The “Digital Customer” – this term describes the development that started with the triumphal march of the internet, social media and mobile computing, and has meant that companies have had to adapt their traditional sales and business models, and undergo a Digital Transformation. Today’s digital customers no longer only make direct contact to a company to give information and eventually to purchase its products and/or services. Instead, they inform and interact – completely mobile – using a wide range of digital platforms, such as internet search engines, online portals, social media, and evaluation portals; and by doing so, they leave traces behind.
For companies, this means that in addition to traditional forms of customer generation and loyalty, they must also identify and analyse the traces customers left behind, and use the results for future campaigns. Only then can they present their customers with a positive experience on their preferred communication channel or information platform, and convince them to use the company’s offers in future. But this service will only be successful when companies collect the knowledge and information (i.e. data) about their customers, and always keep it updated.
Master data describes the components of a company: its customers, suppliers, dealers, partners, products, services, employees and investments, i.e. everything a company owns, possesses and represents. Therefore, it must be kept consistent, complete, correct, and always up to date. Only then can the [actually obvious] target be reached of providing the right customer with the right product, in the right quantity, at the right price, and delivered to the right location with the right invoice. This might seem obvious, but is often far from easy, because in many companies, poor data quality is prevalent in many, if not all, of their business applications. Therefore, professional master data management is necessary, because it continually and centrally defines the most important data of an organisation. It creates an unambiguous version of each and every dataset from every different process as the single version of the truth, and makes it readily available for use in further processes.
The target of collecting as much information as possible about customers (i.e. business partners) and their relationship to a company is not new, but with the digitalization of the customer and the topic of big data, it has now developed a completely new significance. On the one side, and as mentioned above, there are an ever-increasing number and variety of platforms where digital customers leave traces behind. Therefore, companies wanting to follow these traces must first deal with the challenge of collecting the information and making it available for analysis. Also, within companies themselves there are an increasing number of platforms and systems where customer data is generated, and then stored in so-called “data silos”. These include CRM systems in sales, company web shops, ERP systems, ticketing systems in customer services, etc. It is essential that this stored data is also included in the 360° customer view.
The main task of most companies today is therefore to eradicate these data silos and aggregate their contents to form a complete picture, a so-called Golden Record. For this purpose, a data management solution with its focus on customer master data is required, i.e. Customer Data Management.
Only when these isolated data silos are eradicated can the first step towards a 360-degree customer view be taken, because only then can the isolated data they contain be collected, aggregated and enriched with the traces left behind by customers on external platforms, such as blogs, forums, websites, etc. These traces can have differing formats (demographic, sociographic, firmographic, any many more). They are subject to constant change, and must be updated and enriched throughout the entire data lifecycle. Once this is possible, a company can start to gradually develop a 360-degree view of its customers. Big data finally transforms into smart data.
The quantity, speed, diversity, and creation of data, together with the wide variety of platforms and complexity of channels where customers appear, all make clear that manual data collection and maintenance has now become obsolete - quite simply because it is no longer affordable. Technical solutions for master data management of customer master data are now the order of the day.
To successfully deal with the classic project scenarios of data management, such as data quality initiatives, data warehousing, data migration, as well as master data management, Uniserv offers a unique combination of powerful products, experienced consultants and proven methodologies. Smart Customer MDM is the intelligent incorporation of all function areas in a single solution. By matching the customer data in your systems (data analysis), and identifying duplicates and creating golden records, we create the all-encompassing, unambiguous and up-to-date view of your customers that you need.
However, when it comes to analysing and integrating customer transaction and interaction data (i.e. dynamic data generated with each touch point contact), the golden record approach alone is insufficient, because, of course, it only includes master data. Transaction and interaction data includes, e.g.:
This information, plus other data generated from each contact at touch points, can provide concrete information about the customer’s current behaviour, as well as prognoses about future behaviour. But this is only possible when the data and information can be unambiguously allocated to the correct golden record.
Ground Truth is a solution and process methodology developed precisely for this purpose. It enriches the golden record with dynamic (interaction and transaction) data, based on a match of the transformation source ID with the golden record ID. The result is the customer’s so-called Golden Profile. Only now is a complete, precise and current 360-degree view of all of the customer’s data possible. The knowledge thus gained provides the basis for new customer services for further optimising the customer’s experience along their journey. Of course, it also provides valid prognoses for further business development, and these can be used as the basis for further optimizing customer services and other company offers.