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Is CDI the new CRM?


CRM and CDP offer only partial solutions to today’s multi-contact customer interactions and a more granular approach is needed. Customer data infrastructure (CDI) promises to provide the critical capabilities now needed to win and keep customers but does it deliver the greater data-informed decisions now required to increase customer engagement and revenue?

CDI is a technical foundation that provides three critical capabilities essential for modern data-driven manufacturing: data integration, data governance and audience management. It defines, consolidates and manages customer information across an organisation’s business units and systems to achieve a ‘single version of the truth’ for customer data.

The power of CDI is reflected in market growth with the global customer data platform market projected to grow from $1.42bn in 2022 to $6.94bon by 2029 at a rate of 25.4 per cent per annum, according to Fortune Business Insights.

Multi-channel data points

Manufacturing and retail organisations must now manage a growing number of data and contact points as supply, production and commercial processes increase in complexity. As a result, a more powerful solution is needed to capture and collate data. While CRM focuses on managing customer relationships, CDI focuses on consolidating and managing customer data from various sources making it easily accessible to multiple departments. This consolidated data provides a unified view of customers, enabling data-based decision-making and personalised customer experiences.

Organisations can employ several different approaches to implementing CDI including customer intelligence platforms (CIP) that enable the collection and analysis of customer insights, activities, ideas, opinions and feedback, helping organisations to create individual experiences for different customer segments. Another approach is a customer data activation platform (CDAP) that consumes data from the CDI to build real-time customer profiles and make automated, dynamic decisions by correlating the unified data with content, channels and timing for each customer.

Some best practices for implementing CDI include setting clear, attainable objectives such as unifying data or enhancing data security; ensuring that data integration software adapts to existing client data technologies and utilising a customer data platform to gather, organise, and classify data from multiple sources, devices and platforms.

CDI is not the new CRM, but it is an essential part of a company’s overall data management strategy. While CRM focuses on managing customer relationships, CDI focuses on consolidating and managing customer data from a range of different sources.

The key to data-driven decision making

As the commercial climate becomes ever-more competitive the need to increase customer engagement and revenue is a growing pressure with demands that can only be addressed with robust data-informed decisions. CDI allows businesses to consolidate and manage data about their customers from multiple sources, helping them drive sales and revenue by identifying customer preferences, behaviour, demographics and pain points. This information allows companies to create personalised experiences, target their marketing strategies more effectively and improve the overall customer experience.

CDI provides a holistic view of their customers including their buying preferences, location, interests, job roles and more. This comprehensive view is beneficial for multiple teams in an organisation, such as marketing, sales, customer support and PR, as it allows them to target their strategies towards the most profitable areas and address issues that could cause customer churn. CDI can also streamline business processes such as billing, delivery and returns by providing a single source of truth. This eliminates data duplication and ensures data consistency, which in turn improves customer engagement and revenue.

Popular CDI solutions

Popular CDI solutions for customer data management include Salesforce Customer 360 that provides a single view of customer data, enabling businesses to access and manage customer information across multiple systems. Microsoft Dynamics 365, a suite of business applications including a customer engagement solution that helps businesses manage customer data, interactions and experiences across various touchpoints. SAP Customer Data Cloud enables businesses to consolidate and manage customer data from various sources, providing a single source of truth for customer insights. Informatica’s Intelligent Data Lake solution helps organisations consolidate and manage customer data, providing a unified view of customers across various systems and touchpoints, and MuleSoft Anypoint Platform provides a wide range of data integration capabilities, including customer data integration, enabling businesses to consolidate and manage customer data across multiple systems.

Benefits of CDI in manufacturing

Customer data infrastructure can be used in manufacturing to streamline operations, enhance business intelligence and facilitate data-driven decision-making and is utilised across a range of key processes including supply chain management. By consolidating and managing data from various sources, such as suppliers, manufacturing plants and distribution centres, CDI can help manufacturers optimise their supply chain processes. This includes better inventory management, improved production planning and enhanced visibility into the entire supply chain.

CDI can help manufacturers maintain quality control by providing a unified view of product specifications, production data, and customer feedback. This information can be used to identify trends, improve product quality and ensure compliance with industry regulations. CDI can improve customer relationship management by providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions, preferences, and feedback. This information can be used to tailor marketing strategies, improve customer support, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

Customer data infrastructure can help manufacturers make data-driven decisions by providing accurate, up-to-date information on customer preferences, market trends, and product performance. This can lead to better decision-making and improved business outcomes. And by consolidating and managing data from various sources, CDI can help manufacturers identify areas for improvement and streamline business processes. This can lead to increased productivity and reduced costs.

CDI can be used in the manufacturing industry to streamline operations, enhance business intelligence, and facilitate data-driven decision-making. By consolidating and managing data from various sources, manufacturers can optimise supply chain management, maintain quality control, improve customer relationships and make more informed decisions.

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