Customer Data Management in 2019


 Ajay Khanna, Vice President, Marketing, Reltio

In 2018 we saw some transformational shifts in customer data management, ranging from renewed focus on Customer 360 solutions to the introduction of regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to AI and machine learning becoming mainstream technology. As companies strive to provide more relevant offerings to customers, they’re also mindful of data privacy, security, values and ethical concerns. In 2019, we’ll see this shift even further. 

The segment of One 

As the era of mass promotion wanes away, an increased focus on hyper-personalization was a major highlight of 2018. Enterprises strove to provide the best customer experience by offering the right content to the right customer at the right time and via the channels of their choice. The mantra has always been “the segment of one,” and companies are using advanced analytics and machine learning to learn more about customer needs and provide them with the relevant information. 

Consent precedes content 

Availability of reliable data has been a big challenge. To offer personalized content, you must know your customer well, including how and when they want to engage with you.

New regulations such as GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are enforcing that customers have more control over how their personal information is collected and used. Individuals can ask for access to the data companies are collecting about them, ask companies to make updates to the data, or purge it all together. In case of any data breach, companies are obligated to inform the affected parties in the stipulated time frame. Organizations must adhere to these regulations or face severe fines. When putting together the customer data management strategy, enterprises must make sure that compliance and privacy requirements are incorporated. Again, companies must manage such compliance and governance at the enterprise level.

In 2019, companies will focus on their data management strategies and use modern data management technologies to create reliable data foundations not only for personalization but also for compliant engagement. They will keep investing in AI and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to learn about their customers and offer better-targeted information. Investment in AI/ML to improve data quality and seek intelligent recommendations will gain an increasing foothold in life sciences, healthcare, and financial services this year. 

Values before Sales 

Customer-centricity stems from customer understanding. Understanding customer behavior, needs, and preferences and then providing them with information on their terms is critical. Today, transparency is becoming increasingly important. Customers tend to support companies that fit their value systems. They are increasingly asking for information about product sourcing, fair wages, fair trade, organic, and environment friendliness, not only for food but apparel and electronic goods as well.

Being customer-centric means that we offer choices for how customers can do business with us. Companies need to be data-driven when engaging with the customer. They must bring together customer information from all sources for a real customer 360 view as well as have the ability to share data about products, their relevance, and value-fit with the customer, on-demand. Customers are willing to pay a premium for products and services that conform to their values.

A significant shift is happening where companies increasingly realize the need to refrain from the unscrupulous practice of using data management technologies to collect highly personalized customer information including and manipulating for commercial goals. Enterprises are recognizing the social obligation to go beyond privacy compliance regulation and understanding and implementing next-gen data management and governance practices to become more transparent and authentic around customers’ values.

This year, we’ll see enterprises adopting data management technologies, powered by advanced analytics and machine learning to serve customers as individuals. Stricter privacy and security regulations will force companies to me mindful of how they collect, handle, and use customer data. We’ll also will see companies be more transparent about their business practices and use the value-aligned business ethics as a differentiator.

About the Author: Ajay Khanna is Vice President, Marketing at Reltio, a data management innovator. Prior to joining Reltio he held senior positions at Veeva Systems, Oracle and other software companies including KANA, Progress and Amdocs. He holds an MBA in marketing and finance from Santa Clara University.





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