The wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has created monumental changes in many people’s lives. Among them, in May of 2020, my octogenarian mother moved into memory care from living on her own. While it’s been challenging, I am not alone in this. Different elements of mom’s care have been divided between my sister and me. Her email account is still active, and we monitor it between us. It’s a demonstration of how out of touch a business can be in a digital environment.

For example, an email to an 80-something-year-old with an offer to refinance a house that’s been paid off for at least 10 years, at the most elemental level, is a segmentation issue for a marketer in a digital environment. [It goes beyond that to the total customer experience, but for the sake of this article, we’ll limit it to a segmentation issue.] That said, I’m certain a different, and hopefully, more helpful or relevant offer would have been made had my mother walked into the bank.

How You Adapt and Embrace Digital Is Your Competitive Advantage

Consumers’ digital expectations have grown dramatically, driven in large part by once-loyal patrons of brick-and-mortar stores who — out of absolute necessity — joined digital enthusiasts online in buying every product and service imaginable. The personalized buying experience that many consumers were accustomed to receiving from brick-and-mortar establishments before the digital shift is expected not only during online transactions — but with consistency across all interactions regardless of channel.

Organizations have embraced digitalization as well. Gartner defines digitalization as “the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” As a result, companies have invested in a proliferation of applications that are built-for-purpose that generate and capture valuable data about customers, their preferences and their behaviors.

Related Article: Do You Really Know Who Your Customers Are?

Silos Are a Natural Outcome of the Speed of Digital

The post-pandemic explosion of digital data poses significant challenges to brands that want to remain competitive in this digital economy. Among them are the new data silos that now exist, often at a departmental level, that must operate in concert with one another to connect and create seamless customer experiences.

acceleration of silos
Harnessing and connecting the data across those applications requires intentional focus to produce the insights needed to adjust your outreach, build trust and confidence and foster growth. With more than 25% of businesses dealing with between 1,000 and 9,999 data sources, integrating, reconciling and managing this data to get to its value has also become exponentially more challenging.

A recent survey of global Chief Data Officers (CDOs) by IDC indicates that high levels of data fragmentation are forcing 37% of data leaders to spend most of their time grappling with data complexity rather than driving business transformation. Conversely, organizations with mature data management generate up to 250% more business value from their data than companies with less data maturity.

Learning Opportunities

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

Organizations with high data management maturity do four things differently to help them accelerate digital transformation.

  • Design – They build in a complete data architectural layer that is designed to address the collection, storage and use of data across various technology deployment models, such as on-premises, cloud and hybrid solutions.
  • Simplify – They address the increased complexity and technical debt of managing the integrations between point solution after point solution by standardizing all data management capabilities across the organization to simplify the implementation of the data architecture.
  • Automate – They operationalize artificial intelligence (AI) for the automation of data management activities to handle the growth in the number of data sources and the volume of data (forecasted by IDC at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% between 2020–2025), resulting in increased data availability and consistent use of data for digital transformation.
  • Scale – They employ cloud-native services to quickly and easily allocate resources to scale data management services to respond to changing demands with agility.

Related Article: A Multifaceted, Compliant Approach to Collecting Customer Data

Partner With Your Data Leaders

What’s the best approach for you to take to accelerate your data leadership? As a marketer, you should partner with your IT counterparts or CDO to:

  • Create a data strategy that maps data analytics, and processes to your business outcomes, then overlay the required technical capabilities to design your data architecture. A strong data strategy and architecture speeds deployment, minimizes delivery risk, reduces cost of ownership and increases return on investment.
  • Evaluate your current capabilities against your data architecture and do a gap analysis. Look for opportunities to expand the depth and breadth of functionality, while reducing complexity by consolidating point solutions and improving integration.
  • Look for ways to increase productivity by automating manual data management tasks and augmenting human activity with recommendations and insights. Determine opportunities to use AI and metadata for the necessary steps of data discovery, cataloging, integration, cleansing, mastering, governance and sharing.
  • Apply modern cloud-native architecture principles to benefit from the scalability, agility and resiliency of cloud infrastructures, allowing you to quickly and easily scale resources to meet changing demands.

The Time to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation Is Now

When customers receive irrelevant offers or emails, two things happen: they tune out, and they don’t forget. Every email that comes to my mother that is off-point, reinforces how out-of-touch a brand can be.

Understanding consumer life stage, sentiment, behavior, attitudes and privacy preferences has never been more important than during this period of pandemic recovery, adjustment and reconnecting. Digital transformation is accelerating across the globe and customers are even more connected and tethered to digital devices. With your data as your strategic asset, the time is now to take this moment and champion change in your company.

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