Maintaining a personal relationship with customers used to involve a great deal of intensive work. 20 to 30 years ago, personal conversations and consultations with customers were still a part of the day-to-day sales routine – and even often took place at a customer’s home. Much has changed since then.
A chance for meeting face-to-face is now a rare occurrence. Added to this comes that customers no longer have just one, but rather multiple identities:
- They have a personal address (or perhaps even several), a landline, a mobile phone, at least one and often multiple e-mail addresses, several social media accounts, and much more.
- They have a customer number at every company they’ve ever been in contact with, portal access credentials, subscriptions to the widest variety of newsletters, etc.
- And, last but not least, companies wield additional data like buying behavior and interests, which customers know nothing about for now but will indeed have to be informed of in the future, or they’ll at least have to have access to such information.
Most information comes from customers in some voluntary manner, or companies obtain it through intelligent analysis of customer data. However, the level of data available also comes with its problems:
- Even when a customer does voluntarily provide info, this situation nevertheless also leads to some degree of uncertainty and at times even mistrust over what is going to happen with the data.
- The majority of data points are neither cross-linked nor linked to a specific customer. Thus, there are limits to the possibilities for generating added value from data.
So, how can companies work with customer data in a targeted manner, gain the insights they need, and still remain in compliance with data protection requirements? The task at hand centers around collecting individual identities and then using clearly-defined criteria to merge them into a unique customer profile linked with all of a customer’s identities. Parallel to this, the customer must have the ability to review the personal profile data that has been collected and to modify or delete that data as desired.
With the takeover of US software producer Gigya in November 2017, SAP is expanding its SAP cloud portfolio to include customer management functions, enabling it to meet the requirements pertaining to the handling of customer data and relationships described above. Its cloud-based application unites the solutions SAP Customer Identity, SAP Customer Consent, and SAP Customer Profile under the name “SAP Customer Data Cloud.” This helps companies to develop and implement strategies involving customer identity and data.
In today’s world, meaningful management of available customer data presents companies with a challenging and complex task. The components of SAP Customer Identity and SAP Customer Identity establish an environment for piecing together the customer puzzle. Accordingly, companies can use non-allocatable identities to generate unique and consolidated customer profiles, thereby gaining better insights into customer needs and wishes.
Customers, on the other hand, do tend take a critical view on the merging of individual data points to create a comprehensive customer profile. The more comprehensive customer profiles become, the more data is required. This leads to significant interference in individual privacy. SAP Customer Consent offers a variety of functions for personal data management, providing customers with control over their data. SAP Customer Consent additionally enables companies to comply with data protection laws.
From Q_PERIOR’s perspective, SAP Customer Data Cloud represents a clever solution for gaining more impact from customer data while simultaneously also meeting the requirements laid out in data protection law regarding customer privacy rights. However, the extent to which customers will indeed be making use of these options remains to be seen.