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Actian Blog / Delivering real-time Customer 360 insights faster and easier in challenging times

Delivering real-time Customer 360 insights faster and easier in challenging times

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A long time ago (read: before the COVID-19 pandemic started), companies around the world were interested in developing a full 360-degree view of their customers. The importance of creating a tailored, data-enhanced customer experience was understood, but formidable challenges—the fact that the data comprising an individual customer profile resides in so many disparate systems, that individual customers use several different devices and interact through different channels at different times and for different reasons, and more—often frustrating operations and executives alike.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, though, that interest has become imperative. COVID-19 has affected the buyers’ journey much the same way it has affected every other activity in which humans engage. A study by McKinsey found that 75% of US customers tried a new brand or a new way of shopping since the start of the pandemic, and 84% have used digital channels more than they did in 2019.

This is the perfect storm that creates real urgency for a 360-degree customer view and the ability to analyze the dynamics of customer behavior and act appropriately—in real-time. The challenges associated with data collection, analysis, and response are still present. In many ways, they have only grown more formidable, for we have come to realize that a snapshot view of the customer is insufficient. Organizations need a way to model and remodel the customer journey in real-time, as creating an engaging customer experience is a dynamic effort that evolves with each interaction. Resolving a customer’s identity across multiple channels and under various personas, mapping those identities to historical transactions, and profile data stored in CRM, ERP, and operational systems are both important and monumental tasks. But it’s also only a beginning, a first step in creating an actionable 360-degree view of the customer.

Building a broader view

A true 360-degree view of a customer can’t be sourced exclusively from internal data—let alone from a single system or department­—nor will the picture created remain unchanged. The necessary insights that can drive improved customer acquisition and retention will arise only from an ongoing effort to aggregate data sources and to analyze data and signals in real-time across operational ERP and CRM systems, social channels, selling tools, transaction systems, and more. A 2020 study from Aquia surveying the top three challenges for marketing organizations cited the number one challenge as adopting new marketing solutions, followed by the need to integrate new solutions with existing ones.

This is where the Actian Avalanche™ hybrid-cloud data warehouse and integration platform can make all the difference. With Actian Avalanche, organizations can leverage drag-n-drop integration to aggregate data from all the disparate sources and apply real-time analytics to create dynamic customer profiles, measure sentiment, and personalize each customer’s experience. Avalanche analytics can enable micro-segmentation and the ability to identify the next best actions for individual personas. You can conduct market basket analyses to increase upsell. Additional insights can also improve customer acquisition and retention through campaign optimization and churn analyses. Strategically implemented, all these customer experience management (CXM) outcomes can increase overall customer loyalty and value.

A peek under the hood

Let’s look at four key aspects of the 360-degree customer journey that Actian Avalanche can enable:

Unlock the value of customer data by bringing together all the pieces of the puzzle

Actian Avalanche has built-in data integration capabilities through AvalancheConnect. It acts as self-service data preparation and ingestion engine for on-prem and SaaS applications, disparate databases, data lakes, and document stores. It supports static and streaming sources, including clickstreams, IoT, and event-driven data.

The drag-and-drop and menu-driven features of AvalancheConnect empower your data engineers, data scientists, business analysts, and other non-IT users to develop and maintain a true Customer 360 view on their own. There’s little need to engage the IT team to code solutions for data integration, extraction, transformation, or loading. Avalanche comes with pre-built connectors to popular applications from Salesforce, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and others, as well as a full range of database environments, web service APIs, JSON objects, flat files, and more. It also provides native integration with AWS S3, Azure Data Lake Services, and Google Cloud data stores, so you can pull data into the Actian Avalanche Cloud Data Warehouse from on-premise as well as multi-cloud environments.

Empower large and diverse teams with real-time decision-making capabilities

The delivery of a truly engaging customer experience requires real-time analytics that can run with sub-second response times. Yet the data pools can be vast—with queries running against multiple terabytes of data—and all this data is being accessed simultaneously by cross-functional teams. Nor is the dataset static; it evolves with every customer interaction and update. But this is the dynamic environment for which the patented vector technology of Actian Avalanche was designed. Avalanche delivers the industry’s fastest performance at scale with no tuning required nor caching of stale data to achieve superior performance results.

Improve business agility while avoiding customer data and cloud lock-in

The Actian Avalanche cloud data warehouse enables you to unlock the data in all your key systems and enables you to conduct analytics that transcends the limits of an individual CRM or ERP system. AvalancheConnect empowers your business analysts, data engineers, and data scientists to unlock the true value of the data in your CRM, ERP, and other systems by enabling the exploration of these data sets in combination with other customer-related data—both from sources within your organization as well as from external sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.

Actian Avalanche runs on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud and offers one-click deployment in your cloud environment of choice. Should your choice change for any reason, you can easily migrate your Avalanche data to a new cloud while remaining connected to the tools you had been using to analyze and visualize your customer 360 data.

Analyze, visualize, and report without additional training or IT support and internal resources

Actian Avalanche runs as a fully-managed cloud service, so your business analysts, data engineers, and data scientist can access it directly, without the need to allocate internal IT resources. Once, your users have determined what data they want to use and how they want to structure it in Avalanche, they can use either SQL or user-defined functions to query and manipulate the data for analysis, visualization, and real-time decision-making. Those responsible for your CXM efforts can make real-time changes to business process execution through the use of existing BI and advanced analytics tools to, in turn, change the policies and business process driving offers, programs, and so forth as needed.

The perfect umbrella for the perfect storm

In this perfect storm, Actian Avalanche provides you with an easy and fast way to build the complete Customer 360 views that you have been seeking. You can easily aggregate data from all the relevant yet disparate sources and move quickly from access and enrich to analyze and act—all of which puts you in a far better position to engage, meet the needs of, and retain customers even as the storms of change continue to rage around you.

About Lewis Carr

Senior strategic vertical industries, horizontal solutions, product marketing, product management, and business development professional focused on Enterprise software, including Data Management and Analytics, Mobile and IoT, and distributed Cloud computing.