Driving Technology Directions on Cloud Computing Platform

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Article

Pipedream or Possibility – Gaining a 360 Degree View of the Customer

Why data virtualization improves your probability of success

Have you ever heard the anyone boast that "at our company, our customers are our number one priority?"

While this is easy to say, it is tough to do without complete insight into those customers.

With full insights into everything there is to know about a customer, imagine how you could improve customer satisfaction, reduce customer churn, more easily upsell additional offerings and more.

The business case for unified, 360° views of your customers is compelling.

What is a "360o View of the Customer"?
In Customer Centricity, Master Data and the 360-Degree View, data quality and governance expert David Loshin highlights why a 360o view of customer is important.

"From an abstract standpoint, the concept of the 360-degree view of the customer is quite appealing, especially when the term is used to mean various aspects of "knowing everything about each customer." It suggests a comprehensive view of all information about each and every customer that is available to users both internally and externally."

To provide further detail Loshin goes on to say, "Depending on the context, this can range from a single integrated view of all customer data to a single integrated view of all customer activity, logging all corresponding interactions, all facilitated by automatically capturing all customer touch points through all channels and sharing the customer information across all stakeholders in all departments."

90o Silos Provide a Jumpstart
Enterprises are complex.  And enterprise IT is even more so.  Data is siloed everywhere.  Getting a complete view of anything can be a significant challenge, especially when it comes to customers.

Customer relationship management packages such as Salesforce.com do a good job integrating some of the customer information, for example leads, opportunities, contacts and more.  Back office ERP systems such as SAP integrate invoices, payables and shipments.  And new web and social network monitoring solutions track customers across web properties and social systems such as Facebook and Twitter.

360o View of the Customer Requires Integration
A 360o view of customer requires all of these sources and more.  Data integration provides the critical bridge.

Two aspects are critical.  First, master data provides the valid keys required to align customer data across these multiple silos.  Second, an agile integration technology performs the actual linking. Because of so many silos and the high degree of customer application change, data virtualization is increasingly recognized as the preferred data integration technology solution approach for 360o customer views.

Why Data Virtualization
In How Data Virtualization Improves Business Agility - Part 2, data virtualization is shown to be  significantly more agile and responsive than traditional data consolidation and ETL-based integration approaches because it uses a highly streamlined architecture and development process to build and deploy data integration solutions.

Data virtualization greatly reduces complexity and reduces or eliminates the need for data replication and data movement. As numerous data virtualization case studies demonstrate, this elegance of design and architecture makes it far easier and faster to develop and deploy data integration solutions using a data virtualization platform. The ultimate result is faster realization of business benefits.

360o View of Telco Customer
To maximize revenue per customer and customer service levels, client service reps at a European mobile phone operator needed enterprisewide, 360o views of its customers. Data virtualization provided it, federating multiple sources including:

  • customer master data from their MDM hub
  • service history data from their Siebel CRM system
  • billing data from their financial systems
  • call history and configuration data from the operational support systems.

With data virtualization, faster issue resolution and more productive up-sell programs are reducing churn and increasing revenues.

Justifying Your Investment
It is easy to justify investing in data virtualization technology to provide a 360o view of customer.  You can use the following factors in your business case:

  • Increase Revenues - Retain and upsell existing customers
  • Improve Productivity - Provide customer-facing staff with the complete customer information they require
  • Reduce Costs - Optimize order fulfillment decisions and merchandizing mix
  • Decrease Risk - Increase visibility to critical customer related risks
  • Ensure Compliance - Meet compliance data requirements faster, for less

More Stories By Robert Eve

Robert Eve is the EVP of Marketing at Composite Software, the data virtualization gold standard and co-author of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility. Bob's experience includes executive level roles at leading enterprise software companies such as Mercury Interactive, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Bob holds a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.