Single Customer View – How badly do you want it?

I was recently reading a report on the state of data quality. I wont say who produced it because it doesn’t matter. Suffice to say that it¬†reiterated what most people in the data world already know:-

  • Data Quality is a big problem – a large percentage is inaccurate.
  • The majority of organisations are plagued by common data problems.
  • Most organisations who try, fail to implement a reliable SCV solution.
  • Many organisations don’t have a centralised data quality / governance function.
  • etcetera….etcetera….etcetera

What struck me quite hard was the fact that this report could have been produced 10 or 20 years ago! Has nothing changed in the world of data quality, matching, CRM, Single Customer View in the last 10 years?

Of course we have to concede that the data landscape has changed – more data, more channels particularly digital. But really? Despite the proliferation of vendors and tools organisations are still struggling?

The report did say that most organisations appreciated that poor data quality and the lack of a SCV did result in increased costs and loss of revenue. So why aren’t they tackling the problem? Well here are a few thoughts as to why:-

  • Do organisations have a good enough handle on the costs associated with poor data and lack of SCV? Probably not – I’ve written about this previously.
  • Are organisations concerned that fixing the problems may simply involve transferring the costs elsewhere? A distinct possibility – project costs, licence fees etc.
  • Are there easier ways of tackling the issue? If revenues are down because of a lack of SCV, hire another sales person and increase revenue that way.
  • I’m the CEO of a profitable organisation, why do I need to spend time and money on something which is not guaranteed to pay for itself?
  • How do I know any solution I implement today will still be good in 5 years time?

It sounds as though I am making a case for sweeping the issues under the carpet but I am really not. I believe customer service will play an ever increasing role in the way that competing organisations differentiate themselves. Having a usable SCV will undoubtedly help in assuring improved customer service.

I am sure that all organisations would like 100% accurate data and a SCV solution that provided a reliable and usable view(s) of their customers. Why would anyone not want that? If a magic wand could be waved and hey presto! here it is then who would not wave that wand?

But the reality is that there is no magic wand. Moving from the current state into the ideal state requires a monumental effort which an organisation quite rightly has to think very seriously about. In other words, they have to want it really badly.


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