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Customer 360: Don’t Confuse It With Your CRM System

This post is the first of a two-part series on building and deploying a Customer 360 for operational and analytical use cases, and why a data hub is the optimal platform for integrating and governing all of your customer data.

If you’re a company that uses Salesforce or other sales and marketing automation software, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of the term CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. CRM systems can be powerful applications for operationalizing customer information, but are not the optimal solution for integrating customer data across your enterprise.

The optimal way to feed your CRM system, and other systems of engagement, with unified and governed customer data from across your enterprise is with a Customer 360.

Understanding CRM Versus Customer 360

A CRM is the set of digital resources that businesses use to manage all of their relationships with prospects and customers. CRM applications can fall into multiple categories, but are primarily associated with operationalizing customer data for engagement purposes, such as marketing, sales, and service automation.

Alternatively, a Customer 360 allows enterprises to build a complete and accurate picture of every customer by integrating all of each customer’s multi-structured data sourced from inside and outside your organization. A Customer 360 acts as the hub that links and synchronizes the information about your customers, and is the source of reference for finding the most accurate and up-to-date information for any application.

Customer 360 Use Cases

Larger companies typically have multiple systems and applications that rely on unified, accurate, and up-to-date customer data. Here are examples of use cases that benefit from a Customer 360:

  • Sales & Marketing – With data integrated from internal CRM, ERP, and Customer Service Representative (CSR) systems and external sources, such as LinkedIn, Dun & Bradstreet, or payment card data, marketing can build more precise buyer personas and behavioral models to help sales develop and convert leads more effectively.
  • Customer Service – By combining structured data from billing systems with unstructured data from emails, notes, and recordings, CSRs will always have a complete and current view of customer interactions to effectively handle inquiries, resolve issues, and proactively offer new solutions.
  • Compliance – Accurate and up-to-date customer data integrated across all business units allows enterprises to meet KYC/AML mandates, build better risk models, deploy real-time surveillance functions, and address changing regulatory requirements.

If your business has grown through M&A, then there is a high likelihood that your enterprise is managing multiple instances and interfaces for these customer data systems, making data integration an imperative for governance, security and innovation in the combined entity.

The concept of a Customer 360 has been around for a long time. However, what has changed relatively recently are the tools and techniques available to develop a Customer 360, with integration of heterogeneous data sources playing a bigger role as operational and analytical use cases become more advanced.

Up Next

In the next part of this series, you’ll find out why a data hub is the right platform for developing your Customer 360, and how leading companies have deployed a MarkLogic Data Hub to build 360° views for improved customer data management, analytics, and applications development.

Ed Downs - Solutions Marketing Manager | MarkLogic

Ed Downs is responsible for customer solutions marketing at MarkLogic. He draws on his considerable experience, having delivered large-scale big data projects and operational and analytical solutions for public and private sector organizations, to drive awareness and accelerate adoption of the MarkLogic platform.

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