital asset and the tracking code, thereby enabling you to have an easier path to changing any analytics vendor or pixel provider with minimal effort.   I want to have an easy to manage data layer.  I want the developers within IT to not know or care what tracking code I am using or the syntax or anything about it.  I want to the developer to populate a data layer so that if there is a product on the page then they provide all the meta information I need and then the TMS solution should be able to consume this data and send it off to one or a thousand different places by only having to fetch the data point once.  As a consumer if I have a solid data layer then I can replace the TMS vendor as well with less pain.

I want a 66 Mustang Fastback…

I figured as long as I was asking for things…what could it hurt.

So…I’m a needy person, but you should be too.  You are placing a lot of trust and sometimes your job in the hands of a TMS solution.   To be fair, there are vendors out there that are able to do some of the things above, but I want one solution that meets all my needs.   Is that too much to ask?