The technical underpinning for customer-first enterprises is Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI), which delivers three important capabilities: 1) data integration, 2) data governance, and 3) audience management. These components work together to help you link and consolidate your first-party data, verify that your data is correct, and tailor each customer encounter to the preferences of that individual. You may use CDI to make data-driven choices about your product and advertising, tailor experiences, and boost consumer engagement and profitability.
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Why Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI)?
The only way to unite, standardize, and engage the client relationship at scale is to take an infrastructure-focused strategy that goes beyond Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). Customer Data Infrastructure delivers three important features to do this.
First is Data Integration. From mobile to online, in-store to core systems, payments to help desks, and even your CRM, CDI integrates every single first-party consumer encounter your firm has on every channel. The data is then made available by CDI via whatever tools your teams desire. CDI allows your developers to save time building individual integrations by decoupling data gathering from vendor implementation. CDI also enables your business teams to get up and running with new technologies faster and to operate from a shared client history.
Secondly, you need a strong set of data governance tools to ensure that the data in your tools is precise, consistent, and compliant with internal privacy protection regulations. Your team will still identify mistakes, missing data, and duplicate information in production, regardless of how stringent (or lax) your data integration is. By establishing consistent data norms across your business, CDI offers you the trust that your data is accurate. You may define what good data is and eliminate poor data at the origin.
Last but not the least, audience management. After you’ve gathered the most comprehensive set of raw information, the next stage is to define it into useful information. Audience Management groups all of your users’ actions into profiles, allowing you to see what matters most to them, such as their favorite market segments and average monthly logins. It updates consumer profiles in real-time as they interact, allowing you to provide consistent and tailored experiences across all channels. CDI ensures that you’ll know exactly what is required when you encounter your consumers face to face or on screen.
Essential Data Infrastructure Features
A company’s customer infrastructure should fulfill the following characteristics at a minimum.
Customizable and User-Friendly Data Export Tools
Every company has its own data architecture, thus a basic CDP should let you pick and select the APIs, SDKs, and other tools that will help you optimize it. It ought to be able to normalize data while allowing for subtle discrepancies across different systems. Watch out for CDPs that use overly simplistic data transmission mechanisms; file uploading and exports are simple to set up, but they don’t provide the benefits of real-time data computation.
Real-Time Data Processing
Secondly, real-time data processing is important. Customer communications that are personalized and timely require data to be accessible downstream in seconds for activation. Vendors who exaggerate data input with tools like CSV file uploads should be avoided; such solutions are unlikely to allow for genuinely real-time data processing.
Ability to Deal With Large, Changing Data Quantities
When it comes to data volume, unexpected increases from special promotional events can easily overtake an infrastructure that isn’t equipped to handle them. Foundation CDP must be developed to expand fast in order to help you throughout peak marketing periods. Any vendor that suggests an on-premises or private cloud configuration should be avoided.
Specific Input and Output Data Manipulations
Even the most technologically advanced enterprises face data hygiene challenges. A basic requirement for business data usability is the ability to rectify inconsistent tagging, standardize data across ingestion points, or change nomenclature and formats for a specific downstream system. Manual transformations or MDMs that are bolted on should be avoided.
Customizable and Sophisticated Identity Clarification
A basic CDI should be able to connect the user journey across channels, taking into consideration the different sorts of IDs accessible from each source. To fulfill your customer privacy and regulatory needs, the product should have built-in adaptability and easy-to-use tools. Keep an eye out for providers who claim to be able to reach a wider audience by employing probabilistic matching. Keep an eye out for providers whose products can’t be tailored to your specific identities and restrictions for tracking anonymously vs. known individuals.
A data management plan or a storage server are not substitutes for a core CDI. A fundamental CDP, on the other hand, can bring substantial flexibility and durability to your network, as well as lower operating expenses (particularly when it comes to creating and sustaining integrations) and improve governance, given you have a strategy and baseline design.
Check if your current infrastructure fits the requirements of the modern business using the principles outlined above. If not, make sure that the CDI you choose has these features.