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Taking CDI-MDM to the Executive Suite:
How to Win Support and Influence Decision-Makers

  Article published in DM Direct Special Report
February 16, 2006 Issue
  By Aaron Zornes

Why Enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Did Not Deliver a 360-Degree Customer View

Customer data integration (CDI)-master data management (MDM) provides a proven customer data management alternative to status quo of garbage in, garbage out - a.k.a. "treading water" - that many businesses find themselves facing regarding the poor state of their master customer information.

In short, traditional methods of mastering customer data were ineffective and costly:

  • Lack of integration between identity management, data cleansing and business rules management,
  • Inflexible data models,
  • Lack of standards for integration between key components - e.g., business rules/workflows, hierarchy management, data enrichment services, etc.

In the past several years, however, newer methods have become available for key stages of MDM, including:

  • Data profiling for better forensic understanding of master data sources,
  • Probabilistic matching for more accurate match/merge, and
  • Dynamic CDI aggregation - e.g., federated query, enterprise information integration (EII), and distributed query to provide federated flexibility and performance/persistence trade-off capabilities.

Moreover, the prior generations of CDI solutions lacked matching capabilities in that they suffered from:

  • API-level, batch, nonlinear scalability,
  • Poor support for complex hierarchies,
  • Being best suited for a homogeneous landscape.

Now, the current generation of CDI solutions provide sophisticated identity management via:

  • Superior matching capabilities across disparate/heterogeneous systems,
  • Hierarchy mappings across complex business entities - e.g., B2B and B2B2C, and
  • Continuous data and process improvement.

The Top Five Elevator Pitches to Give CxOs

To help you rehearse the "elevator pitches" we provide the top five in outline format.

1. CDI-MDM catalyzes market leadership and dominance

  • Maximizes wallet share across product lines and business units: upsell via sticky bundles and new markets via cross-sell to existing customer base.
  • Increases understanding of large customers by grouping all buying organizations into corporate (B2B) or household (B2C) hierarchy.
  • Enables integrated customer analytics - i.e., profitability analysis, lifetime value.
  • Enables "co-opetition" and electronic storefront models - e.g., B2B, B2C and B2B2C by integrating partner or channel data with data from internal systems.
  • Protects brand integrity by increasing customer satisfaction due to more focused marketing and service campaigns - e.g., "blended agent" capability to provide customer service across multiple touchpoints/contact channels.
  • Actualizes consistent customer treatment by blending channels to deliver common customer interactions/experiences across all touchpoints.

2. CDI-MDM provides increased ROI by leveraging/rationalizing existing infrastructure.

  • Enables integration of new and old channels - e.g., collections, fraud, contact centers with kiosk, ATM, IVR and online self-service.
  • Minimizes architectural complexity to simplify application solution design, deployment and maintenance.
  • Reduces number of interfaces between applications and increasing reuse factor to save substantial integration costs.
  • Improves infrastructure flexibility and control to enhance overall system performance.
  • Accelerates ROI of enterprise CRM solutions.
  • Reduces overall project risk through increased flexibility and centrally managed architecture.

3. CDI-MDM significantly increases shareholder value

  • Drives costs of dirty data out of the info supply chain.
  • Accelerates revenue growth via more intelligent cross-sell and up-sell enabled by complete understanding of customer (profile, accounts and interactions) to leverage bundling opportunities.
  • Facilitates quick scales of economy in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) - e.g., shortening customer, desktop and billing integration timeframes while providing scalability to support rapid assimilation of new block of customers.
  • Measures, manages and grows customer information as a key corporate asset.
  • Drives fundamental operational savings and efficiencies - e.g., "once and done" enterprise-wide services for key customer processes such as account changes (name, address).

4. CDI-MDM provides a disruptive technology for new business models

  • Enables self-directed customer experience for sales and service.
  • Provisions hyper-integrated 21st century supply chain - e.g., outsourced manufacturing, outsourced service ("He who owns the master reference data dominates the supply chain").
  • Automates customer transactions that flow across systems.
  • Enables contingency planning for future technologies - e.g., biometrics, smartcards, etc.
  • Provides much more than just another customer interface:
    • 21st century business application development platform,
    • Service-oriented architecture - a.k.a, "first foray into SOA,"
    • Web services,
    • Integrated analytics, and
    • Near real-time materialization.

5. CDI-MDM enables compliance and regulatory reporting

  • Centrally manages privacy preferences for consistent rules of visibility and entitlements.
  • Enhances "evergreening" of customer data accuracy - e.g., continuous customer data improvement by providing self-directed customer care portals ... which in turn integrate customer info across business units;
  • Enables regulatory reporting compliance- i.e., large customers' material events (SOX, BASEL II).
  • Facilitates compliance with AML, OFAC, USA PATRIOT, et al.

Bottom Line

Enterprise CRM did not deliver a 360-degree customer view as promised by the vendors. However, the current generation of CDI-MDM solutions provides sophisticated identity management and other advances, which are finding traction and success as commercial off-the-shelf solutions. IT management must deliver the good news with the bad news - rather than waiting for either the competition or market forces to deliver even worse news.

The top five justifications for increasing the corporate commitment to master customer data as a vital corporate asset include catalyzing market leadership and dominance, providing increased ROI by leveraging existing infrastructure, increasing shareholder value, providing a disruptive technology for new business models and  enabling compliance and regulatory reporting.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Business Intelligence (BI), CRM, Customer Data Integration and Master Data Management.

Aaron Zornes is founder and chief research officer for the CDI Institute, with headquarters in San Francisco. Prior to the CDI Institute, Zornes founded and ran META Group's largest research practice for 15 years. For more information, visit www.the-CDI-Institute.com. He can be reached at aaron.zornes@tcdii.com.

To attend a free DM Review Webcast replay featuring the CDI Institute founder Aaron Zornes discussing key CDI, MDM and data governance topics, please follow these links:

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