One of the big promises of a data-driven enterprise is that actionable decisions can be made unencumbered by bias, hidden agendas or any of the human factors that could intentionally or unintentionally influence the essential ‘truth’ of a matter. After all, data is fact. It’s a marvelous concept. Except when it isn’t. In the first article of our blog series on key challenges facing CEOs and senior executives looking to transform their businesses with insights, we looked at the issue of unstructured data. In this post, we'll delve into another challenge: Data silos.
True Lies in the Enterprise
As a company grows through acquisition or merger, even the most straightforward data environment can sprawl into a complex structure that’s out of alignment with essential business requirements. Customer data, for example, could be spread across a number of CRMs and other silos making it difficult, time-consuming and downright impractical for teams to access and make good use of it on a daily basis. All that valuable data that should be giving you a complete view of your customer, is actually reduced to a series of half-truths, scattered across a vast landscape of data silos. Even without M&A or rapid growth factors at play, silos exist because there are a multitude of systems, processes, applications (some cloud-based, some not) all generating data to fulfil their distinct purpose (and in doing so, creating their own little piece of siloed truth). When we speak of seeking truth from data, it is not truth as a static, unchanging entity. What we aim for really is the universal truth at any given point in time. It won’t be the same as yesterday, it won’t be the same a few hours from now, but an organisation that relies on data to drive their decisions needs supreme confidence that their data accounts for all the relevant information, wherever it resides, at that precise moment. Anything less, and you can be sure your data is lying to you.
Context is King
In the age of the customer, context is king. Ask anyone who’s working on an onmi-channel strategy. Ask anyone who toils day after day to create a personalised service or experience for his or her customers. But above all, ask yourself what you’d expect as a customer. Customers won’t give a damn about your data silos issue – they’ll simply recoil in horror and incredulity at why you chose to call them about a new service when they’ve just spent half an hour on the phone complaining to your customer service department about a current service. And that’s the tell-tale sign of a company with siloed data – the lack of a complete customer view. Now your customer feels beyond irritated, beyond unacknowledged. That lack of customer view could just tip them to churn. Here’s the harsh truth: You have all their data – they expect you to use it wisely and in their service – and if you don’t, then don’t expect their loyalty. The cost of customer acquisition means it’s in your interest to get this right, because once you’ve lost them… Across departments and lines of business, customer context must prevail. The company that walks a parallel line to their customer’s journey, that knows the bumps in the road as well as they do? Those are the ones that deserve their trust and loyalty. It’s not a lone journey; it’s one they’ve chosen to take with your company, rather than your competitor. And for that privilege, yes, they should be the centre of your universe, each and every one of them.
Walk the Line
If your data silos are giving your teams half-truths and fragmented snapshots of your customers, it’s time to get your house in order. Squirro is already working with some of the world’s leading financial institutions to solve this exact problem. Our cognitive search solution pinpoints relevant information across silos, both internal and external data sources, to analyse and extract the most pertinent insights your team needs. A complete customer view is the holy grail of a data-driven enterprise. It’s the whole truth, when you need it, automatically delivered to the CRM of your choice. No more guesswork. It’s time to walk in your customer’s shoes and view the panoramic experience from their perspective, rather than peering into a series of silos.
If you’d like to know more about overcoming your data silos issue, transforming your business with insights, and why CEO’s should take the lead on digital intelligence, register for our upcoming webinar with Forrester Principal Analyst, James McCormick. Full details and registration HERE