Rural Lifestyle Retailer Builds Customer Loyalty With Enhanced CIAM Strategy

Client Snapshot


For more than 85 years, this company has grown to become the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S., known for its customer service delivery. It currently operates more than 2,000 retail locations in 49 states.


Client Situation

The client’s large customer loyalty programme, which offers several avenues for account creation, posed database synch challenges, and created confusion when multiple customer accounts were displayed at the point of sale.


Work Performed

The company partnered with Protiviti to assess its Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) programme and architecture for its loyalty programme.



The client is now leveraging a comprehensive CIAM strategy to update its data retention programme, data accessibility and analysis, and ultimately create an improved user experience.


Nothing succeeds like success, but this client found that its hugely popular customer loyalty programme, which had grown significantly over time, was now presenting unexpected challenges to the business and its customers. The company’s customer base is extremely wide demographically and has a considerable percentage of customers who do not use smartphones, laptops, or email. With both in-store and online purchasing available, current avenues of loyalty account creation and downstream database synchronisation were creating challenges in accurately accounting for loyalty members. Confusing duplicate and merge account processes compounded the issue. Point-of-sale systems would display numerous accounts for one customer, making it difficult for team members to select the correct one. Store network connectivity challenges added to the situation as each retail location retained a local copy of CRM data and copies would go out of sync if connectivity was lost. As a result, the customer experience in the store was inconsistent and hindered employees from providing top-notch service. 

Scalable solutions needed 

This company knew that maintaining its large customer loyalty programme would require scalable solutions for data retention and easy accessibility for quick look-up in-store, along with marketing and transactional analysis and more, so Protiviti partnered with the vice president of internal audit to assess the Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) programme and architecture.

Initial discovery sessions were held with representatives from around the company including the point-of-sale team architect and developer. Together, we:

  • Conducted interviews and workshops with key client stakeholders to understand the current state of the CIAM environment, lifecycle management of customer identities, critical customer databases and system integration requirements, future state goal/initiatives, and additional considerations. This included:
    • Loyalty programme registration, both online and through POS
    • Consent management
    • Progressive profiling and shared/household accounts
    • Authentication
    • Data management
    • Account removal and disposal
  • Reviewed existing and future CIAM use cases
  • Developed an understanding of the current technology landscape to validate fit for desired use cases
  • Developed attribute mapping of key customer identity attributes across up to 10 critical systems, including SAP CRM.

The company’s existing strengths, which would prove helpful in resolving identified issues, ranged from well-documented manual processes that could be standardised to provide repeatability for account merging and unmerging, to a point-of-sale system that allowed for progressive profiling by capturing additional customer attributes to a recent process improvement project involving the unmerge process, which had decreased loyalty member fulfillment time from a previous five to 14 days down to just 24 to 48 hours.

Focusing on account and access management and IT, the CIAM strategy included high-level architecture design and gap analysis, risk rankings and level of effort.

Developing a CIAM strategy

With a focus on opportunities in account and access management and IT capabilities, the team next set out to draft a CIAM strategy that included high-level architecture design and gap analysis, risk rankings and level of effort. The analysis prioritised 10 CIAM applications and key use cases and featured:

  • Executive summary
  • High-level architecture design
  • Benchmark against maturity of posture of industry
  • Gap analysis, findings and recommendations, with risk and level of effort ranking

Following a review of the analysis with the company’s senior leadership, the strategy recommendation was finalised. 

Value delivered

Protiviti provided the client with a comprehensive CIAM strategy and roadmap for execution. The client is now using this strategy and its inherent insights to implement changes to its data retention programme and improve accessibility for in-store look-up, better transactional analysis, and ultimately create an improved user experience. The strategy set aside will enhance the loyalty programme, while reducing risk concerns, and fostering trust between the organisation and its customers. Based on recommendations provided in the strategy, the client also invested in a customer data platform to help centralise and standardise some of its data processes.