People are strange(rs)

While I was reading Peter Hesselinks’s blog post, I felt an immediate urge to listen to The Doors, without a doubt one of the most influential rock bands of the last century. Listening to my iPod I came across another fitting “lyrics analogy”, which I found quite suitable as a title for this post….

The concept of recognizing and knowing your customer is, in essence, an ancient concept. Having a clear view of who your customer is and what he or she is actually buying (or intending to buy), has proven to be a serious business advantage over the years. You do not want your customer to feel like a stranger.

In the 1960’s it was quite common that the dairyman or the milkman would deliver from door to door. He usually knew how much milk and other products every family wanted. If he had accidentally delivered curdled milk, you would have made sure to tell him the next day. The milkman would almost automatically be informed if a family would move to another house or when it was some child’s birthday for which he consequently would have brought a special treat… This was a convenient and survivable business situation.

Nowadays, we live in a multi-channel society in which customers are used to do business in a variety of ways, which of course is far less transparent than the situation described above.

However, be it in a shop or through a website; essentially the current customer wishes are not that different than these of the customers of some fifty years ago: They still want to be recognized, they still prefer a personal approach, and they do not want to have to spend time informing you of a simple move or the purchase of another product.

But for the businesses serving that customer, a great deal has changed. Customer data is stored in a CRM system, complaints in the complaints database, the payment history in financial software and the order history in an ERP suite. This information fragmentation leads to problems with regard to the single customer view. And these problems impact virtually every area of the value chain of your business. From primary activities like inbound- and outbound logistics, marketing, sales and operations to supporting activities like procurement and human resources. Does the following list ring any bells?

  • Adding the same customer information manually in multiple databases
  • Building workarounds for customer data problems
  • Searching for missing data
  • Manually enriching customer data in one system or the same customer data in multiple systems
  • Assembling customer data across disintegrated databases

The solution to these problems lies in Master Data Management (MDM) of customer data. MDM enables companies to truly serve their customers by having the information they need at their fingertips, when they need it. Start your single customer view today.

 

We make ‘null’ mistakes

Wherever software is created, mistakes are being made. Software providers often presume their products are bug-free, but software of that kind doesn’t exist. Our departments works hard to prevent it, yet in our HIquality Life Cycle new bugs could still be introduced, even in the oldest modules that have been in use for over 25 years already. 

HIquality bug cycle

Usually our customers are satisfied with our product suite. At customer support I never receive information about the successful implementations. I got to know our software through the problems that occur, and in almost 15 years of acceptance testing and customer support, I’ve seen all kind of bugs passing by.
HIquality bug cycleSoftware crashes and never ending loops are nasty. Worse are those bugs that are not that visible in the beginning, but keep on growing in the course of time.
Recently we caught such a bug in our longest existing product HIquality Identify. Continue reading ‘We make ‘null’ mistakes’

Know Your Customers – improving your Corporate Social Responsibility

It’s not only what you achieve, it’s also how you behave. Some small organizations can still behave somewhat undetected way to achieve successful results. For medium and large organizations that is not what governments and customers expect from them. Transparency on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are key in this and therefore a significant number of countries agreed on these in, amongst others, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

This week, the latest results have been presented in The Netherlands on Transparency in the Banking area. And although some institutions score really good, others really need to take it at least one mile further to get a good or even fair score.

We agree with the recommendations of the report that compliance regulations can help/force in being more transparent, e.g., the SEC in the USA is enforcing more detailed information than their Dutch peer, the AFM. And also for Basel II the financial institutions need to know who they are dealing with in the end. The phrase – in the end – makes it even more difficult for the CSR, because not only the ultimate legal entity is now needed, but additional details per region and per sector are required. Continue reading ‘Know Your Customers – improving your Corporate Social Responsibility’

The “miracle” of customer data integration

mulitple view

The more a company knows about its customer’s wishes, needs and habits and the more that company is able to tailor its proposition accordingly, the greater the value it will eventually provide for its customers. We all know that there are countless examples where defective, fragmented, or just plain poor customer data cause unnecessary costs, decrease in revenue, employee dissatisfaction or frustation, damage of the corporate image and many other unsdesirable or painful consequences.

Customer data quality and integration problems impact every area of the value chain of organisations. Far too often companies have a multiple view of their customers. Customer Data Integration (or MDM for Customer Data) is the key to providing companies with a single view of their customer. Continue reading ‘The “miracle” of customer data integration’

How-to create the Golden Record

puzzle

The term Golden Record is closely related to Customer Data Integration or MDM for Customer data. It refers to the “single truth” which has been created or calculated from all those duplicate customer records from different systems. This post is not about finding or tagging all those duplicate records. There all kinds of ways to find them using advanced statistical methods, fuzzy matching etc.

But what do you once you have found the duplicates. How do you create the best possible customer data out of all gathered elements? Continue reading ‘How-to create the Golden Record’

The view of experts on MDM for 2009

Jeff Kelly, who is a News Editor at SearchDataManagement.com has asked four industry experts for their views and forecasts for 2009 regarding Master Data Management. He has asked Rob Karel (Forrester) who delivered a key-note on the Data Quality Summit 2008 of Human Inference, Bill Swanton (AMR Research), Aaron Zornes (MDM Institute) and Andrew White (Gartner). The full article can be found here. The four analysts have come up with 17 predictions in total, it is interesting to see how their views differ and some predictions even contradict themselves.

Continue reading ‘The view of experts on MDM for 2009’