Gartner: Master data management critical to CRM success

24th Feb 2014

Successful master data management (MDM) is essential for developing an optimal customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, says Gartner.

The research giant has asserted that downplaying MDM is to significantly detriment a company’s relationship with its customers, and even face losing out on potential revenue gains - to the tune of 25%.

"Over the last several years, CRM software sales have outstripped overall IT spending," explains Bill O'Kane, Gartner’s research director. "CRM leaders must understand the benefits of the MDM discipline to CRM and make it part of their CRM strategy. MDM is critical to enabling CRM leaders to create the 360-degree view of the customer required for an optimised customer experience."

O'Kane asserted integrated CRM as the way forward for businesses of the future, with the primary benefit being improved customer engagement across the board – from marketing to sales, customer service to e-commerce. To unlock this potential, companies must develop a deeper understanding of its entire customer journey.

"This single or '360-degree' view of the customer requires that all the operational master data pertaining to the customer — and often to product and service as well — be combined from all of the data silos where it currently resides," says O'Kane. "This data is then checked and cleansed for duplicates while selecting the highest quality values across all data sources for each master data attribute. The result is a 'single version of the truth' for the master data that can then be integrated in different ways with those remaining data elements specific to transactions and interactions in the operational systems."

"In this scenario, customer segmentation becomes far easier and more accurate, giving organisations a better understanding of their customers and their likely patterns of behaviour," notes Kimberly Collins, research vice president at Gartner. "Moreover, the MDM hub can be used to support these operations during real-time customer interactions, as well as to accurately populate analytics platforms — such as data warehouses or data marts — to support larger scale customer analysis efforts."

MDM also opens more doors for CRM executives in terms of Big Data, Garter claims, affording more effective use of Big Data sources such as social media as well as external data enrichment providers.

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