1. The customer takes centre stage

Krishan Gandhi

Head of Data & Analytics

What is it?

Since the inception of the chief data officer (CDO) role in the early 2000s, its focus has continually changed: from CDO 1.0 in 2002, focused on data management, to analytics, to digital transformation. Now CDO 4.0 is focused on Customer analytics and Single Customer View. 

At first, CDO priorities were typically seen as cost centres: data collection and performance visibility through business intelligence (BI). But CDO 4.0 is becoming a profit centre using data and a better understanding of customers to drive revenue in an increasingly challenging and regulated landscape.

How will this impact you?

As organisations and incumbent CDOs pivot their focus, gaining a competitive industry advantage will no longer be achieved by just understanding and actioning the data collected in your customer relationship management (CRM), web analytics and BI platforms (a multi-channel approach). Instead, it will be gained by targeting the right audience – both onsite and offsite – by getting a holistic view of each customer (an omni-channel approach).

The race to truly understand who your customers are (and who they aren’t) has begun.

Several high street brands have collapsed over the past decade – from Blockbuster in 2010 to Toys R Us more recently. This could arguably be down to their inability to adapt systems and processes to work in an omni-channel world. The digital-first brands that have taken their place – Netflix and Amazon respectively, understand each customer on a finer level.

The iCrossing view

We work in a world where insights are to be generated through BI platforms and their ‘augmented analytics’ capabilities. If this isn’t the case for your organisation, and analyst time is consumed by insight generation and/or interpretation, then this should be the first step taken, with the added benefit of driving data literacy across the organisation.

Analysts will still need to spend a fraction of their time creating and maintaining the engineering/architecture of these BI platforms, but there will be a shift, with analysts becoming more technical.

With the necessary technical skillsets available in analyst resource, you can unlock the ability to onboard tools to power a single customer view. This should be the second step you take. Previous scepticism on the value of a customer data platform (CDP) has now been displaced due to improvements in: their ability to segment audiences cross-channel and cross-device and their ability to turn even a small percentage of your currently unknown customers into known customers could be all that’s needed to gain a competitive advantage

Maintaining the benefits of these cultural (team) and technological (tool stack) shifts will become more difficult as privacy regulations are being enforced globally, and discussions are taking place as to the future of cookies (the technology our historical data collection has relied on).

The biggest challenge CDOs will face in the next stage of their evolution is their ability to navigate these macro-level challenges. Finding solutions – through tools, techniques and people – will be the third and final step to maintaining the customer centricity formed, enabling your business to stay at the top of its game.

iX 2020 Trends

>>#2: Perfecting personalisation

2020 Trends

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