Solving the Customer Puzzle

Three steps to making data integration fun and accessible

Very few organizations are successfully integrating their cloud CRM apps with other critical business applications. While universally acknowledged that marketing today requires total visibility into the increasingly complex needs of every customer and qualified prospect, most businesses haven't yet attained complete data integration. Although 81 percent of LOB managers think it's important that cloud applications are fully integrated with each other and with other software in the organization, the reality is that 60 percent of businesses are not able to integrate their cloud CRM apps with other enterprise apps and only 16 percent of businesses report full integration among critical business systems. Costly disruptions to business processes are seen across the board: Fifty-four percent report staff downtime, 52 percent of businesses report missed deadlines, and 75 percent share that innovation initiatives have been stunted by integration problems as cloud apps and related workflows were disconnected from essential and related business functions.

Without integrated data, business leaders are simply not equipped to seize the growth opportunities presented by multichannel customer and prospect engagement. The top two priorities of business leaders today are to drive new revenue and continue to sustain and cultivate existing relationships. But in a collective rush to empower sales with deployments of powerful, cloud-based CRMs, organizations have self-sabotaged and actually cut themselves off from the free-flow of information they need to serve existing customers and win new ones.

The New Data Integration Journey: Easy, Fun, Available

Customer data integration has historically been the unsexy, but critical, aspect of clientele management. From ETL to drag-and-drop, you may hear IT experts say they've come a long way. And they have, but the pace of business today, powered by widespread cloud adoption and the consumerization of IT, demands a reworking of how to make strategic data integration doable for the people who best know how to splice and shuffle the data in order to maximize its value. The fix to this almost universal lack of critical data integration whether it be cloud to on-premise, or cloud-to-cloud is here, it's easy, it's fast, and it empowers the right people with the right information.

Today's solid data integration solution platforms are (or should be):

  1. Visual: Beyond the drag-and-drop, data integration has become a lot more accessible. Business analysts and marketing and sales teams can do some of the integration jobs that have historically been the purview of IT only. With very little training, in a few-click, visual environment, associates can move data-blocks from source to target for immediate and valuable integrations.
  2. Intuitive: Line of Business leaders can make sense of data integration maps. They can have a voice in the process and partner with their technical counterparts to make sure that the data integration solutions in place quickly meet specific business needs. The data flow is easy to redirect and move; these simple operations get the job done quickly without affecting underlying architecture and system health.
  3. Powerful: Non-techies can do a lot now. Batch processes are obsolete when it comes to the real-time needs of sales and marketing teams today-nimble, flexible data integration solutions can process millions of rows of actionable data instantaneously. Maximum usability means nothing if it results in crippled data integrations. The data integration platforms that are available today offer intuitive and fun user interfaces backed by powerful functionality executing quietly in the background.

The invaluable data that is being extracted by cloud, web, and social media touchpoints integrated with traditional demographic data residing in ERP systems or other financial modules is a new requirement for a successful sales and marketing strategy. Though many organizations struggle to achieve the necessary customer data integrations, today's integration platforms are accessible and provide the key to solving this customer data puzzle. Integrated data results in faster and smarter businesses, including improved lead-to-prospect-to-customer conversions, cohorts that receive personalized and targeted pitches resulting in an increase in leads generated by marketing and better fulfillment of customers' needs by an informed and empowered salesforce who are able to spend more time selling.

Have you integrated your core business systems? Feel free to continue the conversation discussing challenges and benefits you've dealt with, and how you plan on solving your customer data puzzle moving forward.