Are You Improving Your Customer Information Value Chain?

Are You Improving Your Customer Information Value Chain?

I’ve blogged recently about how CMOs and CIOs can work together to facilitate Big Data initiatives: CMOs by clearly articulating their business goals and specific requirements, and CIOs using this guidance to provide feasibility and cost estimates. Both then have what they need to negotiate tradeoffs in cost and time, and make the best choices for the initiative to move forward.

But I want to highlight another factor critical to the success of Big Data initiatives. That is the importance of contextual information when trying to extract value out of Big Data. Providing context is particularly important when dealing with customer data.


Source:  IDC webinar, “The Emergence of the Chief
"Something-or-Other,"
December 17, 2013

A recent IDC webinar predicted that 80 percent of customer data will be wasted due to immature enterprise data “value chains”. One reason why much of this customer data is “wasted” is because of a lack of meaningful context; the inability, because of process inefficiencies or information gaps, to extract real value and inform better, data-driven decisions.

Ricoh sponsored research has exposed just some of the costs and risks of these broken value chains. For example, 89 percent of customer-facing workers are too busy struggling to find the right information using outdated systems and inferior business processes.  These workers cannot deliver the information customers want in the way they want to receive it.

So how do you provide better context to optimize your information value chain?  What if you were not only able to meet customers’ information needs but exceed those expectations?

I believe that when discussing customer information, most of us are well aware of the data that has been captured through internal channels. This includes billing, customer service and sales processes, as well as communications such as email and social media exchanges between our business and customers.

And our research shows that by streamlining document processes to foster better information mobility between these channels, including back office data, with customer-facing employees would help them deliver the service customers have come to expect.

But I believe you should also be looking to leverage information that is generated by sources outside and is by and large external to your organization.  This information could add important context to your internal data and value for your customers. Execute this correctly and you really do have the potential to exceed your customers’ expectations.

There are many Big Data success stories that hinge upon the optimization of processes to provide real context – thereby deriving more useful insights and value for customers.

When it comes to improving their customer information value chain, organizations need to become more savvy about where to find all the ‘right’ information. Processes will need to be redesigned with an eye toward providing the right context at the right time. This will require a better understanding of information processes as part of a whole-- within their own organization, those of their partners and suppliers and publicly available sources.

Ultimately, we need to think bigger about where to get, and how to design into our processes, contextual information that allows us to generate more value for the customer—including information generated outside of our organizations.

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