From phone calls and emails to purchases and website visits, most businesses are flooded with more customer data than they know what to do with. So how can you make the most of all this information and become a forward-thinking, data-driven enterprise Customer data integration is the answer. So what is customer data integration, and what are the benefits and best practices of integrating your customer data?
The term “customer data integration” can be broken down into two constituent parts:
Combining these two concepts, you have a definition of customer data integration: consolidating all of your customer data within a single system, such as a data warehouse. There are many possible customer data sources, including (but not limited to) emails, phone calls, social media, contact managers, and website visits.
Why would you want to integrate your customer data in a single location rather than leaving it in place?
Many business and IT experts have warned about the dangers of “data silos”: repositories of data only visible to a single team or department. By creating barriers to collaboration, data silos limit organizational efficiency and productivity. They also harm data quality by making it more likely that the information will be out-of-date or inaccurate.
By performing customer data integration, you can break down your company’s data silos and make this information more easily accessible to the people who need it — from a single location. At a minimum, this includes sales, marketing, and customer support teams, who can benefit from the insights obtained by analyzing your customer data.
Consolidating your customer data in a single location also makes it easier to analyze this information and mine it for valuable insights. Without an automated, efficient way to perform customer data integration, many of the trends and opportunities that you can discover would remain hidden.
In particular, collecting this data in a centralized repository enables you to construct a “360 degree” view of your customers and prospects. This “customer 360” perspective gives businesses a complete, panoramic view of all the data you have on individual customers so that you can better understand and cater to your audience. Your customer data repository will act as a “single source of the truth” that stores the most accurate, up-to-date information and can also export and propagate this information to other locations and systems.
Customer data integration can help transform your business by making smarter data-driven decisions, but it needs to be approached in the right way. So what are some best practices for integrating your customer data?
First, you should consider your goals.Like any other digital transformation project, you should have concrete objectives in place for your initiative. This includes selecting metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) by which you can judge the success of the initiative.
You also need to find the right target location for your customer data. The destination of your customer data integration pipelines should be a data repository that has been purpose-built to store customer data. This may be a data warehouse, customer relationship management (CRM) software, or a customer data platform (CDP).
Integrating your customer data under one roof is a noble goal—but it’s easier said than done, with many potential roadblocks and challenges that await you. That’s why many businesses are joining forces with knowledgeable, experienced data integration partners who can provide assistance along the way.
Are you looking to get started with customer data integration? Aezion can help. We’re passionate about bringing our technical expertise to help our clients solve their IT and software challenges.
Whatever your customer data integration needs, we’re here to listen. Get in touch with our team today for a chat about your business goals and requirements.
This is article 3 of a 4-part series on Customer Data Management. You can view the related articles at the links below — or simply click to download our comprehensive Operational Guide to Customer Data Management and Integration White Paper:
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