BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution is the customer data platform that you own. Marketers win when they leverage consumer data as a competitive advantage, by uniquely understanding their customers. BlueGranite’s Customer 360 process shifts customer data, insights, and predictive algorithms into your organization’s competencies with a rapid-deployment, silo-breaking, Azure-based implementation. Customer 360 is the proven approach to increase sales through an intense focus on understanding customer behavior. Through our collaborative approach and use of modern Microsoft technologies, Customer 360 is a complimentary solution to your existing platforms that enables organizational buy-in from Marketing, Sales, Operations, and IT.
BlueGranite has successfully delivered Customer 360 implementations for retailers, manufacturers, insurance companies, and universities, among others. This article focuses on defining the common elements of a customer data platform as well as introducing industry-specific applications.
What is a Customer Data Platform?
A customer data platform may be defined as a software system which unifies unique customer profiles by aggregating all customer data tools across the organization. The key purpose of a customer data platform is to position customer data as a competitive advantage through customer-centric AI-enabled modern analytics. BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution creates a one-size-fits-you customer data platform in the Microsoft Azure cloud through our proprietary Catalyst process and tools.
Traditional customer data repositories, like CRMs, provide a limited perspective on consumers’ preferences and activities. Marketing automation platforms, website analytics tools and advertising systems all provide additional information that helps complete the customer picture, but are difficult to integrate into one transactional system. Enter the customer data platform concept, which surmounts these challenges by creating a framework for collecting and analyzing these sources as well as preparing for new data streams in the future.
A customer data platform can take many forms:
- Enterprise software platforms, many of which already contain some of the key customer data source systems, have added customer data platforms to their offerings.
- Independent software vendors have sprung up with cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) customer data platforms, usually including integrations with a set of common customer data source systems.
- Corporate IT teams have hired or acquired to build a customer data platform in-house.
- Modern analytics consulting firms, like BlueGranite, have used their expertise and experience with analytical data platforms, business intelligence and AI to create rapid-deployment, evolutionary customer data platform enablement solutions like Customer 360.
Why is a Customer Data Platform Important?
Modern consumers expect good value, convenience, and simplified experiences, so the organizations that can deliver on those expectations are winning in their markets. A consumer’s experience with a brand, retailer or service provider starts at advertising and marketing, continues through digital and physical interactions on websites, social media and in stores, and is realized through price, availability, and promotional offers. The experience is not governed by the organization alone, but takes heavy influence from social proof, prior customer reviews, and influencer/media pronouncements.
“97% of customers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient to them.”
National Retail Foundation Winter 2020 Consumer View
Combining all these sources to get each consumer’s desires and expectations met is nearly impossible without a customer data platform. Add in the fact that expectations are evolving, and that shifts in behavior can happen in months or weeks instead of years, and the problem complexity rises exponentially. The customer data platform must be ready for a future that is unpredictable in all but one aspect: customer data will continue to drive competitive advantages for those that can properly analyze and speak to it.
“48% of organizations rely heavily on recent historical performance to forecast the future.”
The Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook Survey
Competitive pressure is also mounting to take advantage of these consumer trends and the technologies that enable them, but the selection of a customer data platform to answer them is fraught with unknown limitations. The cost of implementing the wrong solution can be very high – perhaps in terms of missed opportunity today or in terms of closing future doors. For instance, speed of implementation could delay critical insights during the next change in purchasing behavior; and the rapid maturing of Artificial Intelligence technologies is setting new table stakes for markets.
Winning stories enabled by customer data platforms are abounding. At BlueGranite, we have helped clients in multiple industries overcome these challenges and create successful, forward-looking customer data platforms. Read on for more details of suitability and real-world implementations.
Who is BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution Designed For?
To take full advantage of the customer data platform created through BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution, we have found that organizations are most successful when they have:
- Identified a key business need to leverage customer data across the organization, driven by Marketing, Sales and/or Operations groups.
- A need for a fast time to market and a desire to apply consultative expertise to get there. Unlike blank-slate customer data platform offerings, BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution includes intensive consulting with experts in Modern Analytics so that real-world data and analyses are populated and operational within a 60 – 90 day time frame.
- An Agile approach to analytics delivery throughout the organization, so that the evolutionary nature of the Customer 360 process will yield quick results and be successively expanded over time.
- A desire to own the organization’s customer data outside any third-party platform, and a desire to take a disciplined approach to data governance as concerns the customer data platform inputs. BlueGranite’s Catalyst QuickStart program, a key component of the Customer 360 Solution, will ensure the organization is set up for success on both data ownership and governance.
- A base competency in Microsoft Azure and ideally a use of Azure services for other workloads throughout the organization.
Key Takeaways for Customer Data Platforms
When evaluating the need for a customer data platform in an organization, keep these conclusions in mind:
- Organizations that ultimately serve consumers will have to address those individual’s expectations in an authentic way to continue leading their markets.
- A well-designed customer data platform surmounts the obstacles all organizations face in unifying diverse data streams into a single profile of each customer.
- Rapid implementation of a customer data platform using modern analytics tools in Azure is possible, while retaining data ownership and using expertise to get it right the first time.
- A plan for evolutionary growth is essential. New consumer information sources will arise to enhance this 360-degree view and new opportunities will appear to increase customer satisfaction and profitability once the customer data platform is operational.
Real Examples of Customer Data Platforms
BlueGranite has created customer data platforms, using the Customer 360 Solution, for clients in a number of industries.
- National Retailer Incorporates Analytics for Customer 360 Insight and Increased Sales
The Customer 360 Solution allowed this century-old retailer to facilitate data driven decision making and identify more opportunities to delight their customers. Specifically, topics like product attachment and custom configurations were uncovered immediately, leading to increased sales and conversion rates and reduction of lost customers.
- Customer 360 Fuels Insights for Retirement Plans
- Supply Chain Insights Strengthens Dairy-Based Product Distributor’s Foothold
Using the Customer 360 Solution, BlueGranite enabled the dairy distributor’s product line analysts to break through the bottleneck (pun intended) of its bottler’s customer sales data to unlock insights on product popularity. The distributor was able to achieve repeatable customer micro segmentation, enhancing its delivery of the products customers wanted, where and when they want to buy.
- Retail Marketer Features Novel Product Insights with Innovative Cloud Scale Analytics
By building a customer data platform for this retail marketer, BlueGranite enabled rapid onboarding of new customers and their data, freeing up business managers to use insights instead of working to manually create them. An additional AI enabled extension finds strategic influencers among the customer data aggregated in the platform.
Learn more about BlueGranite’s Customer 360 Solution
The next step to evaluating the Customer 360 Solution is to schedule a collaborative workshop with our team. The goal of this free discovery and education session is to learn about Customer 360 and how it can help redefine a company’s data platform to enable greater consumer insights that drive future growth. Contact us today!