Harnessing customer data to drive commercial success: It’s a challenge

Disparate technology platforms are the main challenge for organisations trying to harness customer data. This is a challenge that must be overcome, because obtaining a holistic view of the customer across an organisation is key to improving customer experience and business success.

This was the message from the latest SAP Customer Experience report. In order to succeed, organisations need to use this data to understand customer needs and enhance the customer experience.

Only a third (34%) of businesses, categorised as ‘leaders’, have the ability to integrate different sources of customer data and deliver the right experiences across all stages of the customer journey.

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Marketers: Leading the way

Marketers armed with unified technology and a collaborative culture, according to the report, could provide the solution to accessing the customer insights locked in data.

The research from the report revealed that marketers have made progress in recent years – just under half (49%) are now able to successfully integrate and activate different client related data sources.

However, many brands (41%) have complex disparate technology platforms, which prevents them from shifting from a multichannel toolset approach, to an omnichannel solution strategy and becoming more customer-focused.

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“Many brands have disparate technology platforms and processes, along with a lack of know-how and siloed organisational structures to contend with. All the while they’re expected to deliver more complex, integrated campaigns across more channels and to an increasing number of audiences. These are symptoms of the current technical complexity that is forcing marketers to focus internally, instead of on the customer,” said Roland van Breukelen, UK&I Marketing Director, SAP Customer Experience.

Cooperation is key in harnessing customer data

Cooperation between marketing and other business functions – such as customer service, sales and commerce – is important when it comes to integrating data. The level of co-operation between marketing and IT functions is particularly important in the context of customer data integration.


A data-driven culture and the democratisation of data within the organisation are also increasingly important to business success.

“Organisations need to focus on delivering the most relevant and personalised customer experience in order to drive sales. The only way they can do this is by consolidating technical capabilities across customer identity, big data solutions, marketing automation, artificial intelligence and analytics as this form a solid foundation for the front office,” added van Breukelen. “Optimising the martech stack is the key to ensuring marketers are best equipped to turn insight into action and have a solid foundation for delivering a great customer experience.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...