Master Data Management – The Journey to Customer Centricity

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You know the story. In the digital age, your retail business is itching to become one that puts the customer at the heart of everything it does.

You know the story. In the digital age, your retail business is itching to become one that puts the customer at the heart of everything it does. The business wants to empower customers to interact with it across channels, it wants to know how and when customers gets in contact and it wants to know what value an individual customer brings to the business. Further, to increase stickiness, the business wants to make their customers feel special, valued and unique by optimising their online experience.

Whilst this is the ideal, the reality is that organic growth of disparate legacy systems and a lack of clear data governance can lead to your customer’s details being stored in numerous systems with numerous versions for numerous purposes. This disparity can plague any CRM system, and with every passing day will take your company further and further from ever being customer-centric. After all, how can you monitor, advertise to and measure the value of your customer when you’re not quite sure who they are? How can you offer the type of outstanding, personalised customer service you aspire to when your customer has four different addresses, three different mobile numbers and two different spellings of Smith?

If you can’t scrap it all and start again, the first step towards the Promised Land could be Master Data Management. Creating a Customer MDM hub allows you to ingest all the customer data you collect, cleanse and enrich it, then decide whether to create a new record or update an existing one to arrive one Best Version of the Customer (BVOC).

Further, whenever the customer reaches out to you with new or updated information, the BVOC record is enhanced based on how trustworthy the interaction was and how reliable the source system is. This leaves you with the most recent and accurate version of your customer that you could ever hope for.

Once you’ve created the BVOC, customer data can be called in real-time and shared with all your systems that sell to and service your customer. By knowing your customers and prospective customers more intimately, the power to attract, sell to and retain them is instantly unlocked on a new level. The opportunities for focussed targeting, loyalty campaigns and detailed customer value analytics can all lead to a booming ROI and are only possible when you have a reliable view of who your customer is.

If you think you’re ready to take the first steps in transforming your business to one that puts the customer at centre of everything it does, you need to consider mastering your customer data. In embarking on the challenge, consider the following factors to give you the best chance of success.

The Customer Journey is King

Before defining your customer in MDM, you need to define it across the organisation. Defining the lifecycle of your customer and that of prospective customers will enable you to design an end-to-end solution that puts them at the heart. The questions you need to ask during this process include:

  • When do members of the public become prospective customers? Do they remain prospective customers forever? Can they be both a prospect and a customer? How long does a customer remain relevant?
  • Who are your customers? Are they organisations or individuals? What data do they have that you need to capture and maintain?
  • How will your prospects contact you? How can you maximise your chance of turning them into customers?

Since each industry is different and each business different within that, it’s crucial to develop a view of the customer lifecycle that considers your businesses strengths, recognises the customer’s needs and behaviours and gives you a strategic roadmap for harnessing data to grow market share.

Nail the Use Cases

Once you’ve defined who your customers are it’s time to decide how you give them the best experience imaginable. Whether you’re sending an email with the daily specials or sending fresh flowers to their home to thank them for their purchase, you need to consider how to use your customer’s data to realise marketing goals. This includes which customer attributes you need, when you will need them and how often you’ll utilise them in your business processes.

Keeping an eye on the future is key here. If your company is seeking to market on social media or conduct detailed channel and churn analysis but doesn’t quite have the capability, develop it as an aspirational use case and design your MDM solution with it in mind.

Get Governing

The foundation for mastering your customer data is having a solid data governance framework. As the collectors, owners and primary users of data, it is the business rather than their IT counterparts who need to own a comprehensive information governance agenda. Some of the key tenets of your data governance foundation will include:

  • Business glossary and data dictionary
  • Business rules for business data
  • Information lifecycle rules
  • Legal and regulatory data compliance practices

Putting in place a strong information governance framework means that projects, teams and external providers can work within the same set of rules, on the same sets of data, to achieve all the outcomes in your transformation program.

Bed Down Your Architecture

Once you’re comfortable that your business has nailed down the customer journeys, the use cases for utilising customer data and a good handle on information governance, it’s finally time to talk technical. The use of a skilled architect on your MDM project will convert all your business requirements into an end-to-end solution and integration style that can make use of your existing customer systems, meet your cost and technical requirements and give you the consolidated, self-improving version of the customer that your business needs.

By deciding on patterns for upstream and downstream integration, software selection and a strategy for infrastructure, the experienced architect can develop a roadmap for realising MDM objectives, then extending them to the boundless opportunities beyond. They will also align the required team consisting of data quality experts, a business analyst and MDM technical experts who can develop, grow and maintain the functionality of the hub.

So What’s Next?

If you think customer master data management is something that could help you realise your marketing goals, Capgemini is able to help you on your journey. Capgemini’s Global MDM Centre of Excellence contains expertise in Master Data Management and Information Governance across technologies and sectors. The dedicated MDM experts can stand up a solution, either in the cloud or on premise, sometimes in as little as a few months!

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