Leveraging Data to Improve Customer Experience

Driving Digital with Data
Let’s consider a very typical digital opportunity. A company has a website enabling customers to log in, view recent activity, execute new transactions, and learn about new opportunities. The CMO wants to upgrade the site to improve the mobile experience and to introduce new analytics that she believes will drive increased usage and larger transactions. She comes to the CIO to partner on the implementation.

What first step should the CIO do when considering this opportunity? Should the CIO seek a business case on how much new revenue this investment will enable? Should IT leaders review existing platforms and consider the best technologies to rebuild? How about establishing requirements or designing the new customer experience?

My answer is none of the above.

What Does the Data Say?

The first thing the transformational CIO should do is to partner with the CMO and go on a data gathering exercise. Pull web analytics data to get sessions, pages, events, devices, and customer journeys. Merge in data from the commerce engine to capture transactions and data from the CRM on customer demographics. Lastly integrate the CMO’s market research on customer satisfaction and qualitative feedback on new capabilities and improvements mentioned by customers. Analyze this data by customer persona, spending behavior, and other dimensions to provide a data-driven story on the gaps and opportunities in a digital transformation of this website. This can then guide the business plan, customer experience, technology choices, and development priorities in the implementation.

Digital transformation affects every industry. It’s how banks must review online retail banking experiences, manufacturers their B2B ecommerce portals, insurance companies their tools for tracking claims, charities their websites for capturing donations, and hospitals their kiosks for providing patient information. Reviewing existing data, merging in new sources, and leveraging customer research is at the heart of delivering transformational digital experiences.

A Recipe for Becoming Data Driven

I cover many of the steps on becoming data driven in my book, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology. CIO can start with citizen data science programs that enable analysts in and out of IT to blend data sources, perform ad hoc analysis, and develop dashboards to share analytics and insights. The CIO should also be leading efforts to integrate enterprise data sources, so in my example above, data from the CRM, web analytics, and commerce engines should already be integrated and available as a data service to the analyst.

What happens next? With easy to use tools and access to data, analysts begin to ask questions and seek insights. As they analyze and expose more data, they are likely to hit data quality speed bumps such as duplicate records that need to be merged, inconsistent address formats, or records that are difficult to join because of inconsistent company names. CIOs can take the next leadership step by defining data governance, establishing master data sources, and providing tools to improve data quality.

Real competitive differentiation is when the CIO can leverage the CMO’s market research to provide insights into future needs. Market research may come in the form of survey responses, customer feedback, insights extracted from social media feeds, aggregated news, economic forecasts, and government data. In other words, a lot of unstructured data and forecasting data that can be challenging to integrate with existing enterprise data sources. The data wrangling can be complex, and new tools such as Claire are driving boosts in productivity by leveraging AI and machine learning to automate data management tasks and identify patterns in unstructured data.

Transformation by Leveraging Data

To enable digital transformation and growth, leaders today must look beyond their current capabilities and develop competitive customer experiences. Leveraging data, analytics, and research allows leaders to make well informed decisions on strategy, priorities, design, and implementation. CIO’s need to lead this charge by merging existing and new data sources and developing a customer-centric view exposing their values, needs, and opportunities.

This post is brought to you by Informatica and IDG.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Informatica.

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