Customer experience, or CX, has become one of the hottest topics in business today. However, like many words, when thrown around too much, they can lose their meaning.
In a previous post, Security Overview: Cloud-Based Customer Communications Management, we gave you a quick summary of each of the security layers: physical, network, operating system (OS), database and application. Let’s take a closer look at cloud-based CCM security at the application level, which includes handling of customer data.
We’ve been writing a lot about sharing content and integrating data lately. The reason we keep harping on those ideas is because they are what feeds brand consistency. And brand consistency is vital to building recognition, trust and value in the eyes of consumers. The consistency of your brand goes far beyond making sure the company’s logo and colors are right in marketing materials. It pertains to the entirety of how people perceive your company and its products and services. This consistency is built over time, a cumulative image made of all the impressions and interactions customers have with the company. In that sense, it’s a big part of the overall customer experience.
Data management software helps companies retrieve, manipulate and use data, even data stored in multiple places and in different formats. This broad software category can refer to ETL tools, data virtualization tools, or any number of enterprise data management solutions that consolidate and render data for analysis or other applications. Customer experience management (CXM) requires some form of data management since personalized customer service and other customer communications require access to large amounts of customer data. CXM requires access to not only demographic and behavioral data, but also transactional and other data pertaining to all interactions between a customer and a brand.
So you have customer data spread all over the place, scattered amongst departments and data centers, and lots more coming in every hour of every day. Your enterprise data management efforts are helping, but it’s clear you need to do more. Where do you start to figure out if the tools you’re using are right for your organization or if it’s time to adopt something different? A great starting point is the Gartner Magic Quadrant, which is a series of market research reports published by Gartner, Inc. The Magic Quadrant is intended to provide a qualitative analysis into, in this case, the data integration software market by evaluating vendor offerings from an impartial third-party point of view. Gartner Magic Quadrant In the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools, available courtesy of Informatica, Gartner assesses 13 vendors to help enterprise buyers select solutions that will help them achieve “comprehensive data delivery capabilities, flexible deployment models, and synergies with information and application infrastructures.”
Data virtualization is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – it’s a way of interacting with data independent of its physical location(s) or formatting. With virtualized data, you can connect disparate data sources by creating a virtual database that other software can draw from. It’s important because, as Graham Smith asserts, “…Looking at the IT landscape, few would deny that virtualization is a key foundation of modern datacenters. Decoupling software and hardware gives enterprises the flexibility and control they need to manage resources across global datacenters.” This article looks at the role data virtualization plays in customer communications management and customer experience.