What are you missing if you don’t have a customer database?
A customer database is a key data repository used by companies to manage their customer associated data. Coupled with the need to harvest value from customer data, companies now need to govern data well to prevent data loss and the quality (and integrity) of data from degrading over time.
Why you need one
The role of a customer database has changed. A decade ago, they were seen to be the place to hold customer records. that might include name, address, contact notes, sales records, quotations, etc. Nowadays, a customer database is actually a data mart that harvests data from operational systems used to record customers. Good systems avoid re-entry of data and simply leverage data that already exists. Opportunities to improve the management and governance of customer data have massively improved over the past decade thanks to innovations in big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. It’s no longer necessary to manage data in structures like relational databases. In light of the low cost of data storage flat file structures are adequate to manage data.
An effective customer database benefits your business in the following ways:
- Creates a single-view of customer associated data across your enterprise to ensure that you’re always looking at a single version of the truth.
- Protects and governs customer data to prevent data loss and noncompliance; particularly important owing to a hardening of financial services and personal information compliance risk.
- Presents your management team with key actionable insights so you can make decisions to prioritize budgets and efforts, fine-tune processes and improve how your business works to improve customer experience.
- Facilitates the simpler automation of escalations when activities don’t happen that impact on customer relationships.
Areas of enterprise value come from:
- A single view of customer sourced from ERP and third party sources including systems data, sensor networks data, video images, geo-referenced data, etc.
- Faster time-to-value on application developments.
- The ability to formalize and automate data protection and governance policies.
- Real-time distributed access to customer data.
- Accountability and responsibility across the business through visible operational insights.
- Business intelligence accuracy, depth of insights, quality of results.
- Effectiveness of marketing spend by investing in the most effective areas, producing more targeted campaigns…
- Ability to execute change management initiatives by sourcing actionable insights.
- Time spent on reporting, gathering and normalizing data.
- Third-party charges associated with IT infrastructure, middleware, hosting, reporting, and data.
- IT costs around data management, hardware and software infrastructure, systems developments, migrations, and transformations.
- Risk of data security breaches.
- Non-compliance risk on policies and data protection regulations.
- Third-party miss-use of data.
Why a customer database is business-critical
Say nothing of the missed sales growth opportunities lost by NOT understanding your customers through their data interactions, managing customer data has become essential in protecting businesses against non-compliance fines. Relatively small customer data loss events can have a seismic impact on companies if they relate to personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union imposes fines to the tune of up to £4 million or 4% of global company turnover if organizations are seen to be non-compliant.
Where it fits in Customer Data Management
A customer database is the central technology building block of any Customer Data Management (CDM) strategy. CDM is the discipline of managing the value of customer data. Coupled with the application of customer data to make informed decisions, customer data management is employed by companies to improve their customer experience and maximize customer value.
The role of a Customer Database in Customer Data Science
Customer Data Management is a key aspect of modern Customer Data Science; the business discipline of using data to develop an appreciation of customers, their challenges, touch-points, buying preferences, behaviors, and metrics. It is an aspect of Customer Experience; a term used to describe the relationship a customer has with a business. Customer experience refers to the total of all experiences the customer has with the business, based on all interactions and thoughts about the business. Equally important, it is an all-encompassing term. Without a doubt, business leaders see Customer Experience as an important topic these days with so much emphasis placed on data-driven decision making. Additionally, customer experience is an important aspect of creating an above and beyond customer experience.
It includes communications touch-points, communications, emotional experience, behavior, data management, customer data platforms and technology ecosystems, and business model design implications. NDMC Consulting is an expert consultancy business specializing in customer experience strategy, management and customer data platforms.
What to expect in a customer database implementation
One might expect any customer database to hold records of customers that represent a single version of the truth, including their name, location and contact details, account details and so on. You might expect some categorization of customer records by size, wealth, demographics, account status and industry. But your customer database should go further than merely hold rudimentary data that any mobile phone contact record can store today.
These attributes say nothing of the opportunity and value of the relationship. A modern customer database should therefore present a lifetime view of your customer relationship from the first point of contact to the present day. It should include a record of every interaction and transaction. Additionally, your application should be able to uncover key metrics of the customer relationship not limited to the products and services they’ve purchased, revenue and profitability of the account. Advanced insights should include insights into the relative importance of the account to your business, it’s worth today and potential for tomorrow.
To gain accurate profitability statistics, systems should consider the total cost of sale, customer service and account management overheads relating to the relationship. Such insights help managers to know which products and services are popular within particular groups, and this helps to fine-tune an effective go-to-market approach.
Encanvas is an enterprise software company that specializes in customer databases and helping businesses to create above and beyond customer experiences.
From Low Code to Codeless
Better than code-lite and low-code, we created the first no-code (codeless) enterprise application platform to release creative minds from the torture of having to code or script applications.
Use Encanvas in your software development lifecycle to remove the barrier between IT and the business. Coding and scripting is the biggest reason why software development has been traditionally unpredictable, costly and unable to produce best-fit software results. Encanvas uniquely automates coding and scripting. Our live wireframing approach means that business analysts can create the apps you need in workshops, working across the desk with users and stakeholders.
When it comes to creating apps to create a data culture and orchestrate your business model, there’s no simpler way to install and operate your enterprise software platform than AppFabric. Every application you create on AppFabric adds yet more data to your single-version-of-the-truth data insights. That’s because, we’ve designed AppFabric to create awesome enterprise apps that use a common data management substrate, so you can architect and implement an enterprise master data management plan.
Encanvas supplies a private-cloud Customer Database that equips businesses with the means to harvest their customer and commercial data from all sources, cleanse and organize it, and provide tooling to leverage its fullest value in a secure, regulated way. We provide a retrofittable solution that bridges across existing data repositories and cleanses and organizes data to present a useful data source. Then it goes on to make data available 24×7 in a regulated way to authorized internal stakeholders and third parties to ensure adherence to data protection and FCA regulatory standards.
Encanvas Secure and Live (‘Secure&Live’) is a High-Productivity application Platform-as-a-Service. It’s an enterprise applications software platform that equips businesses with the tools they need to design, deploy applications at low cost. It achieves this by removing coding and scripting tasks and the overheads of programming applications. Unlike its rivals, Encanvas Secure&Live is completely codeless (not just Low-Code), so it removes the barriers between IT and the business. Today, you just need to know that it’s the fastest (and safest) way to design, deploy and operate enterprise applications.
Learn more by visiting www.encanvas.com.
Ian Tomlin is a management consultant and strategist specializing in helping organizational leadership teams to grow by telling their story, designing and orchestrating their business models, and making conversation with customers and communities. He serves on the management team of Encanvas and works as a virtual CMO and board adviser for tech companies in Europe, America, and Canada. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn profile or follow him on Twitter.