Business Intelligence Best Practices -

Collaboration. Communication. Community.

 E-mail to friend
Ensuring the Visibility of Your Customer View through Enterprisewide Data Quality

by Cass Brewer
As much as your business needs a panoramic customer view for effective CRM, it requires a way to ensure that view is completely clear.

Is a 360-degree customer view enough to support CRM? We talk about the virtual customer walkaround as if the secrets to customer motivations, behaviors, and desires lay on the surface of customer data. In fact, there are two problematic assumptions that undermine the benefits of the ballyhooed 360-degree view.

The first assumption is that the 360-degree view is always clear. In reality, you can’t assume perfect visibility of the customer view. Gaps, conflicts, and disparity in data can leave business with blurred, foggy, and double vision when it comes to seeing customers through their data.

The second assumption is that customers are static. Customers change names, associations, roles, buying preferences, and every other trackable aspect. In fact, the USPS reports that 20 percent of the US population moves every year. Because of such changes, your business can easily lose track of a customer—even as you maintain the 360-degree customer view

Fortunately, remedies are available. An enterprisewide data quality solution like the Trillium Software System® can ensure that your 360-degree customer view remains clear and accurate throughout your enterprise and across all customer channels.

Clarify Your Customer View

While the 360-degree customer view remains the mainstay of business, a view made inaccurate or unclear by errors, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, omissions, and invalid formats can actually impair CRM, analytics, and decision making. An enterprisewide data quality solution remedies this situation in several ways:

  • It consolidates and standardizes the customer view, integrating data from independent data sources.
  • It alleviates fuzzy customer vision by cleansing, validating, and geocoding for correct customer name/address information.
  • It eliminates double vision of the customer by deduplicating records in favor of a single unified, optimized record.
  • It intensifies the customer view, integrating valuable customer data hidden in legacy and operational environments.

An enterprisewide data quality solution must encompass the full range of data types that make up your 360-degree customer view. Going beyond “postal software” that recognizes only name/address data, enterprise data quality fully supports CRM by discovering customer information in free-formatted text and ensuring high quality in non-name/address and international data.

Add Another Dimension to Your Customer

Customers are always changing. For example, while your support department is watching one aspect of your customer, your accounting department might have an incompatible view. Enterprisewide data quality ensures that customer information from all touchpoints is reflected in a timely, relevant, and accurate record available throughout the enterprise. It prevents your 360-degree customer view from becoming a mirage through:

  • Real-time and batch processing of data from all customer channels
  • Data consolidation to ensure that timely, accurate, and relevant customer data reflects all customer touchpoints
  • A standard that provides consistent high quality data throughout the enterprise
  • Customer key management that maintains a historical record of customer identities and relationships despite changes in major identity elements.

Enterprisewide data quality adds the dimension of time to your customer view, constantly monitoring all aspects of customer data to maintain a consistently accurate customer record. In short, a data quality solution does what your database can’t do: it tracks changes in customer data and reconciles them with existing customer records, ensuring that timely, relevant information feeds your CRM applications.

Protect Your 360-Degree View by Ensuring Full Visibility

As much as your business needs a panoramic customer view for effective CRM, it requires a way to ensure that view is completely clear. Enterprisewide data quality provides that assurance. Creating a unified, relevant, and timely customer view, enterprisewide data quality gives you more than the ability to make your customer visible: it empowers you to maintain a clear and accurate customer view, regardless of how and when customer data changes.

Cass Brewer -

Cass Brewer is the Editorial and Research Director for the IT Compliance Institute (ITCi), an independent firm focusing on the intersection of information technology, regulatory compliance, and business governance. A prolific author and presenter, Ms. Brewer is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Organizers' Collaborative for the Grassroots Use of Technology.