Customer Data Infrastructure Provides the Data Foundation Needed for the Next Generation of Digital Business
Segment Synapse Synapse, Segment introduced Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI), a new software category that gives companies the data foundation they need to put their customers at the heart of every decision. CDI is designed to be the core infrastructure for first-party customer data, allowing companies to consistently provide the seamless experiences that their customers want and need, no matter where they engage.
Historically, companies have relied on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to understand their customers. However, the exponential growth of connected activity in recent years, as well as the proliferation and fragmentation of channels where businesses interact with their customers, has created a technological challenge that CRM can no longer solve.
Businesses are now expected to consistently understand who their customers are, and provide highly relevant, contextualized experiences across every line of business and through every channel. CRM fails to capture many key interactions that occur across a company’s digital properties. As a result, IT departments are often forced to manually piece together their CRM with a patchwork of applications, integrations, and data pipelines.
Companies need a single infrastructure that can easily capture customer interactions from every touchpoint, ensure that data is accurate and consistent across the organization, and automatically integrate that data into the tools where it’s needed to provide seamless customer experiences.
Introducing Customer Data Infrastructure
Customer Data Infrastructure provides the technical foundation needed for today’s customer-first businesses. Using CDI, companies can automatically collect, integrate, govern and activate all their customer data across their entire organization. To do this, a Customer Data Infrastructure must have three essential components:
- Data Integration. CDI collects data from every channel where customers engage, whether mobile, payments, live chat, in store or in backend systems. It then makes this first-party data available to every tool in an organization where it’s needed, decoupling data collection from integration. This saves engineers from having to build multiple time-consuming integrations, enables new tools to be turned on at the flip of a switch, and breaks down data silos to give different teams within a company a common understanding of their users.
- Data Governance. CDI solutions help companies to protect the integrity of their first-party data, enforce common standards across the organization, and remove bad data at the source. This ensures data is both correct and compliant, and means businesses can trust it to inform complex decisions.
- Audience Management. CDI makes raw data actionable by consolidating all data points and interactions into customer profiles. Through audience segmentation and trait computation, companies can identify what matters most to each user and apply this knowledge to deliver consistent, personalized experiences across channels.
“Digital has transformed the way businesses market, sell, and support their customers, yet most businesses still treat systems built for an era of offline interactions as a single source of truth,” said Ali Rowghani, CEO of Y Combinator Continuity. “In the digital age, CRM no longer makes sense as the central system powering customer relationships, as it only provides a fragmented view of the customer journey. Instead, businesses need a single infrastructure that is flexible enough to build a customer-first business that can compete in today’s connected economy. I have no doubt that CDI will become the standard for customer-first companies worldwide.”
“Putting customers first is an essential requirement for any modern business, yet in today’s age it is an extremely difficult technology problem to solve. Customers are interacting with businesses across more channels than ever before, and fragmentation will only increase moving forward,” said Peter Reinhardt, co-founder and CEO of Segment. “The next generation of industry-leading businesses will be defined by their ability to turn raw data into consistent customer experiences that exceed expectations. Customer Data Infrastructure is the architecture that makes it possible to provide the interactions customers expect, at scale, and across every touchpoint.”