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The early pioneers of Customer Data Integration (CDI) had a primary goal: to create the most reliable customer data for the company by bringing together and resolving inconsistent and oftentimes incomplete customer data which was at the time siloed in disparate applications across the enterprise.

The CDI promise was to have reliable customer data available to benefit a myriad of customer-facing operations in marketing, merchandising, contracting, account management and invoicing, to name a few. Focusing on these priorities, many organizations selected a CDI technology that enabled them to solely optimize customer data. Other enterprise data such as products, locations, and accounts, for example, were considered out of scope and not necessary for the initial CDI project.

While incremental benefits were gained with this approach, many companies that were caught up in this early CDI gold rush soon realized in hindsight that their CDI projects missed the big picture.

Take the example of Bank X, a major financial services firm providing a range of banking, investment, and trust services to small and mid-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals, and affluent individuals. Their CDI system did provide the answer to "who is my customer?" by solving the mystery of exactly who they were interacting with, whether it was an individual or an organization.

However, they were unable to realize that Fred Jones, who has a 401k account through his employer, is also a high net worth client due to his lucrative individual accounts. As a result, they were not able to answer the critical question of "how do my customer interactions across all of the banking services affect my business?" This lack of insight led to unrealized revenue potential as a result of unexplored opportunities to cross-sell new banking products to this individual.

The traits of a visionary CDI

The true golden opportunity for CDI lies in its ability to uncover the depth of interactions and to understand the relationships companies have with their customers. This level of insight is a significant business value and one that organizations can't afford to overlook.


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