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Why your CRM is not a Customer Data Platform – Part 2 – the nature of an enterprise CRM solution

Published: Friday, 8th February 2019 by Joe Cripps, Product Manager, D4t4 Solutions Plc

Previously, I wrote about the difference between a CDP and a CRM system - Why your CRM is not a CDP - Part 1 - and I made the point that the characteristics of these solutions differ according to the size and complexity of the organization into which they are deployed. This blog will explore this observation and examine the anatomy of a typical enterprise CRM system

Large enterprises simply operate on an infinitely greater scale than smaller companies and as a result they experience challenges of a different magnitude. These elite, long-established global businesses employing tens of thousands of people, often have hundreds of millions of customers. They dwarf companies and household name brands which most of us would still consider to be huge.

When it comes to technology and infrastructure, the levels of complexity that enterprise organizations experience is unsurpassed. Their architectures are comprised of vast arrays of technology which includes legacy systems which have become embedded within the fabric of their operations, bespoke software developed in-house and off-the-shelf hardware and software – all of which must co-exist and integrate with each other.

In terms of CRM, as opposed to smaller organizations who would deploy a number of related modules from a major vendor to enable customer data to be stored, edited, accessed and used by other systems, enterprises combine a range of robust and highly scalable front-end and back-end systems linked to enterprise data warehouse platforms to handle all of the data associated with their millions of customers and prospects.

In addition, most large enterprises, in particular banks, have developed a system which unifies customer data into a golden record or profile. In the case of banks this has been undertaken because of pressure from tightening regulations which require banks to eliminate inconsistencies in customer data. This centralized record is housed in the complex combination of systems that enterprise use to manage customer data, which is loosely referred to as their CRM.

Why your enterprise CRM is not a CDP

Although many enterprises have a more coherent centralized profile containing customer data than smaller organizations, this CRM data is still likely to be messy and incomplete. As I mentioned in my previous blog, a CRM is not able to capture all customer interaction data, so the customer profile that it contains is lacking valuable insights. An enterprise CDP’s role is to capture this data in the level of detail that enterprise use cases demand (they will be using this data to feed best-of-breed analytics and decisioning solutions, so the quality of data required will be very high) and feed this data into their CRM solution which contains the customer profile. In this way, the enterprise CDP’s role is to integrate seamlessly with this complex CRM system and to augment the customer profile to include digital interaction data.

Of course, an enterprise CDP must fulfill other functions, such as connecting to enterprise systems in order to operationalize data to drive digital engagements and analytics…not to mention the security and compliance capabilities that enterprises demand. But rather than summarizing these in the conclusion to this blog, I thought I’d write an entire separate post dedicated to this subject. So, please keep an eye out for a blog coming soon titled Outlining the Characteristics of an Enterprise CDP.


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