Recent studies, including an independent strategic analysis report, are showing how data quality and well-executed customer data integration (CDI) can help companies dramatically improve their relationships with their customers while significantly reducing marketing costs.
"Customer relationship management is the most essential business process in any enterprise, but effective CRM strategy has been hampered by inadequacies of traditional CDI technologies," said Acxiom company leader Charles D. Morgan. "Now we are seeing a quantum technological leap forward in improving data quality and CDI – developments that are attracting positive attention from inside and outside the industry."
Morgan specifically cited a new strategic analysis report by Gartner Research, which found that companies need good data quality as well as CDI to "reduce operational and marketing costs and enhance revenue-generating opportunities through increased customer satisfaction and the identification of new customers."
The report, Customer Data Quality and Integration: The Foundation of Successful CRM, addresses how CRM solutions are "only as good as the quality of the customer data that feeds it."
Gartner research director Scott Nelson, one of the study's authors, says that successful CDI will "enable enterprises to recognize customers instantly – and access their relevant information dynamically, regardless of the interaction touchpoint," calling CDI "a data management process that distributes customer data to points of interaction, in a timely and accurate manner."
The report found that high-quality data could bring cost savings from the removal of redundant customer data; increased revenue from targeting first-time customers; enhanced revenue from higher customer satisfaction and retention; and savings in operational costs. The report also cited several examples of the revenue and cost savings CDI has produced for several companies.
In addition, the report cites the importance of "core CDI technology products" that provide "integration of multiple capabilities into vendor products, providing ROI benefits by improving quality of the database."
Gartner said the core technology elements include data hygiene and linking technology, which matches "customer records as business needs dictate, including at the point of customer contact." It also cited grouping, the ability to view integrated data based on business application needs and customer recognition, and the ability to synchronize all internal customer keys on a continuous basis.
As further proof of the growing importance of CDI, Morgan cited a recent customer case study on Acxiom's work with BMC Software.
Acxiom's CDI solution was able to help BMC Software leverage the full value of their CRM investment by efficiently integrating customer data across the business enterprise.