Customer 360 In the House!

Customer 360 made it to the big show in a very big way: the opening keynote at Dreamforce.

During the conference, Salesforce also announced Customer 360 Truth, an evolution from last year’s Customer 360 data management announcement. According to one of the analysts at Dreamforce this year, “one main function (of C360 Truth) will be to act as a single source of customer data for any Salesforce function or process.”


A Customer 360 fuels the end-to-end customer journey with trusted data.

Challenges of a Customer 360

In an interview with Jim Cramer from Mad Money, Marc Benioff linked Customer 360 to the ‘SSOT,’ or Single Source of Truth, adding, “Now this is a computer science holy grail that we’ve been trying to put together for a long time.”

That comment alone highlights how challenging it can be to create a single, trusted profile of a customer. A SSOT is a computer science holy grail because of the inherent dynamic nature of data:

  • Data is always changing. D&B estimates that every 60 minutes 743 new businesses will open their doors; another 10 will file bankruptcy; 429 will change or disconnect their phone numbers.
  • Errors and quality issues are prevalent. Names get misspelled, addresses and phone numbers are entered incorrectly (or not at all), new businesses open, and existing ones are restructured, go out of business, get acquired, or are spun off.
  • New data sources. New channels open and create new opportunities to interact and transact—with new data to manage, match, and merge into a Customer 360.
  • Data that’s out of sync. With data scattered across many different clouds and systems, they can quickly become out of sync and the information across them starts to conflict and become inaccurate.

It’s unlikely that any of these common data issues will go away any time soon. CRM systems are designed with the belief that the data will be of high quality; and creating a trusted Customer 360 hinges on the quality of data.

An Actionable Customer 360

Much of a company’s customer data is created and exists outside of a CRM platform—and potentially outside of the company itself, when you consider the relevance of social media data. Salesforce is just one of many different systems used by companies to fuel personalized, individual experiences.

For this reason, a Customer 360 should be available to and created from any system or application that produces or consumes customer data—and that includes billing, shipping, order, invoicing, marketing, sales, service, social, mobile, and so on.

The critical nature of getting things right in today’s fast-moving business environment cannot be overstated—whether that’s a simple first name form fill, knowing that an address is for billing or shipping, or dealing with something more complex, such as being able to infer who is a buyer and who is an influencer in a household or a business.

The many facets of a Customer 360

As Marc notes in his interview above, reconciling multiple systems into a single source of truth is heavy lifting—but it’s not impossible. It’s something that Informatica has been an industry leader in and innovating on for more than 25 years.

Companies such as Hyatt Hotels, American Cancer Society, Honeywell, Fannie Mae, Rent A Car, Nissan Europe, Ulta Beauty, Lenovo, Aston Martin, Telus, and others have been building their Customer 360 for analytical and operational purposes to be used across their lines of business, geographies, multiple departments, and directly with customers themselves.

With a Customer 360, these companies are expanding their customer centricity initiatives with new capabilities, including: providing customer information through portals that traverse lines of business, accelerating synergies from mergers or acquisitions, anticipating customer needs, and understanding when to push information or when to push the next best offer. These companies have become advocates for their customers; and in turn, their customers advocate for them.

Informatica’s acquisition this year of Allsight and the launch of Customer 360 Insights accelerates our vision to make trusted customer profiles actionable through a next-generation Customer Data Platform (CDP) that applies artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and natural language processing (NLP). It’s designed to help companies create a Customer 360 that adapts to the evolving application landscape, identify the next best action, and deliver deeper insights into where customers are along their journey.  

Customer 360 is underpinned by the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform (IDP). The IDP addresses a company’s data management needs across the enterprise—extending ownership and trust in data for more intelligent customer experiences overall. That’s because the IDP empowers teams to create, analyze and orchestrate the customer data they need by combining strong data quality, discovery, cataloging, privacy, and multiple domain support, and not just in service of CRM but within an intelligent platform that the entire enterprise can access to support an organization’s digital transformation.

Great customer experiences come from great data

Salesforce is an important customer relationship solution and connecting the data across Salesforce clouds is an important task. Many Salesforce customers already use Informatica for this (hear how Kelly Services connects Informatica with Salesforce in this webinar), but the best customer experience comes from connecting customer and other data from all of your systems —including Salesforce and non-Salesforce applications.

As you consider your approach to your own Customer 360 and how best to address your direction and needs, here are a few key questions that our customers have shared:

  • Do you have an executive sponsor?
  • Who will need a Customer 360 view (and where will they need  it)?
  • How many systems create and capture customer data?
  • What is the quality of your data in those systems?
  • How much variability exists in your data across systems (e.g., multiple languages, different spellings for the same things, differing formats for dates or other codes, etc.)?
  • How trusted and actionable is your data today? Where should it be?
  • Will you need to enrich the Customer 360 with customer transactions and interactions?
  • How important is it to understand household or business relationships?
  • Will you want to understand and infer customer characteristics such as intent or life events?
  • Consider different perspectives of a Customer 360 to be used for different purposes. For example, does your marketing team need a ‘good enough’ perspective of a customer to send an offer, but sales and service need increased certainty about the customer and their activities and purchases?

To learn more about Informatica and our CX solutions, please join our Winter Launch event or visit our Customer Experience collection of curated content so you can bring your customers into focus and deliver the next best action, every time. It’s our goal to help you along your journey to create great customer experiences with great data.