Anyone who has worked in a technology related role will be very familiar with the concept of the data silo. Silos are of course the bad guy, the thing that prevents digital transformation from taking place and the reason that the customer experience remains disjointed and incoherent despite millions having been spent. Breaking down silos has been a major focus of technology solutions of almost all types, who claim to be able to achieve this feat with considerable aplomb. But while solution vendors love to talk about the benefits, they tend to skip the details – why do the silos exist and how do their solution resolve the problem? So I will try to answer these two questions as concisely as I can and introduce our new product feature which provides our enterprise clients with enhanced flexibility.
Why do silos exist?
As James McCormick and Cinny Little of Forrester stated in a recent report:
CI professionals’ responsibility to understand and act on digital customer interactions has evolved to cross a growing catalog of intertwined touchpoints
The diagram below, taken from the same report (Transform Customer Engagement With A Digital Intelligence Vision) and reproduced with Forrester’s kind permission, illustrates the reality faced by organisations when attempting to understand and act on digital customer interactions. As everyone knows, the modern customer engages with the organisation on the channel that is most convenient and appropriate for the interaction and/or situation. However, most of the time this causes a problem for the organisation because, assuming that they are able to capture interaction data from every channel their customer is using, very often they use a range of technology to make this happen.
The result is messy, siloed data. The data contains inconsistencies, contradictions and duplicates. The entire purpose of attempting to capture this customer interaction data is to obtain digital intelligence of the customer, to profile the customer to better understand them. But the profile that is created is incoherent and of little value because of the data capture and data orchestration technologies and methodologies in play.
How can we solve the problem?
Omnichannel data capture and the assimilation of a comprehensive customer profile that contains all customer interaction across time and digital channels is at the core of what Celebrus does. We have always had a solution to the problem of siloed interaction data and ineffective profiles. The solution is simple and is summed up in the diagram below:
An organisation deploys Celebrus across all channels to capture all customer interactions. All interaction data flows into our extensive data model, to allow profiling to take place, signals of opportunity or threat to be detected and the most relevant data to be transferred to analytics or decisioning solutions within milliseconds.
It is the Celebrus data model that is at the heart of the solution, and which enables organisations to eliminate the data silos they face. How does it do this? It creates a uniform and universal record of customer interactions of all types, captured across a range of devices. This sounds very simple, but in practice attempting to assimilate behaviour such as mouse movements and changes in device orientation with text entered into forms on a web browser and some interactions with video content is a challenge which many vendors are not equal to. When a solution is unable to integrate all of this data into one model, inconsistencies, inaccuracies and omissions occur….otherwise known as data silos!
Navigating the complex reality of large enterprises
In practice, not all organisations are in a position to implement one solution across all of their channels or digital properties. For example, they may have an incumbent collection technology that they are unwilling to replace, they might be unwilling to add an additional SDK into their mobile app, or they may simply be resistant to widespread change and prefer a staged approach to transformation.
It was with these situations in mind that we developed the Bring Your Own Capture (BYOC) feature which ships with the latest version of Celebrus. BYOC does exactly what it says on the tin! It enables an organisation to ingest data from a range of different data capture solutions into Celebrus to eliminate silos, create a consistent and highly accurate customer profile and activate this data in real time thanks to Celebrus millisecond integrations with solutions like Teradata Vantage CX and Pega decision hub.
BYOC leverages well defined HTTP APIs which can be used by any data capture solution to ingest data into Celebrus. All data ingested instantly populates the Celebrus data model with no need for additional configuration, meaning that all customer interaction data is in a consistent format and a single location, regardless of the mechanism or technology that was used to capture it.
This seemingly simple feature in which multiple data capture technologies feed a single data model, is actually a remarkable game changer and has been developed in direct response to overwhelming demand from our customer base and prospects. Why is such a big deal? It goes right to the heart of the silo problem as it exists in the real world and presents an elegant solution which goes beyond merely bringing data into one place, to ensure the compatibility of all data captured. BYOC enables that desperate data to reside within a single, highly versatile data model on which customer profiles are based. And for enterprise customers in particular, BYOC provides millisecond access of data captured via other solutions to best of breed decisioning and analytics solutions which those data capture solutions would not be able to achieve under any other circumstances.
CI pros must build a digital intelligence architecture that synchronizes a swath of different processes and technologies to support a strategic enterprisewide practice
"Transform Customer Engagement With A Digital Intelligence Vision", James McCormick and Cinny Little, Forrester Research, Inc.. November (2019)
In an ideal world, of course we would prefer it if each of our clients used Celebrus to capture all of their customer interaction data, as it is clear that this is best practice - delivering the most complete, secure and compliant customer profiles. But we and our customers live in the real world, and while the majority use Celebrus across the board, some require flexibility to work around the complexity of their architectures and eliminate the silos that this complexity creates.