Bad data and the customer experience

Are you doing enough with the data you have? Find out how master data management can mean the difference between a good customer experience – and a very, very bad one.

By Daniel Teachey

Big data. Smart meters. The Internet of Things. In technology, everyone’s looking for the “next big thing.”

For example, a decade ago, IT was focused on dizzying array of enterprise applications, particularly for those that supported customer-facing applications. How can you have good customer relationships with data spread across silos?

In a big data world, though, organizations now need to make sense of petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes of data. After all, the mindsets between big data and traditional data are, at their core, similar. Collect the data that you can find, organize it as best you can and use it to make better decisions. Sounds simple.

What’s different is that organizations are gearing up for collecting exponentially more data than they had just 20 years ago. Storage is no longer an issue; Hadoop and other big data technologies offer relatively cheap and scalable options for collecting data. The challenge is now how to make sense of this information.

Before you begin to aggregate an ocean of big data, take a breath and think about the maturity of your organization and its data management practices. In fact, it’s a good time to ask, “Are you doing enough with the data that you already have?”

Master data management (MDM) came along in the early part of the 2000s to address this question. And after all this effort to break down silos of data, have you gotten that “single, unified” view? Or are you still suffering from pockets of unintegrated operational data?

Here’s a video that shows that data problems aren’t about size and complexity. The data you have about your customers can cause problems – and help you lose a customer, fast.

This video shows how Marvin D. Martin, an MDM whiz, found that poorly integrated data can ruin anything. Even a nice, relaxing vacation.

Marvin D. Martin, a master data management expert, thinks he's seen it all – until he goes on vacation. See what happens when MDM goes horribly wrong.

This video, while whimsical, points out that many organizations still have data in disconnected silos. Sure, they may compile everything within a data warehouse to support analytics, but for the front-line service employee, the applications they use need good, reliable information to support every aspect of their day-to-day job.

This video points out that data only has value if it can help an organization make better decisions. These decisions don’t need to be from a detailed dashboard presented to an executive during a quarterly review. It could be data to support a near real-time decision, such as what to offer a customer at the right time.

And how to avoid an irate MDM expert taking a vacation.


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