It is a truism that customer data is the elementary component of every customer relationship marketing. But while this realization is anything but new, it too often falls behind when it comes to investing in enterprise software. The result is singular IT solutions in which the valuable data ends up in a separate data silo - without being available across the board.
Data loss along the CRM chain
Customer Relationship Management aims at aligning business strategies and structures with customer orientation. This leads to the customer feeling that he is in good hands at every point and the loyalty to a provider is increased. The key to this is the consistent use of customer data. What specifications does the customer have? Who are the contacts in the departments? What special features have to be taken into account? Accordingly, the different departments of a company collect the relevant knowledge and data about a customer and store it in their software applications. All too often, however, this information remains in the silo of the respective application and is not available to the software used in the next department. With the ever-increasing number of ever more sophisticated specialized software solutions for all aspects of customer contact, large and valuable collections of data are sometimes created, but too often the full potential of this data is not realized. Thus, a new customer profile is often created in each software, which in part contains the same data as the next program, but in part could also usefully supplement the data in other applications. In the age of digital marketing, this creates gaps in CRM, which can have a negative effect on the hoped-for customer loyalty.
New requirements for IT acquisitions
According to current findings, this trend will continue. According to the forecasts of market observers, the number of providers will multiply in the coming years and the landscape of offerings will diversify even further. Further specialisation may improve customer loyalty at the individual contact points, but it is certainly detrimental to the continuous availability of customer data and information. With the broader range of available solutions in marketing technology, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that individual software solutions will harmonize with all the others in the company. This results in new requirements for the acquisition of new technologies in the company. When purchasing new programs, the IT department should be consulted, if possible, so that compatibility with existing applications can be checked. This should be preceded by a stocktaking and analysis of the existing programs. In this way, data silos as well as incomplete data sets can be identified, and there may be solutions for merging customer profiles in the various systems. Close cooperation with IT is likely to become more and more important in view of the ever more diverse software market, in order to enable optimal customer relationship marketing.
In the meantime, service platforms such as Mintea.io (www.mintea.io) have also been developed which enable data to be reconciled across data silo boundaries. Thus, even with a heterogeneous infrastructure, the customer journey can be optimally coordinated.