FTSE 1000's struggling with customer data?

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 25, 2003

FTSE 1000's struggling with customer data?

The quest for the complete and dynamic 'single customer view' has been a joint crusade for both IT and marketing departments around the world for years but few have managed to achieve it, according to research conducted by MORI, commissioned by IT consultancy, Detica.

The survey, 'Managing your Customer Insight Capability and the Drivers for Change', which questioned 200 senior marketing and CRM decision makers in FTSE 1000 companies across the telecommunications, financial services, utilities and commercial sectors, found that nearly 50% of respondents cited "the creation of a single customer viewpoint" as still being their biggest challenge in terms of gaining customer insight. A close second, at 41%, was the task of overcoming duplications and incomplete customer records to achieve an adequate quality of data.

According to Detica, there are three primary factors contributing to this problem:

  1. Lack of ownership of data quality issues across the organisation;
  2. Inherent problems with business processes, contributing further to data issues;
  3. Unwillingness to invest in long-term technology solutions around data.

Data quality "While businesses may have put in place the systems and strategies to give them a 'single view', the quality of their data is really letting them down," explained Paul Walker, head of customer insight for Detica. "Duplication of records, inaccuracies and gaps in information are common problems, meaning that the organisation is not getting full value from its investment."

Detica's research suggests that revenue generation from cross-selling and up-selling is the single factor organisations cite as the reason for changing their insight capability. Those that want to drive revenue need to fix these problems now, says Walker.

Ownership problems A fundamental issue is the lack of ownership of data quality issues, with solutions not being effectively sponsored within the organisations. Data quality issues can originate and manifest themselves across numerous business operations, from marketing to the contact centre. Before an organisation can progress with process improvements or technology enhancements, there needs to be some ownership and 'championing' on the way forward. Traditionally, this has fallen to the IT department although, more recently, CRM decision makers have also adopted this role.

According to Detica, the absence of robust underlying processes to support staff in the delivery of customer insight across an organisation can corrupt data and reduce the clarity of the single view. For instance, failure by employees to record each customer contact - such as a conversation with a call centre agent - is just one example of how, in practice, inadequate implementation can be a major set-back.

Economics, too Walker sees the final piece of the problem as a by-product of the economic downturn: "It's lack of investment in long-term, robust technology. A lot of businesses have been sweating their assets, trying to make what they've got work for them, and there's good business sense in that. Ultimately, however, there's going to have to be approval for bigger technology spends to bridge that final gap and get to where we all want to be - profiting from the single customer view."

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