Tag Archives: total customer relationship
How can analytics transform the world of accounting?
As I have shared elsewhere within this series, businesses are increasingly using analytics to improve their internal and external facing business processes and to strengthen their “right to win” within the markets that they operate. To do this, many firms start with their enabling business capabilities. Clearly, “analytics can help transform just about any part of a business or organization. Many organizations start where they make money—in customer relationships” (Analytics at Work, Harvard Business Review Press, page 9).
The world of accounting is no different. However, in Grant Thornton’s case, it has determined that better customer data can actually help it improve its business capabilities system related to both back office and front office processes. For purposes of this discussion, “a capability is the ability to reliably and consistently deliver a distinctive outcome relevant to the business” (The Essential Advantage, Harvard Business Review Press, Page 14).
Relating Client profitability to quality of work performed
In terms of improving its back office processes, Grant Thornton wants to get a better understanding of client profitability as well as the quality of work that is actually being performed for each of its clients. These two measures are of course related over the longer haul. As Theodore Levitt indicated in Marketing Myopia, “the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer”. And client profitability and life time value of a customer on a longer term basis is related to quality of work performed. To improve both, Grant Thornton is creating and providing access to a number of business critical metrics around staffing, quality of delivery, and profit versus cost of each customer engagement.
Accounting for the total customer relationship
At the same time, Grant Thornton has determined that they need to use their customer data in order to get to know their customers better. At Informatica, we like to call this the total customer relationship. Just like other service based businesses, Grant Thornton wants to improve its ability to cross sell and upsell. For example, if I am doing audit work, can I also do tax or other business services. To make this reality, they need like just about every other business a single view of customer.
Accounting from the numbers not gut feel
To make both of these a reality, Grant Thornton has started by getting its critical information out of its applications and into an operational data store—a database designed to integrate data from multiple sources. They are using a mix of traditional ETL tools and new cloud delivered solutions to pull data out of cloud based systems like Microsoft Dynamics. This is giving them truly a hybrid data collection environment. With all of their data in hand, they then have taken their data and stuck it into a data warehouse for reporting. From here they have an initiative to build analytical dashboards for business leaders and customers alike. Their goal is to move decision making from gut feel to data. According to Tom Davenport, “our research suggests that 40 percent of major decisions are based not on facts but on a managers gut”. (Analytics at Work, Harvard Business Review Press, page 1).
As I have discussed, firms are starting to use analytics to better manage their core business capabilities. For this reason, analytics are more and more foundational to a business’s right to win. Clearly, the ability to use analytics to keep existing customers by measuring and improving service quality and increase the degree of cross sell is core to Grant Thornton’s ability to retain and grow its existing business.
Download: Grant Thornton Case Study
Author Twitter: @MylesSuer
On Saturday, I got a call from my broadband company on my mobile phone. The sales rep pitched a great limited-time offer for new customers. I asked him whether I could take advantage of this great offer as well, even though I am an existing customer. He was surprised. “Oh, you’re an existing customer,” he said, dismissively. “No, this offer doesn’t apply to you. It’s for new customers only. Sorry.” You can imagine my annoyance.
If this company had built a solid foundation of customer data, the sales rep would have had a customer profile rich with clean, consistent, and connected information as reference. If he had visibility into my total customer relationship with his company, he’d know that I’m a loyal customer with two current service subscriptions. He’d know that my husband and I have been customers for 10 years at our current address. On top of that, he’d know we both subscribed to their services while live at separate addresses before we were married.
Unfortunately, his company didn’t arm him with the great customer data he needs to be successful. If they had, he could have taken the opportunity to offer me one of the four services I currently don’t subscribe to—or even a bundle of services. And I could have shared a very different customer experience.
Every customer interaction counts
Executives at companies of all sizes talk about being customer-centric, but it’s difficult to execute on that vision if you don’t manage your customer data like a strategic asset. If delivering seamless, integrated, and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points is one of your top priorities, every customer interaction counts. But without knowing exactly who your customers are, you cannot begin to deliver the types of experiences that retain existing customers, grow customer relationships and spend, and attract new customers.
How would you rate your current ability to identify your customers across lines of business, channels and touch points?
Many businesses, however, have anything but an integrated and connected customer-centric view—they have a siloed and fragmented channel-centric view. In fact, sales, marketing, and call center teams often identify siloed and fragmented customer data as key obstacles preventing them from delivering great customer experiences.
According to Retail Systems Research, creating a consistent customer experience remains the most valued capability for retailers, but 55 % of those surveyed indicated their biggest inhibitor was not having a single view of the customer across channels.
Retailers are not alone. An SVP of marketing at a mortgage company admitted in an Argyle CMO Journal article that, now that his team needs to deliver consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points, they realize they are not as customer-centric as they thought they were.
Customer complexity knows no bounds
The fact is, businesses are complicated, with customer information fragmented across divisions, business units, channels, and functions.
Citrix, for instance, is bringing together valuable customer information from 4 systems. At Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, it’s about 25 systems. At MetLife, it’s 70 systems.
How many applications and systems would you estimate contain valuable customer information at your company?
Based on our experience working with customers across many industries, we know the total customer relationship allows:
- Marketing to boost response rates by better segmenting their database of contacts for personalized marketing offers.
- Sales to more efficiently and effectively cross-sell and up-sell the most relevant offers.
- Customer service teams to resolve customers’ issues immediately, instead of placing them on hold to hunt for information in a separate system.
If your marketing, sales, and customer service teams are struggling with inaccurate, inconsistent, and disconnected customer information, it is costing your company revenue, growth, and success.
Transforming customer data into total customer relationships
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution fuels business and analytical applications with clean, consistent and connected customer information, giving your marketing, sales, e-commerce and call center teams access to that elusive total customer relationship. It not only brings all the pieces of fragmented customer information together in one place where it’s centrally managed on an ongoing basis, but also:
- Reconciles customer data: Your customer information should be the same across systems, but often isn’t. Assess its accuracy, fixing and completing it as needed—for instance, in my case merging duplicate profiles under “Jakki” and “Jacqueline.”
- Reveals valuable relationships between customers: Map critical connections—Are individuals members of the same household or influencer network? Are two companies part of the same corporate hierarchy? Even link customers to personal shoppers or insurance brokers or to sales people or channel partners.
- Tracks thorough customer histories: Identify customers’ preferred locations; channels, such as stores, e-commerce, and catalogs; or channel partners.
- Validates contact information: Ensure email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses are complete and accurate so invoices, offers, or messages actually reach customers.
This is just the beginning. From here, imagine enriching your customer profiles with third-party data. What types of information help you better understand, sell to, and serve your customers? What are your plans for incorporating social media insights into your customer profiles? What could you do with this additional customer information that you can’t do today?
We’ve helped hundreds of companies across numerous industries build a total customer relationship view. Merrill Lynch boosted marketing campaign effectiveness by 30 percent. Citrix boosted conversion rates by 20%. A $60 billion global manufacturer improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. A hospitality company boosted cross-sell and up-sell success by 60%. And Logitech increased sales across channels, including their online site, retail stores, and distributors.
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution empowers your people with confidence, knowing that they have access to the kind of great customer data that allows them to surpass customer acquisition and retention goals by providing consistent, integrated, and seamless customer experiences across channels. The end result? Great experiences that customers are inspired to share with their family and friends at dinner parties and on social media.
Do you have a terrible customer experience or great customer experience to share? If so, please share them with us and readers using the Comment option below.
Great email marketing has the best ROI in the business, most marketers know. The return on investment can be nearly $40 for every $1 spent, according to Adobe Systems.
Despite an onslaught of new marketing technologies, including the growth of social media marketing and mobile applications, the big news from a just-released report is that the importance of email marketing continues to grow.
60% of marketers in a new survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, and 20% said it was the primary revenue source for their business. These findings come from the 2015 State of Marketing report from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
In the same survey, nearly 3 out of 4 marketers agreed that email marketing is core to their business. However, as any data-driven marketer knows, the real proof is in the measurement of performance.
An example of measured email marketing success is the astonishing revenue growth at global women’s apparel retailer BCBG. In the last year, the major global brand re-focused its email marketing efforts with tactics that improve the customer experience both on digital platforms and in-store.
By putting the customer at the center of its strategy, BCBG’s revenue from email marketing grew 20% in just one quarter, according to Direct Marketing News.
Email marketers can be eager to build templates, opted-in contact lists, establish campaigns, content, frequency, timing, and metrics goals. All of these are important to an email marketer.
BCBG does all of this too – but they also know the value of being customer-ready in their engagement and communication.
What email marketers may not know is that the customer journey begins with great contact data. If you aren’t measuring the quality of your contact data, your email campaigns will not reach their potential.
Here are a few ‘secrets’ about email marketing and contact data that you don’t hear about often, but every data-driven marketer should know.
Up to 30 percent of your contacts’ email addresses change each year. What’s that hissing noise? That’s the air being let out of your email marketing plan. Everyone talks about the best practices for acquiring new contacts for your email lists, but what about taking care of the lists you have? It’s essential for marketers to validate their lists on a regular basis.
This can be done via email verification software and asking your list to opt back in on a regular basis. Asking for an opt-in after someone has been on your list for as long as a year (or more, depending on your audience) helps you know your message is welcome (reducing the chance it will be marked as spam) and re-establishes you in your customers’ minds.
Poor sender reputation can affect anyone and everyone who sends emails in bulk. Having a low sender reputation is similar to having a low credit score. If your credit score is low, you will be limited on what you can do in the financial world. In the same way, a low sender reputation limits what you can do with your email marketing campaigns.
This is a threat that you want to deal with before it happens. Many marketers only learn about the consequences after it happens – and they can no longer reach their audiences. Sales and customer satisfaction suffer as a result, and it can be a costly and time-consuming process to repair your sender reputation.
What are some of the things that affect sender reputation the most?
- Sending to email addresses that are no longer in use.
- Complaint rates (being marked as spam).
- Spam traps (email addresses created specifically to catch spammers). As Return Path has found, sending to even one spam trap can destroy your sender reputation.
You can check email lists before you send to them – in fact, that is the best time to do that. But it’s not enough to verify a list once. Verify email addresses more than once over time, as email addresses that previously were fine one day can become invalid or malicious.
Urgent changes are ahead for email marketers. A major new prediction from Gartner is that companies in all industries will have to primarily compete on customer experience by 2016.
Email marketing holds great potential as a revenue driver, and will continue to be an important channel for providing a great customer experience. 33% of customers surveyed said that email is the best method for building brand loyalty, according to Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Read more about how customer experience is becoming a bigger part of marketers’ jobs in this new white paper, “The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.”
I recently got to meet with a very enlightened insurance company which was actively turning their SWOTT analysis (with the second T being trends) into concrete action. They shared with me that they view their go forward “right to win” being determined by the quality of customer experience they deliver to customers through their traditional channels and increasingly through “digital channels”. One marketing leader joked early on that “it’s no longer about the money; it is about the experience”. The marketing and business leaders that I met with made it extremely clear that they have a sense of urgency to respond to what it saw as significant market changes on the horizon. What this company wanted to achieve was a single view of customer across each of its distribution channel as well as their agent population. Typical of many businesses today, they had determined that they needed an automated, holistic view into things like its customer history. Smartly, this business wanted to put together its existing customer data with its customer leads.
Using Data to Accelerate the Percentage Customers that are Cross Sold
Taking this step was seen as allowing them to understand when an existing customer is also a lead for another product. With this knowledge, they wanted to provide them with special offers to accelerate their conversion from lead to being a customer with more than one product. What they wanted to do here reminded me of the capabilities of 58.com, eBay, and other Internet pure plays. The reason for doing this well was described recently by Gartner. Gartner suggests that increasing business success is determined by what they call “business moments”. Without a first rate experience that builds upon what this insurance company already knows about its customers, this insurance company worries it could be increasing at risk by Internet pure plays. As important, like many businesses, the degree of cross sell is for many businesses a major determinant of whether a customer is profitable or not.
Getting Customer Data Right is Key to Developing a Winning Digital Experience
To drive a first rate digital experience, this insurance company wanted to apply advanced analytics to a single view of customer and prospect data. This would allow them to do things like conduct nearest neighbor predictive analysis and modeling. In this form of analysis, “the goal is to predict whether a new customer will respond to an offer based on how other similar customers have responded” (Data Science for Business, Foster Provost, O’Reilly, 2013, page 147).
What has limiting this business like so many others is that their customer data is scattered across many enterprise systems. For just for one division, they have more than one Salesforce instance. Yet this company’s marketing team knew to keep its customers, it needed to be able to service them omnichannel and establish a single unified customer experience. To make this happen, they needed to for the first to share holistic customer information across their ecosystems. At the same time, they knew that they would needed to protect their customer’s privacy—i.e. only certain people would be able to see certain information. They wanted by role that the ability to selective mask data and protect their customer in particular consumers by only allowing certain users in defense parlance, with a need to know, to see a subset of the holistic set of information collected. When asked about the need for a single view of customer, the digital marketing folks openly shared that they perceived the potential for external digital market entrants—ala Porter’s five forces of competition. This firm saw them either as taking market share from them or effectively disintermediating them over time them from their customers as more and more customers move their insurance purchasing of Insurance to the Web. Given the risk, their competitive advantage needed to move to knowing better their customer and being able to respond better to them on the web. This clearly included new customers that are trying to win in the language of Theodore Levitt.
Competing on Customer Experience
In sum, this insurance company smartly felt that they needed to compete on customer experience to pull out a new phrase for me and this required superior knowledge of existing and new customers. This means they needed as complete and correct view of customers as possible including addresses, connection preferences, and increasingly social media responses. This means competitively responding directly to those that have honed their skills in web design, social presence, and advanced analytics. To do this, they will create predictive capabilities that will make use of their superior customer data. Clearly, without this prescience of thinking, this moment will not be like the strategic collision of Starbucks and Fast Food Vendors where the desire to grow forced competition between the existing player and new entrants wanting to claim a portion of the existing market player’s business.
Blogs and Articles
Let’s face it, building a Data Governance program is no overnight task. As one CDO puts it: ”data governance is a marathon, not a sprint”. Why? Because data governance is a complex business function that encompasses technology, people and process, all of which have to work together effectively to ensure the success of the initiative. Because of the scope of the program, Data Governance often calls for participants from different business units within an organization, and it can be disruptive at first.
Why bother then? Given that data governance is complex, disruptive, and could potentially introduce additional cost to a company? Well, the drivers for data governance can vary for different organizations. Let’s take a close look at some of the motivations behind data governance program.
For companies in heavily regulated industries, establishing a formal data governance program is a mandate. When a company is not compliant, consequences can be severe. Penalties could include hefty fines, brand damage, loss in revenue, and even potential jail time for the person who is held accountable for being noncompliance. In order to meet the on-going regulatory requirements, adhere to data security policies and standards, companies need to rely on clean, connected and trusted data to enable transparency, auditability in their reporting to meet mandatory requirements and answer critical questions from auditors. Without a dedicated data governance program in place, the compliance initiative could become an on-going nightmare for companies in the regulated industry.
A data governance program can also be established to support customer centricity initiative. To make effective cross-sells and ups-sells to your customers and grow your business, you need clear visibility into customer purchasing behaviors across multiple shopping channels and touch points. Customer’s shopping behaviors and their attributes are captured by the data, therefore, to gain thorough understanding of your customers and boost your sales, a holistic Data Governance program is essential.
Other reasons for companies to start a data governance program include improving efficiency and reducing operational cost, supporting better analytics and driving more innovations. As long as it’s a business critical area and data is at the core of the process, and the business case is loud and sound, then there is a compelling reason for launching a data governance program.
Now that we have identified the drivers for data governance, how do we start? This rather loaded question really gets into the details of the implementation. A few critical elements come to consideration including: identifying and establishing various task forces such as steering committee, data governance team and business sponsors; identifying roles and responsibilities for the stakeholders involved in the program; defining metrics for tracking the results. And soon you will find that on top of everything, communications, communications and more communications is probably the most important tactic of all for driving the initial success of the program.
A rule of thumb? Start small, take one-step at a time and focus on producing something tangible.
Sounds easy, right? Well, let’s hear what the real-world practitioners have to say. Join us at this Informatica webinar to hear Michael Wodzinski, Director of Information Architecture, Lisa Bemis, Director of Master Data, Fabian Torres, Director of Project Management from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, global leader in publishing, as well as David Lyle, VP of product strategy from Informatica to discuss how to implement a successful data governance practice that brings business impact to an enterprise organization.
If you are currently kicking the tires on setting up data governance practice in your organization, I’d like to invite you to visit a member-only website dedicated to Data Governance: http://governyourdata.com/. This site currently has over 1,000 members and is designed to foster open communications on everything data governance. There you will find conversations on best practices, methodologies, frame works, tools and metrics. I would also encourage you to take a data governance maturity assessment to see where you currently stand on the data governance maturity curve, and compare the result against industry benchmark. More than 200 members have taken the assessment to gain better understanding of their current data governance program, so why not give it a shot?
Data Governance is a journey, likely a never-ending one. We wish you best of the luck on this effort and a joyful ride! We love to hear your stories.
In a previous life, I was a pastry chef in a now-defunct restaurant. One of the things I noticed while working there (and frankly while cooking at home) is that the better the ingredients, the better the final result. If we used poor quality apples in the apple tart, we ended up with a soupy, flavorless mess with a chewy crust.
The same analogy can be applied to Data Analytics. With poor quality data, you get poor results from your analytics projects. We all know that companies that can implement fantastic analytic solutions that can provide near real-time access to consumer trends are the same companies that can do successful targeted marketing campaigns that are of the minute. The Data Warehousing Institute estimates that data quality problems cost U.S. businesses more than $600 billion a year.
The business impact of poor data quality cannot be underestimated. If not identified and corrected early on, defective data can contaminate all downstream systems and information assets, jacking up costs, jeopardizing customer relationships, and causing imprecise forecasts and poor decisions.
- To help you quantify: Let’s say your company receives 2 million claims per month with 377 data elements per claim. Even at an error rate of .001, the claims data contains more than 754,000 errors per month and more than 9.04 million errors per year! If you determine that 10 percent of the data elements are critical to your business decisions and processes, you still must fix almost 1 million errors each year!
- What is your exposure to these errors? Let’s estimate the risk at $10 per error (including staff time required to fix the error downstream after a customer discovers it, the loss of customer trust and loyalty and erroneous payouts. Your company’s risk exposure to poor quality claims data is $10 million a year.
Once your company values quality data as a critical resource – it is much easier to perform high-value analytics that have an impact on your bottom line. Start with creation of a Data Quality program. Data is a critical asset in the information economy, and the quality of a company’s data is a good predictor of its future success.
Like me, you probably just returned from an inspiring Sales Kick Off 2015 event. You’ve invested in talented people. You’ve trained them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify, qualify, validate, negotiate and close deals. You’ve invested in world-class applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, to empower your sales team to sell more effectively. But does your sales team have what they need to succeed in 2015?
Gartner predicts that as early as next year, companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver. So, every customer interaction counts. Knowing your customers is key to delivering great sales experiences.
But, inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected customer information may be holding your sales team back from delivering great sales experiences. If you’re not fueling Salesforce Sales Cloud (or another Sales Force Automation (SFA) application) with clean, consistent and connected customer information, your sales team may be at a disadvantage against the competition.
To successfully compete and deliver great sales experiences more efficiently, your sales team needs a complete picture of their customers. They don’t want to pull information from multiple applications and then reconcile it in spreadsheets. They want direct access to the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products within their Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Watch this short video comparing a day-in-the-life of two sales reps competing for the same business. One has access to the Total Customer Relationship in Salesforce Sales Cloud, the other does not. Watch now: Salesforce.com with Clean, Consistent and Connected Customer Information.
Is your sales team spending time creating spreadsheets by pulling together customer information from multiple applications and then reconciling it to understand the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products? If so, how much is it costing your business? Or is your sales team engaging with customers without understanding the Total Customer Relationship? How much is that costing your business?
Many innovative sales leaders are gaining a competitive edge by better leveraging their customer data to empower their sales teams to deliver great sales experiences. They are fueling business and analytical applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, with clean, consistent and connected customer information. They are arming their sales teams with direct access to richer customer profiles, which includes the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products.
What measurable results have these sales leaders acheived? Merrill Lynch boosted sales productivity by 15%, resulting in $50M in annual impact. A $60B manufacturing company improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. Logitech increased across channels: online, in their retail partner’s stores and through distribution partners.
This year, I believe more sales leaders will focus on leveraging their customer information for competitive advantage. This will help them shift from sales automation to sales optimization. What do you think?
I love exploring new places. I’ve had exceptional experiences at the W in Hong Kong, El Dorado Royale in the Riviera Maya and Ventana Inn in Big Sur. I belong to almost every loyalty program under the sun, but not all hospitality companies are capitalizing on the potential of my customer information. Imagine if employees had access to it so they could personalize their interactions with me and send me marketing offers that appeal to my interests.
Do I have high expectations? Yes. But so do many travelers. This puts pressure on marketing and sales executives who want to compete to win. According to Deloitte’s report, “Hospitality 2015: Game changers or spectators?,” hospitality companies need to adapt to meet consumers’ increasing expectations to know their preferences and tastes and to customize packages that suit individual needs.
In this interview, Jeff Klagenberg, senior principal at Myers-Holum, explains how one of the largest, most customer-focused companies in the hospitality industry is investing in better customer, product, and asset information. Why? To personalize customer interactions, bundle appealing promotion packages and personalize marketing offers across channels.
Q: What are the company’s goals?
A: The executive team at one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences is focused on achieving excellence in quality and guest services. They generate revenues from the sales of room nights at hotels, food and beverages, merchandise, admissions and vacation club properties. The executive team believes their future success depends on stronger execution based on better measurement and a better understanding of customers.
Q: What role does customer, product and asset information play in achieving these goals?
A: Without the highest quality business-critical data, how can employees continually improve customer interactions? How can they bundle appealing promotional packages or personalize marketing offers? How can they accurately measure the impact of sales and marketing efforts? The team recognized the powerful role of high quality information in their pursuit of excellence.
Q: What are they doing to improve the quality of this business-critical information?
A: To get the most value out of their data and deliver the highest quality information to business and analytical applications, they knew they needed to invest in an integrated information management infrastructure to support their data governance process. Now they use the Informatica Total Customer Relationship Solution, which combines data integration, data quality, and master data management (MDM). It pulls together fragmented customer information, product information, and asset information scattered across hundreds of applications in their global operations into one central, trusted location where it can be managed and shared with analytical and operational applications on an ongoing basis.
Q: How will this impact marketing and sales?
A: With clean, consistent and connected customer information, product information, and asset information in the company’s applications, they are optimizing marketing, sales and customer service processes. They get limitless insights into who their customers are and their valuable relationships, including households, corporate hierarchies and influencer networks. They see which products and services customers have purchased in the past, their preferences and tastes. High quality information enables the marketing and sales team to personalize customer interactions across touch points, bundle appealing promotional packages, and personalize marketing offers across channels. They have a better understanding of which marketing, advertising and promotional programs work and which don’t.
Q: What is the role did the marketing and sales leaders play in this initiative?
A: The marketing leaders and sales leaders played a key role in getting this initiative off the ground. With an integrated information management infrastructure in place, they’ll benefit from better integration between business-critical master data about customers, products and assets and transaction data.
Q. How will this help them gain customer insights from “Big Data”?
A. We helped the business leaders understand that getting customer insights from “Big Data” such as weblogs, call logs, social and mobile data requires a strong backbone of integrated business-critical data. By investing in a data-centric approach, they future-proofed their business. They are ready to incorporate any type of data they will want to analyze, such as interaction data. A key realization was there is no such thing as “Small Data.” The future is about getting very bit of understanding out of every data source.
Q: What advice do you have for hospitality industry executives?
A: Ask yourself, “Which of our strategic initiatives can be achieved with inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected information?” Most executives know that the business-critical data in their applications, used by employees across the globe, is not the highest quality. But they are shocked to learn how much this is costing the company. My advice is talk to IT about the current state of your customer, product and asset information. Find out if it is holding you back from achieving your strategic initiatives.
Also, many business executives are excited about the prospect of analyzing “Big Data” to gain revenue-generating insights about customers. But the business-critical data about customers, products and assets is often in terrible shape. To use an analogy: look at a wheat field and imagine the bread it will yield. But don’t forget if you don’t separate the grain from the chaff you’ll be disappointed with the outcome. If you are working on a Big Data initiative, don’t forget to invest in the integrated information management infrastructure required to give you the clean, consistent and connected information you need to achieve great things.