Customer data integration, or CDI, is the process of combining customer information from various customer data resources, such as an organization’s sales process information, shipping process information, and accounting process information resources. It is a combination of technologies and processes for tracking, storing and sharing customer data. Customer data integration provides timely, complete, and accurate analytics and reports that help a business improve its customer relationship management (CRM).
The CRM-based software programs from CDI solutions help the systems to identify each customer separately. These software programs track a particular customer’s preferences, activities, transactions and number of visits, etc. CDI systems then provide specific reports about each customer, particularly good customers. This feature helps companies understand each customer individually and design tailored plans for each of them.
Today, customer data integration practices are carried out by all types of small, medium and large business organizations. CDI maximizes business intelligence initiatives and CRM practices. A perfect CDI solution ensures the automation of all areas of the company and promptly reports the blocks in information channels. Additionally, implementing a customer data integration system reduces the company’s overall labor and manual paperwork.
The advantages of using customer data integration solutions over manual solutions include fully automated business processes, better customer contact management and lead management, specific customer database management, improvement of specific marketing programs such as direct marketing and email marketing, easy sales tracking, elimination of double and incorrect data entry, time saving and easy access on all data resources. CDI solutions also help with budgeting, troubleshooting, and activity management processes.
The main technologies used to build a customer data integration solution are Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), Enterprise Information Integration (EII) and Data Quality (DQ) tools. ETL transfers large amounts of information in batch mode, EII is responsible for query sharing, and DQ tools track information assets. A variety of other technologies are also used today to increase the modularity of CDI solutions.
For the proper implementation of a perfect customer data integration solution, the company must have an appropriate customer data integration strategy. The planning must be done in the basic step. Consulting a data integration expert at the time of business planning can help you avoid data problems in the future. Find, evaluate, and choose the type of data integration hardware and software that’s right for your business. Although the initial cost of implementing a CDI system can be quite high, it can save a lot of money in the long run.
Today, open-source customer data integration solutions are trending. These solutions are available in standard formats and can be customized to meet your business needs. Open source CDI solutions also allow you to remain flexible in your business strategy. The most important thing to consider when purchasing open source CDI software is to ensure that your company has enough technical support to customize the software.
If you’re concerned about the initial costs, you can hire a web-based customer data integration service. There are many on-demand CRM service providers that offer all kinds of customer data integration services. These services are examples of SaaS (Software as a Service) that you can get for a small monthly fee. In fact, most small and medium-sized businesses today prefer on-demand CDI services because they eliminate the maintenance costs and business working capital. Another benefit of these services is global access, you can access your data anytime, anywhere in the world. Today, a handful of companies offer open-source, on-demand CDI solutions that combine the best of both worlds.