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This article part of our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further reading: Segmentation Must Be Connected to the Data and Technology Stack.
Digital technologies have dramatically improved the experiences of consumers, making it much easier for them to find what they want and to be provided with the service levels they expect. Their product and channel choices are greatly improved, which allows them to act at their own convenience.
Yet, rather than this satisfying the contemporary consumer, the opposite has happened. Customers’ expectations have accelerated, fueled by the very improvements in customer experience that digital technologies provide.
Is it any wonder then that so many companies are failing to deliver the seamless, excellent experiences customers demand as their basic expectation?
Data Silos Breed Chaos
The culprits, in many instances, are the brands themselves and their unwillingness or inability to break down organizational and technological silos within their own companies.
Data silos occur because businesses grow and change over time without a plan on how to manage their data and because separate teams inside or outside of a business don’t always work in a consistent way.
In a report called Culture for a Digital Age, authored by Julie Goran, Ramesh Srinivasan, and Laura LaBerge, McKinsey & Company identified functional and departmental silos as one of the most crucial digital culture deficiencies companies face.
“Each obstacle is a long-standing difficulty that has become more costly in the digital age,” wrote the authors. “The narrow, parochial mentality of workers who hesitate to share information or collaborate across functions and departments can be corrosive to organizational culture.”
It is just as damaging and corrosive to the relationships brands have with customers.
No wonder analysts like Gartner say the majority of companies are diverting money into data programs this year.
Oracle digital CX evangelist Mark de Groot says, “In our research, Next Generation Customer Experience: The Death of the Digital Divide, we found that a significant number of customers aren't impressed with the digital experiences brands offer.”
The authors of the report, which surveyed 7000 people in seven countries, were blunt in their conclusions, “The cost of failing – being slow, unresponsive, unavailable or incapable of adaptation – is brutal. Customers today have higher expectations. And when disappointed or frustrated, they leave. (In the case of the millennials, they don’t even bother to say goodbye.)”
The only way to overcome the problem of fragmented experiences is to take control of data.
Marketers understand that one of the biggest problems they face with cross-channel marketing is understanding customer interactions across those channels.
But often they lack access to cross-channel analytics making it hard for them to improve performance. They also find it difficult to track KPIs across channels.
Ultimately, though, until silos are tamed, it is almost impossible to build a usable unified view of the customer’s complete relationship with the brand.
Take the healthcare sector as an example.
Gartner Research Director Mike Jones said that one of the most common objectives of the healthcare sector is delivering a birth-to-death digital health record for patients.
While that may sound simple, the reality involves very serious complexity. “Bringing information from many different healthcare systems [that have] different structures, different data formats, different approaches to sharing and governance is extremely problematic to deliver. But without that the rest of the objectives almost become unachievable.”
In more than half the programs Jones studied, organizations were focused on four objectives:
- Patient ownership of data
- Big data and analytics platforms
- Open architectures and open standards for interoperability
- Developing new citizen services, which could allow online access to records
Each of these objectives can only be satisfied once organizations have their data stories aligned.
The smart application of technology can unify data silos for the benefit of all teams and partners. Oracle’s strategy is to acquire best-of-breed technology and then use our significant development experience to integrate them.
The win for our customers: rolling upgrades that add features, fix issues and speed tasks up. Then for their customers: seamless personalized experiences that build trust and confidence in the brand.