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Leveling up skills to gain velocity

Staying ahead with Pluralsight by building skills for what’s most important

The Challenge

Delivering to fast-moving technology companies

Acxiom is a complex business. Its work encompasses everything from selling data to clients, to enhancing data, to implementing full blown marketing stacks and ecosystems.

To be successful, Michael Taylor, Acxiom Chief of Staff, Products & Engineering, says “teams are always planning and always innovating and developing. It doesn’t stop.” Because of this, Acxiom needed a skills strategy that would allow them to move as quickly as the companies they serve.

For example, as more and more of its clients wanted to do business in the cloud, Acxiom knew it had to transform in order to give customers the highest-quality service. With multiple cloud options, this wasn’t a simple challenge to solve. “We knew we needed a tool. We needed a set of tools. We needed a platform,” says Mike.

Who we are

Acxiom enables people-based marketing everywhere through a simple, open approach to connecting systems and data that drives seamless customer experiences and higher ROI.

Acxiom by the numbers
Serving customers for over 45 years

Serving customers for over 45 years

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Headquartered in Conway, Arkansas

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13 global offices

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300+ technologists

Staying one step ahead of the customer

“Pluralsight has opened up opportunities to bring on new clients who were thirsty for Acxiom, thirsty for what we do, but because we weren't in a particular cloud or because we didn't have a particular speed to bring data to use, or to activating data, we couldn't have gotten those clients. Now we can."

John Riewerts, Acxiom Senior Director of Engineering

What we're learning:

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The Solution

Innovating through dedicated skill-development time

Acxiom implemented a program called Level-up, where it gives associates allocated time throughout the quarter to build skills—whether they want to knock out a certification, or just improve their Pluralsight Skill IQ in a particular area. Dedicated time to build skills on Pluralsight has been a game-changer.

During Level-up, team members participate in hackathons. In fact, 70% of the projects from the last three Level-up hackathons have been put into production use—which is a huge metric for Acxiom and represents much of its innovation.

“We're in a particular point in the industry where new technologies are sprouting like crazy. And so, identifying the ones that not only stick and are relevant, but ultimately solve the problems for our clients are what's key,” says John Riewerts, Acxiom Senior Director of Engineering.

Acxiom also found that they can speed up by slowing down. Leadership makes a point to take time as a group to realign, recalibrate and focus on the skills that matter most to their business and to clients. Doing this is how they’ve seen gains in velocity, opening up opportunities to bring on new clients who need the skills Acxiom can now provide.

The key benefits of Pluralsight for Acxiom



Making decisions about people and projects based on innovative analytics

New business opportunities

New business opportunities

Better technology skills creating opportunities to serve new clients

Turning innovation into outcomes

Turning innovation into outcomes

70% of projects from the last three Level-up hackathons have been put into direct production use

Increased velocity

Increased velocity

Taking time to slow down and build the right skills allows Acxiom to move faster in the right direction

It’s all in the data

“I love the analytics Pluralsight offers. We found that we can use that data to help us make decisions on how well someone is progressing within their career field. That might help us make decisions on promotions. It might help us make decisions on re-rolling somebody into a different passion area for them. The data's there if you use it."

Michael Taylor, Acxiom Chief of Staff

Next Steps

Building a winning technology strategy for cloud and beyond

Cloud strategy and bringing Unified Data Layer to clients is a priority for Acxiom. Since there is no single cloud solution for the industry, Acxiom recognizes they need expertise in multiple cloud providers in order to give the client the perfect solution.

No matter which cloud vendor a client uses, whether it’s AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or a combo of them, Acxiom’s teams can work with them all.

Acxiom uses Pluralsight to build the right skills and find technologies that can work across solutions; for example, considering MongoDB instead of DocumentDB or Qubole instead of EMR.

But it isn’t just cloud skills Pluralsight has an impact on. It’s every aspect of the business, including retaining talent.

“The impact of Pluralsight to our organization is pretty simple,” says Blake Reed, Director of Engineering. “It really boils down to training associates and retaining them. As we’ve worked on products, we've had to adopt new tech stacks. Pluralsight helped us grow those skills, and build new technologies that meet the market demand and where clients want to go with cloud, scalability and big data.”

Growing with Pluralsight

“So, what drives engineers to become passionate about things? Most often it is understanding the technology landscape, understanding what's out there that can be used as opposed to being complacent in a single technology. So as long as we're growing, we're going to have Pluralsight with us.”

John Riewerts, Acxiom Senior Director of Engineering

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