The CDP | Big Data, Refined

If data is the new gold, then consider the rush well and truly underway.

Image for post
Image for post

Enterprises have been spurred into action, joining the digital drive; that means becoming one with the modern landscape and connecting with users via an ever increasing stable of touch points, all to the end of staying competitive.

A side effect of this is that all organisations, big and small, have begun generating vast quantities of data; intentional or not. The original digital pioneers were those who recognised the precious insight just waiting to be extracted from their silos, but the competition has wised up — everyone’s looking to be ‘data driven’ these days.

Enter ‘Big Data’ — your gold-sieve on steroids; a statistical methodology used to comb through and extract actionable insight from data sets too large for traditional statistical analysis. The concept is relatively straight forward — conglomerate data from all your digital touch points & silos, cleanse it and start trawling for a nugget of golden wisdom which can drive your corporate narrative.

This approach has seen widespread adoption from the likes of sports teams to airlines — with staggering results.

Image for post
Image for post

And now? Everyone’s hiring a Chief Data Officer — and the Data Scientists, prospectors who can technically implement a CDO’s vision, have become almost as valuable as actual gold.

The temptation when collecting so much raw material is to cast as wide a net as possible, but ‘Big Data’ isn’t a magic wand; it’s not going to conjure up insight from thin air, it has to be directed — trying to squeeze value from a behemoth set of data isn’t necessarily going to produce results.

Image for post

The problem facing enterprises on the frontier, ones who have developed a refined strategy, is that they’re collecting such sheer volumes of data from so many different sources. Even with properly implemented tactics, targeting areas which are perceptively rich, they can still fall short of achieving maximum yield — preventing both a truly data driven digital experience and corporate strategy.

Fear not my fellow settlers, and allow me to put to bed this over-extended metaphor of the Data Wild-West by saying this:

There’s a new sheriff in town.

The Customer Data Platform.

Image for post
Image for post

Marshal your Customer Data with a CDP

To recap, one of the biggest issues facing the modern enterprise is trying to extract actionable insight from an ever growing number of digital touch points, ones which produce a wide variety of data; transactional, behavioural or otherwise.

If that wasn’t enough there’s also an expectation that, with this insight, the enterprise will maintain a coherent user profile across their entire digital experience; one which incorporates interactions from the site level all the way down to usage metrics — and let’s not forget social media & customer service channels too.

Enter the ‘Customer Data Platform’ or ‘CDP’ .

Image for post
Image for post

Source: Customer Data Platform — A revenue engine or just another buzzword?

The CDP refines the technologies and ideas of ‘Big Data’ ; it’s a packaged software that simplifies the process of creating unified customer data profiles. These profiles — despite being collated from different tools with varied output — are still easily accessible.

From setup, you capture data at touch points that reflect meaningful interactions with your users. This coalesces into a complete customer record; one chock full of insight that can further mould your corporate narrative, producing fluid personalisations across your entire digital experience.

Image for post
Image for post

If you combine this with an appropriate strategy revolving which digital touch points to tap into, you can paint a truly unique picture of your end user. The value of this profile isn’t confined to the digital world; brick & mortar branches, as well as support centres, are poised to reap the benefits. That’s why implementing a CDP is quite possibly the best way to aggregate ‘first party’ profiling data — it acts as a framework, massaging varied data output into a one-stop-shop of customer record truth.

And therein lies the magic of a CDP; it makes the data do the work for you.

Image for post
Image for post

Sounds pretty great right? Too good to be true? You’re probably thinking: “there’s got to be a catch! They must cost a small fortune to implement”

What if I told you that one of the most powerful, enterprise level CDPs on the market is available for free via Apache Open Source, and that it’s being continuously innovated upon as one of the foundations top level projects?

You Know Me

The initial vision of Apache Unomi was to forge a tool that could enable an enterprise in recognising the true value of a unified customer database. It was necessary for this tool to be incredibly easily to integrate with and functionally extend, suiting the unique organisational complexities of any given business.

Image for post
Image for post

It needed to provide marketers with a 360 degree view of their customers, but also enable them to build rapport beyond simply tracking them; trust is a huge factor when it comes to data-driven systems because, at the end of the day, we’re not points of data — we’re people.

The control of information is handed to the user; by asking them to trust you with their precious data, you’re empowering them — to the benefit of their final experience and your customer relationship. This is why privacy management is a core tenant of Unomi.

Image for post
Image for post

Unomi was submitted to the Apache Incubator program in October 2015 and as of March this year, it became a top level project. It’s an industry first, in that it is the first reference implementation of the OASIS CDP specification — OASIS being a standards consortium for the tech sector.

Lars Petersen, Co-Founder at digital services agency Altola, spoke of Unomi: “As we were developing a progressive web app (PWA) for a client, we were looking for a Customer Data Platform to store customer insights, such as behavioural and explicit customer data. Privacy was table stake for us, along with the flexibility to customise data schema and open API.”

He went on to say: “We selected Apache Unomi based on these parameters, we had it up and running on AWS in less than 30 min, and are very impressed with the maturity of the platform, its privacy by design and how easy it was to work with.”

Image for post
Image for post

The data gold rush is well and truly underway.

Almost every organisation is looking to bake data into their corporate foundation, in order to propel strategy and further develop customer relationships. ‘Big Data’ is at the centre of this, of that there’s no doubt — but it’s not an easy thing to just start doing.

With powerful, open source solutions available like Unomi — a tool which isn’t a black box and that puts your customer relationships at the forefront, whilst requiring much less setup than a data warehouse project — why wouldn’t you be looking at a CDP to revolutionise your approach?

I'm a perfectionist with realistic expectations, a recovering Sales Engineer turned Product Marketer, and I'm trying to be more cynical about being cynical.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store