Everyone seems to be talking about how Big Data is all set to empower the CRM strategy for organizations across all business sectors. Yet, to be able to capitalize on the benefits of big data from CRM, companies need to work out ways and strategies that function at the basic level of pure business tactics.
Of course, traditional CRM depended on structured data and that was limited since databases normally pushed data that followed a certain pattern and met specific criteria. Today, the number of places big data can fetch info from is growing rapidly in number. The form and variety of the data is spread far and across and more importantly, in disjointed patterns and formats. With cheaper storage, it is becoming easier to have swathes of data that can give interesting insights to companies.
So far, so good. Cut to the actual ground and the situation is far different. Enterprises still have no clue or are yet in their nascent stages figuring out truly meaningful ways to leverage the insights of this data to have a bigger impact on their customer experiences.
Technology has given an impetus to big data in terms of volume, speed, and versatility. CRM is the science of building a business around the customer. Much as they seem like partners to the same effect, the connections joining the finer dots are yet to be put firmly in place. The two tracks seem to be running in parallel and therein lies the challenge to address the practical usage of the combining force of both.
How to really embark on a meaningful journey?
The bridge can be divided by powerful analytics. The data is there no doubt, but making some sense out of it is the real need. Strong analytic techniques will actually bridge the gap between big data and CRM. It is what brings actionable insights from the data. The challenge is that the skills in this field are yet limited. The need for capable data scientists as well as sound tools and technologies for strong analytics are therefore of paramount importance.
Another strong factor would be an effective correlation between data from all streams, channels, media platforms, internal and external systems, in such a way that a uniform analytic strategy can be used across all sources.
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The practical scenario today
Unfortunately, CRM is still existing in disjointed forums. One part of the business is yet not able to deal seamlessly with inputs and outflows from another subsystem. This integration will form the basis of rolling data across all functions and systems, making it a level field to apply actions across the board.The holistic approach to CRM is very important to use the advantages of big data to their full potential. This will help companies to engage with their customers across all possible touch points in a seamless manner.
Marketers will need to go to the basics and address their particular needs rather than blindly jumping onto the big data bandwagon. Business leaders should really question the value-add such engagement would bring to the business and attach it with measurable goals and specific targets. There is seemingly so much potential in this synergy, yet the right selection shall only ensure some perceivable benefits.
Existing data warehouse capabilities should be examined carefully to ensure what exists and what needs to be augmented with data silos. There are many vendors who will try and sell fanciful solutions and technically ‘suave’ products. However, a thorough evaluation must be done for the actual need of the mapping of these advantages for one’ unique scenario.
Are existing systems geared up?
The organic growth of digital adoption is proving to be a major hurdle. The architecture of companies has grown in silos, one function has deployed a certain system to handle its processes without any consideration about the compatibility with a system in another function. When you set out to apply unified CRM strategies across both, the implementation becomes a practical road-blocker.
- Companies are wary of investing in data that is outside the company’s direct control, due to apprehension about the value of such investment. At the same time, there is a limited connection between digital and offline data sources.
- At times, the organizational structure and systems in the company are not aligned towards a customer-centric approach.
- There is usually resistance to change as people fear the relevance of their own jobs with smarter intelligence.
- To be able to measure the impact of actions, basic metrics need to be in place which is often inadequately deployed.
The need is to swiftly change these hurdles by adopting a broader mindset open to change. Tactics and strategies need to be applied at enterprise levels to bring about major visible changes.
Some of these measures can include the integrated approach to a well-defined architecture, synergy across all digital and offline data channels, and strict discipline to invest in external data as well as internal data. A strong buy-in from business leaders can ensure that the company’s organization gets re-aligned to customer-eccentricity. Every engagement with the customer must be taken seriously with sincere efforts to enhance the experience for true benefits of big data insights.
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