One of the challenges facing our clients is a disjointed landscape for their customer-facing business intelligence tools. This doesn’t happen in finance as everyone knows where the end product goes (CFO), nor does it happen much in product development. When it comes to customer analytics, many companies struggle with disjointed systems and difficulty getting the data they want. The sentence of, “I think we have that data….somewhere,” is often uttered at companies that have these issues.
Some believe that such disjointedness is a technology problem and blame product short comings or some such as the cause. However, I believe that the issue is a bit more fundamental.
Most companies that have disjointed analytical systems tend to view their customer life cycle like this:
Then the stake holders in each process then start up their own systems to address their analytical needs. This often leads to disjointed systems that don’t talk to each other, as each stake holder pushes with a singular focus on the needs for their processes.
But the life cycle of a customer is circular, not something with an end point. Once the suspect becomes a customer, they’re moved into nurture campaigns in an effort get them to be a repeat customer. Organizations should be constructed in a way to support this cycle, and many are, with executive leadership overseeing the cycle. In many companies this executive is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Others call it a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Others still have this as a Vice President (VP). This position has a singular focus on the entire process/customer cycle and as such they should be the prime sponsor for the analytical systems to support each of the process areas.
Just as the organization is structured with a cyclical singular focus, so too should the analytical strategy. By leveraging the sponsorship of the CMO (or the equivalent resource), this singular but holistic view of the customer cycle can be constructed into the strategy of the analytical systems. This does not mean, however, that the CMO must be engaged in the low level details of each initiative (there simply wouldn’t be enough time) but just like all financial analytics systems are built to aiding the CFO all customer analytical systems should do the same for their executives.
Maintaining an executive-level drive and vision for customer analytics system is one of the biggest and most important steps to eliminate disjointedness in analytical systems and furthers the importance of the customer lifecycle.
Ron Cruz is a Solution Architect and Project Management Professional (PMP) at KPI Partners, specializing in business intelligence tools and applications. Check out Ron's blog at KPIPartners.com.