Dismantling Silos to Build Better Customer Experiences

Jan 29, 2018

Article ImageLarge organizations are in the best and worst positions to deliver the great customer experiences which are a foundational element of business success today. These companies have access to the enormous amount of market and contact information required to create and deliver individualized experiences to customers, yet disconnected departments, processes, and technologies prevent them from tapping into this vast wealth of data. The good news is that large organizations recognize the potential of this data within their organization, and are doing something about it: according to Gartner, 41% of companies expect their organization to increase customer experience technology investment in customer analytics.

This is not the first time that companies have attempted to dismantle the departmental and data silos across their organizations in an effort to streamline processes and information. ERP and CRM efforts come to mind where companies created cross-department committees and deployed massive, all-in-one technology solutions that were intended to be the one source of truth for all data and systems. A recent study by Panorama Solutions of ERP projects indicates that 74% of companies had experienced cost overruns, more than one-third of companies received 50% or less of benefits from their deployment, and only 5% of companies were very satisfied with their ERP vendors. There is much to learn from this experience with ERP deployments as marketers and IT departments now focus on building out their customer experience tech stack.

Here are five recommendations to help break down the data silos across departments to build better customer experiences:

  1. Do use intelligent data-mining—Intelligent data-mining enables you to bridge the silos that exist across your organization without having to create a new silo. Today’s software as a service (SaaS) solutions make it easier than ever to tap into data across an organization’s disparate set of technology solutions in a rapid and unobtrusive manner. Examples of these data silos that will facilitate the creation of personalized experiences include CRM and marketing automation systems. This internal data can then be coupled with external and behavioral data in order to personalize content for your users. Examples of external data include social media and data supply companies, and examples of behavioral data include page views and other data points resulting from your prospects’ digital footprint on your owned, earned and paid media.
  2. Do not rely on generalized, superficial personas to deliver personalized digital experiences—Don’t get me wrong. Personas, when created correctly, do serve a valuable purpose in developing a marketing strategy and helping an organization to best target their product and service development efforts. In fact, OnBrand Magazine completed a study indicating that 80% of marketers either currently do or intend to include personas in their brand strategy. However, the traditional persona is painfully inadequate to meet the needs of today’s digital marketing activities, let alone the needs of buyers who demand a personalized experience. A Salesforce.com 2017 State of Marketing study indicates that 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize to them. Using intelligent data-mining to tap into the power of internal, external, and behavioral data enables marketers to identify and create micro-segments of customers with a simple point and click of the mouse.
  3. Do use artificial intelligence which is rapidly becoming an inherent part of digital experience platforms—Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer simply science fiction. New software as a service applications put the power of AI into the hands of marketers to create and deliver powerful, individualized digital experiences for their customers. Marketers are able to create 3, 5, or even 10 pieces of content or promotions aimed at one micro-segment, and these AI-driven personalization solutions learn from and optimize delivery of this content in real-time, across different time periods. The result if a better digital experience for companies’ target audiences, resulting in greater engagement and revenue.
  4. Do not dismantle all of your applications in favor of a single source, all-in-one, full-stack digital experience platform—Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, and ensuring you have access to these new technologies will increase the potential to optimize your business potential and agility to react to customers’ needs. For example, marking technology vendors have increased at a rate of 95%+ over the past six years. Many of these new technology providers may not be easily accessible through an all-in-one solution. Large single stack solutions rarely integrate with their own set of disparate technologies, let alone other vendors’ applications; and there are a plethora of technology options available today to avoid having to settle for vendor lock-in to achieve your business goals. If you do choose to take this path, ensure that you team with an experienced professional services firm and avoid buying features that you don’t need.
  5. Do look for an easily deployable digital experience platform that has the core components to support a next generation customer experience—Your platform should also be capable of simple interoperability with the application(s) you want to keep and/or those that will become available in the future. Examples of these core components include content management, real-time personalization, and the capability to support an omnichannel marketing strategy. One of the most important attributes of this type of platform is its ability to interoperate in an existing digital experience ecosystem. This interoperability is facilitated by the advent of new technologies such as microservices which offer marketers the ability to quickly adopt and capitalize on new applications that place the customer at the center of every interaction for competitive omnichannel experiences.

These recommendations will facilitate the dismantling of departmental and data silos, enabling the delivery of personalized customer experiences in real-time.

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