Modern Data Management: The Next Step to True Digital Transformation

Several marketing & digital strategy leaders from Fortune 500 and startup organizations came together at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit 2016 recently held in Los Angeles. So, what is Digital Strategy? It is not a separate strategy, but instead a new lens on the overall business strategy that incorporates customer intelligence, sales & service optimization, and digital marketing efforts (e.g. mobile, e-commerce, and social). Key drivers of digital transformation among B2C organizations are profitability, customer satisfaction, and increased speed-to-market. Whether you are a retailer, restaurant, travel company, media & entertainment company, lifestyle brand, or a consumer bank, you want to create a seamless, personalized, and consistent customer experience across all channels (web, email, phone, stores) and departments (marketing, sales, support).

However, personalization is a double-edged sword. All digital transformation and personalization efforts would fail if data underneath is of poor quality, siloed, and delayed. According to an estimate, poor customer experiences result in an estimated $83 billion loss by U.S. enterprises each year because of defections and abandoned purchases. On the contrary, if done correctly, it can considerably boost your business (Amazon’s conversion to sales of on-site recommendations could be as high as 60%). Some of the top of mind issues discussed during various sessions included:

Garbage in – garbage out. 

Today, hyper-personalization is possible because of digital transformation enabled by cloud, mobile, big data, internet of things, and many more cutting-edge technologies. Similarly, companies have invented great processes (Order-to-cash, supply chain management, onboarding, provisioning) to manage customers, prospects, suppliers, and partners. What’s still not treated as a top priority is the quality of data driving these processes.

“Omnichannel initiative of any consumer brand is as good as its underlying data. A reliable data foundation alone, created through a Modern Data Management Platform, can lead to a truly personalized engagement,” said Ramon Chen, Chief Marketing Officer of Reltio, during the panel discussion “Lessons from Lifestyle Brands: Omni-Channel Marketing and Strategy.”

The thought was echoed by other participants who discussed how reliable data is the key to effective customer experiences.

Data silos within the organization.

Being able to understand and monitor end-to-end consumer journey is vital. Yet, it is not uncommon for each team or function within an organization to define and measure customer experiences independently, in isolation. The result is disconnected global operations, fragmented multichannel visibility and incomplete views of customers that slow down all digital transformation efforts. Data-driven applications built on modern data management platform gives you not only the 360-degree view of your customers, products, channel partners, or suppliers but also a contextualized view of relationships among these entities. More importantly, it helps you create a single-source of truth across sales, marketing, and support to provide the right customer with the right offering at the right time, thus enhancing the customer experience.

Data silos across organizations.

Co-innovation, co-creation, and collaborative curation of consumer information, at a big data scale, can open the door to new possibilities. For example, personalized recommendations for food, movies, hotels, and shopping can be packaged together for a particular consumer if the companies in these different industries are willing to share data with each other. Furthermore, such data exchange helps these non-competing business entities to monetize their precious consumer data assets. As digital touchpoints proliferation continues, a modern data management solution will help companies to trade reliable data currency in a secure fashion.

Business outcomes don’t feed the underlying master data.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. It is critical to get smarter with each interaction. A Modern Data Management Platform coupled with Machine Learning enables contextual information and helps you answer high-impact business questions such as - Will my customer buy this product or not? Is this review written by a customer or a robot? Which category of products is most interesting to this customer? And so on. On top of that, a modern data management solution captures all actual business outcomes and enriches the master data in a closed loop, thus continuously fueling the recommendation engine for making smarter predictions.

It’s time for data to be managed in such a way  to make true digital transformation happen. Once Modern Data Management is in place, a consumer brand can reap substantial benefits on a continual basis. Starting with proper data quality and alignment of key data assets across systems, departments, and channels, it helps build a reliable data foundation for all your digital transformation initiatives. Businesses who will timely address this challenge will be ahead of the competition.