Three Not So Easy Steps to a 360-Degree Customer View

Getting a 360-degree view (or single view) of your customers has been a quest in data management as long as I can remember.

This has been the (unfulfilled) promise of CRM applications since they emerged 25 years ago. Data quality tools has been very much about deduplication of customer records. Customer Data Integration (CDI) and the first Master Data Management (MDM) platforms were aimed at that conundrum. Now we see the notion of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) getting traction.

There are three basic steps in getting a 360-degree view of those parties that have a customer role within your organization – and these steps are not at all easy ones:

360 Degree Customer View

  • Step 1 is identifying those customer records that typically are scattered around in the multiple systems that make up your system landscape. You can do that (endlessly) by hand, using the very different deduplication functionality that comes with ERP, CRM and other applications, using a best-of-breed data quality tool or the data matching capabilities built into MDM platforms. Doing this with adequate results takes a lot as pondered in the post Data Matching and Real-World Alignment.
  • Step 2 is finding out which data records and data elements that survives as the single source of truth. This is something a data quality tool can help with but best done within an MDM platform. The three main options for that are examined in the post Three Master Data Survivorship Approaches.
  • Step 3 is gathering all data besides the master data and relate those data to the master data entity that identifies and describes the real-world entity with a customer role. Today we see both CRM solution vendors and MDM solution vendors offering the technology to enable that as told in the post CDP: Is that part of CRM or MDM?

CDP: Is that part of CRM or MDM?

The notion of a data centred application type called a Customer Data Platform (CDP) seems to be trending these days. A CDP solution is a centralized registry of all data related to parties regarded as (prospective) customers at an enterprise.

This kind of solution comes from two solution markets:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Master Data Management (MDM)

The CRM track was recently covered in a Venture Beat article telling that Salesforce announces a Customer Data Platform to unify all marketing data. In this article it is also stated that Oracle just announced a similar solution named CX Unity and Adobe announced triggered journeys based on a rich pool of centralized data.

Add to that last year´s announcement from Microsoft, Adobe and SAP on their Open Data Initiative as told in the LinkedIn article Using a Data Lake for Data Sharing.

Some MDM solution providers are also on that track. Reltio Cloud embraces all customer data and Informatica Customer 360 Insights, formerly known as Allsight, is also going there as reported in the post Extended MDM Platforms.

Will be interesting to follow how CDP solutions evolve and if it is CRM or MDM vendors who will do best in this discipline. One guess could be that MDM vendors will provide “the best” solutions but CRM vendors will sell most licenses. We will see.

CDP CRM MDM