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The Flawed Vision of CDI – How to get it right the first time

Early pioneers of Customer Data Integration (CDI) had a primary goal – to bring together and resolve inconsistent, and oftentimes incomplete, customer data which was siloed in disparate applications across the enterprise. These golden customer records, as they were known, were to benefit a myriad of customer-facing operations in marketing, merchandising, account management and more. To achieve this goal, CDI technology was selected solely to optimize customer data. Other enterprise data types such as products, locations, and accounts were considered out of scope and not necessary for the initial CDI project.

While incremental benefits were gained with this approach, many companies caught up in the CDI “gold rush” realized in hindsight that their projects missed the big picture. For example, a major financial services firm, providing a range of banking, investment, and trust services to businesses, professionals, and affluent individuals deployed a CDI system to provide the answer to “who is my customer?”
While they were now able to determine who they were interacting with, an individual or an organization, the question “how do my customer interactions across all of the banking services affect my business?” remained unanswered. This lack of insight led to unrealized revenue potential as a result of unexplored opportunities to cross-sell new banking products to their clients.

It was a flawed CDI vision that did not take into account that significant business benefits could be realized by tying customer data to other enterprise data types such as products, accounts, and locations, for a true 360-degree view. In the end, the bank had to acquire different technologies as a further investment to continue to move forward.

Organizations deriving the greatest value from their CDI investments are the ones that anticipated that mastering customer data would only be a precursor to multi-domain MDM, which would form the basis for addressing major business requirements well into the future. If you are interested in more information, I have written a complete white paper on this topic. Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

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