Digital technologies have dramatically improved the experiences of consumers, making it much easier for them to find what they want and to be provided with the service levels they expect.

Not only is their product choice greatly improved but so are the choices of channels, which allow them to act at their own convenience.

Yet rather than this satisfying the contemporary consumer, the opposite has happened. Customers’ expectations have accelerated, fueled by the very improvements in customer experiences that digital technologies provide.

Is it any wonder then that so many companies are failing to deliver the seamless, excellent experiences customers demand as their basic expectation?

The culprits, in many instances, are the brands themselves and their unwillingness or inability to break down organisational and technological silos of information within their own companies.

Data silos occur because businesses grow and change over time without a plan on how to manage their data and because separate teams inside or outside of a business don’t always work in a consistent way.

This is an article in our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further Reading:

In a report called “Culture for a Digital Age”, authored by Julie Goran, Ramesh Srinivasan, and Laura LaBerge, McKinsey identified functional and departmental silos as one of the most crucial digital culture deficiencies companies face.

“Each obstacle is a long-standing difficulty that has become more costly in the digital age,” say the authors. “The narrow, parochial mentality of workers who hesitate to share information or collaborate across functions and departments can be corrosive to organisational culture.”

It is just as damaging and corrosive to the relationships brands have with customers.

No wonder analysts like Gartner say the majority of companies are diverting money into data programs this year.

According to Mark de Groot, Oracle Digital CX evangelist, “In our research, Next Generation Customer Experience: The Death of the Digital Divide, …we found that a significant number of customers aren’t impressed with the digital experiences that brands offer.”

The authors of the report, which surveyed 7000 people in seven countries, were blunt in their conclusions, “The cost of failing – being slow, unresponsive, unavailable or incapable of adaptation – is brutal. Customers today have higher expectations. And when disappointed or frustrated, they leave. (In the case of the Millennials, they don’t even bother to say “goodbye”…).”

The only way to overcome the problem of fragmented experiences is to take control of data.

Cross channel

Marketers understand that one of the biggest problems they face with cross-channel marketing is understanding customer interactions across those channels.

But often they lack access to cross-channel analytics making it hard for them to improve performance.

They also find it difficult to track KPIs across channels.

Ultimately though until silos are tamed it is almost impossible to build a usable unified view of the customer’s complete relationship with the brand.

Take the healthcare sector as an example.

Gartner Research director Mike Jones told earlier this year that one of the most common objectives of the healthcare sector is delivering a birth-to-death digital health record for patients.

He said that while that may sound simple, the reality involves very serious complexity.

“Bringing information from many different healthcare systems [that have] different structures, different data formats, different approaches to sharing and governance is extremely problematic to deliver. But without that the rest of the objectives almost become unachievable.”

The next four objectives are just as revealing. In more than half the programs Gartner studied, organisations were focused on the following:

  1. Patient ownership of data
  2. Big data and analytics platforms
  3. Open architectures and open standards for interoperability
  4. Developing new citizen services which could allow individuals the ability to access their records online

Each of these objectives can only be satisfied once organisations have their data stories aligned.

The smart application of technology can unify data silos for the benefit of all teams and partners. Oracle’s strategy is to acquire best-of-breed technology and then use our significant development experience to integrate them.

The win for our customers; rolling upgrades that add features, fix issues and speed tasks up. Then for their customers – seamless personalised experiences that build trust and confidence in the brand.

Cameron Strachan leads Strategy and Go To Market, APAC, at Oracle, which is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.


Previous post

Marketo's Google alliance reflects deep conviction about the Adtech-Martech merger

Next post

Experimentation optimises benefits for customers, and the release process