The value of Customer Intelligence (CI) should be understood company-wide. CI shouldn’t just drive marketing and customer relationship management (CRM). It’s a transformative business force that can be used to empower your workforce to make better, more customer-centric decisions cross-departmentally. In our recent e-Book, 3 Part Framework for a Successful Customer Data Management Strategy, the three steps to becoming a Customer Intelligence-driven Business are defined:

  • Strategy – Design the strategy that gets the right people engaged with the right processes.
  • Speed– Build a solution to pragmatically realize that strategy, quickly.
  • Scale – Modernize your platform for scalable, agile operation in the cloud.

In our latest blog we covered the importance of strategy. In this blog, we will review the second step, speed. More specifically, this portion of the series will cover the four key elements to quickly and effectively implement a Customer Intelligence (CI) solution:

  1. Recognize the behaviors that matter
  2. Ensure specific, trustworthy data
  3. Unify data views and workflows
  4. Include data for insight and action across the organization

Recognize the behaviors that matter

This goes well beyond website clicks and looks instead to the buying behaviors, preferences, trends, and interactions that you can act on. It’s important to understand not only those critical actions but why they matter and their associated value.

You need to get a good grasp of the actual buying journey, and attribution of purchases by unifying siloed, disconnected touchpoints into accurate, timely customer data.

A good foundation will save you valuable time and resources by unifying data for analysis and decision-making. It will also help you apply a simple metric to customer information captured in stores to uncover costly employee errors.

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Ensure specific, trustworthy data

Assuming you focus initially on a lot of these “core 4” data domains, determining which sources are of good quality should be relatively easy. Your transactional data likely has some rules that need to be applied to ensure that sales accurately reflect things like taxes and shipping costs, but may omit other things, like gift card purchases. (For instance, correctly accounting for employee loyalty cards versus customer loyalty cards in driving activities like segmentation.) A few days of up-front effort workshopping business rules will pay huge dividends later on. It can also become an essential component of the data governance work we described earlier. Once your rules are determined, you’ll want to ensure your solution is prebuilt with self-service reporting capabilities that allow for surfacing all of these business rules, so your end-users understand exactly how things are calculated. Your users will get more out of flexible, easy-to-use dashboards to eliminate reliance on IT and other departments to curate data. They’ll be better armed with the tools to uncover growth opportunities and make decisions with quantifiable outcomes on future spend.

3Cloud’s Take

Every company has unique considerations, but to get started, 3Cloud recommends starting with the “core 4” business areas, spanning:

  1. Transactions: Literally, what a consumer might see on a receipt for every purchase over the last five years.
  2. Products: How you classify and categorize the products and services you sell.
  3. Locations: This includes both online and in-store characteristics of where a given point of purchase may happen.
  4. Customers: Everything you know about the customers who interact with you.

Unify data views and workflows

Beyond unified data, when everyone is working from a common solution, you achieve greater agility. Replace your disparate applications with a single unified solution that also ensures consistent and effective data governance. This naturally enables everyone to easily leverage integrated data from all internal and third-party systems for faster insights and less reliance on IT. To ensure you work with a flexible platform developed for the unique analytics needs of retailers, build on a world-leading cloud technology environment like Microsoft Azure. We recommend and use Azure Data Warehouse with Power BI to provide front-end reporting. The 3Cloud CI solution implemented in a world-leading environment also allows for easier scaling of your business and fast implementation. In fact, with a solution like CI, rather than taking years to implement, you can be up and running in just 13 weeks.

Include data for insight and action across the organization

As we’ve said, customer data is valuable across the organization. Every function within a retail organization — from finance to e-commerce to merchandising and real estate — requires a customer-centric view of data for better business decisions. And they work better when there’s access across disciplines and departments. Break down the barriers between departments by finding a solution that streamlines your data, providing self-service reporting tools, and enabling more cohesive strategic planning and execution for stakeholders, wherever they work. When, for instance, real estate can see purchase and location data, they can better identify, invest, and plan new storefronts to serve a growing geographic market.

Enabling your organization to ramp up effectively and efficiently is crucial. Identifying your strategy and then building a solution to pragmatically realize it quickly increases the chance of not only buy-in but the success of your solution. There is, however, one final step and pillar that is often overlooked in the implementation process, and that is scaling the project.