Customer Data Platforms (CDP) are on the rise. Perhaps you are even one of the 78% of surveyed companies that the 2018 Forbes Report identified as having or in the process of developing a CDP. The desire for it is obvious: to use the myriad of digital customer touch points to extract value and insights that, for example, increase revenue or retention through an enhanced customer experience.
The promise a CDP offers is:
- A single customer 360° view
- Customer life-cycle and journey mapping
- Enhanced customer experience (CX)
- Customer analytics
- Customer segmentation
- Personalisation, targeting and recommendations
- Churn management
- Real-time alerts and actions.
This kind of data intelligence takes your marketing potential and personalised service offerings to the next level. However, with the variety of CDPs available it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want and whether it is compatible with your current systems and potential future ones. Especially, as a recent CMO article on CDP challenges cited data management issues as an inhibiting factor, which included problems with merging data into a single repository, keeping customer profiles up to date and analysing data to find actionable insights. That doesn’t bode well.
But there’s more. According to the State of the CDP Report 2020, undertaken by Tealium, over 50% of organisations surveyed said that their CDP lacked basic capabilities like the ability to ingest data from any channel. Not to mention that a majority of the 85% of respondents who were satisfied with their CDP provider still planned to switch their CDP within the next 12 months.
Back in July 2019, Forrester senior analyst B2C marketing, Xiaofeng Wang, pointed out that CDPs only cover insights of existing customers, while Data Management Platforms (DMP) are actively used to execute against unknown prospects. This and other functional disparities indicated an ongoing battle between CDPs and DMPs.
Meanwhile, The CDP Institute is trying to clarify the confusion around these issues and therefore determine the appropriate niche for CDPs. Though with many new vendors and products still entering the market the goalposts keep changing.
And, of course, the technology itself is continually evolving; but it’s still a lot to think about when there is a simple solution that overrides all of these concerns: a unified data analytics platform (UDAP).
UDAP – what’s that?
A UDAP uses a fully integrated data and analytics architecture to deliver full-stack functionality in one platform. Unified data means pooling all of your information (customer, operational, business intelligence, existing and third party systems) to get a clearer picture of what’s really going on, at all levels, in your organisation. So instead of feeding data into departmental siloes you have a holistic view across all channels in one central system.
When it comes to customer analytics, this cohesive perspective provides the data intelligence and, subsequently, the insights to improve product and service offerings, enhance and individualise user experience, ensure excellent customer service and implement targeted marketing campaigns to strategically increase customer value and reduce churn.
A one-stop shop
The Eckerson Group’s 2020 white paper on “The Rise of Unified Data and Analytic Platforms” cites the following seven benefits of this integrated approach:
- A one-stop shop that serves the entire enterprise, simplifies the data analytics landscape, eliminates redundancy and accelerates self-service and data literacy.
- Supports all users, including casual and power users and developers. Granular permissions determine functionality and data access for different individuals.
- Built-in governance: Simple to configure and manage user permissions, govern access to data and reports, manage reports and dashboards, monitor usage, and certify changes.
- Faster insights: Many customers report that time to insight is the biggest benefit. As an integrated environment it is easy to install, configure and start using compared to a heterogeneous environment with multiple tools and dependencies. A unified environment also reduces the time and cost to train and support business users.
- Rapid ROI: By eliminating overlapping and redundant tools and simplifying usage and administration, environments are run with fewer administrators than before, even as the scale and scope is expanded. Plus, by improving time to insight, it delivers greater value faster.
- Open and extensible: It’s difficult to anticipate all business requirements so these platforms allow for additional functionality, e.g. APIs, extensions and plug-ins to increase functionality even if it isn’t in the core package.
- Complementary: Easy to insert into existing processes and integrate with existing tools.
However, let’s also address the potential challenges that are raised:
- Vendor lock-in. This is the biggest risk, though customers say time-to-market and cost advantages help overcome any hesitations.
We eliminate this risk with our flexible monthly or annual subscription models, so you determine the duration of your commitment.
- Feature lock-in. Similarly, customers are locked into the offerings of the UDAP vendor and functionality might not be the best on offer in all areas. However, this is addressed by offering an open and extensible platform that adapts as customers require new and more advanced services.
Though saying that, Locstat LightWeaver® uses best of breed software to make sure that our functionality doesn’t let you down.
- Standalone silo. Like any new technology, UDAP can easily turn into another data silo deployed by a renegade department. To work cooperatively, most UDAP products are open – they let other BI tools query their semantic layers or extract and move UDAP data to other environments.
Our platform operates in parallel with your architecture so the only silo would come from the human (renegade department) element.
- As a one-stop shop, unlimited scalability is not always top of the list for a UDAP product. However, with the cloud and grid technologies, most UDAP products can now handle almost any data volume and workload.
With cloud options scalability is not an issue.
Let’s round off these challenges with a final quote from the Eckerson Group: “… they make up for any deficiencies by accelerating insight, simplifying data access, and centralizing governance and administration, which reduces overall costs and significantly improves the user experience.”
But if that isn’t convincing enough let’s look at the bottom line. In January 2021, a report by Forrester Consulting found that savings came in a variety of ways including: increasing revenue by accelerating data science outcomes; retiring outdated legacy analytics systems and relinquishing software licences; reducing operational costs and redeploying IT staff to higher value projects; and improving productivity by enhancing collaborative working.
UDAP of CDP – made your decision yet?
In our recommender system blogs we were passionate about the value of a tailored shopping experience. We spoke of how segmenting your database can enhance your marketing strategy; how pre-empting churn increases customer retention; and how connecting with your market promotes sales and brand loyalty. A UDAP brings all of this together and illuminates not only your customer’s value but your enterprise’s potential. Furthermore, it derives insights not only from explicit customer interactions but from implicit and historical data too. It identifies patterns and infers emerging trends and gaps in the market place.
You see, enriching customer experience isn’t just about recommendations and a bespoke service. It goes beyond that to developing innovative products and services that exceed expectations and put you ahead of the game. But if you can’t make sense of the data, all of that is out of reach. Why? Because consumer data is the new market research tool.
Locstat LightWeaver® is a UDAP powered by the unique synergy of graph, AI and event processing for phenomenal data intelligence that is perfectly suited to your needs. We combined our own software with future-ready technologies into a quick-to-implement, affordable, scalable and adaptable enterprise level capability. This potent trinity of event processing, graph powered AI and a strong recommendation engine is like market research on steroids.
As a next generation platform it allows you to visualise real-time changes in your industry, create effective marketing strategies, personalise customer experience and make efficient use of the departments in your organisation. What better way to maximise your customer data?
Say goodbye to your data siloes
and hello to Locstat LightWeaver®!