Data Driven transformation at FD Media Group

BLOG FORMAT (11)Data Driven transformation at FD Media Group

Sjoerd Wolthers, CIO at FD Media Group

FD Media Group is in the middle of a digital and data-driven transformation. Data strategy, cloud, analytics, and organizational structure are part of the transformation. In Mid 2021, FD Media Group became a Crystalloids client. FD Media Group is the media company behind brands such as Het Financieele Dagblad, BNR and Company.Info. FD Media Group informs entrepreneurs, professionals, and directors on important news and insights in the financial and economic field. The mission is to help decision-makers make the best decisions by offering overview, insight, and prospects. In this interview, Sjoerd Wolthers tells us why the organization is in a digital change process and how they develop its data strategy.

Data collection: an area of attention 

Within FD Media Group, data plays an important role. Collecting data is important, but it also creates areas of attention. There are increasing concerns associated with the collection of data within the organization. Privacy is becoming even more important, not all data can be stored. On the other hand, smart data-driven decisions enhance digital products and customers' experience and generate new business. That’s why within FD Media Group there are several reasons to change the way data analytics and activation are handled.

Drivers for change

There are several drivers for change amongst which include:

  1. Reduced visibility of customer interaction, accelerated by privacy legislation and browser limitations
  2. Customer centricity of the readers, we want to offer our subscribers the content that they are looking for and what the models say that is relevant for them
  3. Acquisition of subscribers; we want to target the right audiences at the right moment with the right offer via the channels they prefer
  4. Sales to advertisers; we want to offer our advertisers the right audience segments in the right context and based on actual interests
  5. Democratizing insights; we want to bring relevant insights to the fingertips of our teams to become as informed and as predictive as possible

FD Media Group’s view on data processing

In the short term, we see that there are concerns and limitation principles concerning data within the organization. As an example, we think it’s important to be careful about what types of data and features are going to be used to run our business. We are increasingly limiting the processing of data that comes with complexity and is not the main priority for running our business. This is related to data ethics and data minimization. This means that we are becoming more independent of the user and prefer to use data that is publicly accessible. An example is that we prefer advertising based on the context of the content then based on individual behavior. This is content that is at our core where you can relate tags to and therefore ads. We focus on avoiding cookie-related data, and will only maintain this where it is crucial for delivering value, Sjoerd explains.

The road to a transparent data strategy

We are improving our model in order to be even more predictable for us and for the user. Our strat more and more focuses on combining internal expertise, customer research, and data insights
Data Driven transformation at FD Media Group
The model has to stay transparent, be able to deliver growth and has to generate value. We want to make sure we can create more models that are independent of user information, user consent, and browser configurations.

How does Crystalloids contribute to FD Media Group’s data strategy?

Crystalloids started our cooperation by making sense of the ideas of all stakeholders by gathering, refining, and prioritizing these ideas into a comprehensive backlog. Then they developed the prioritized user stories by initially collecting, transforming, and storing the data in the first sprints. All to be able to make smart and automated decisions. Privacy and security by design and governance, as a whole, is an integral part of the deliverables that distinguish Crystalloids. One way of doing this is by no longer collecting client-side data but using persistent server-side data instead and storing this centrally, thus contributing to the central customer view. The collaboration with Crystalloids reached a good pace in the past year. The knowledge and expertise within Crystalloids and the transparency and control as a result of the SCRUM Agile principles contribute massively to the data strategy of FD Media Group.


Crystalloids helps companies improve their customer experiences and build marketing technology. Founded in 2006 in the Netherlands, Crystalloids builds crystal-clear solutions that turn customer data into information and knowledge into wisdom. As a leading Google Cloud Partner, Crystalloids combines experience in software development, data science, and marketing, making them one of a kind IT company. Using the Agile approach Crystalloids ensures that use cases show immediate value to their clients and frees their time to focus on decision making and less on programming.

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