• Data governance programs loom larger than ever in the big data era

    Big data, when managed properly, can be a blessing to businesses fighting to gain greater insights and a competitive edge in the global marketplace. And it can be a curse to companies unprepared to handle the untold x-bytes of unstructured data unceasingly pouring into their coffers. That's the dilemma most organizations wake up to each day, and as a result, they capture only a fraction of the value that big data analytics promises. At no time is there greater urgency for companies to establish data handling policies and procedures that only good data governance programs can provide.

    June's Business Information opens with a stern warning in our editor's note: Don't wait till it's too late to initiate a data governance program. Big data governance can be a highly complex process. Its tentacles reach into most aspects of data management, from data gathering, integration and preparation to quality control. Even more difficult is securing the cooperation of a potentially reluctant and resistant workforce intimidated by thoughts of a data police force regulating and scrutinizing their work. For those reasons, most companies have taken the path of least resistance and avoided setting up formal and reliable data governance programs -- much to their own peril.

    Our cover story then stresses the importance of establishing data governance policies dedicated to placing customers first. The lack of such rules has led to customer privacy violations, millions of lost dollars in legal settlements and famous brands nearly destroyed. Data governance provides the necessary checks and balances that help companies adhere to responsible behavior when they probe into the minds and habits of their customers. In our feature, we examine companies that have taken on the challenge of governing their vast data lakes by piecing together various governance tools and mechanisms in do-it-yourself fashion. And we devote numerous more features and columns to help companies apply data governance principles in ways that can bring order to chaotic big data environments.

    Also in this issue, see how a small wine shop uses ready-made big data analytics to outsmart much larger stores as they all compete in the same neighborhood for the same customers.

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  • Don't wait until it's too late to build a data governance model

    As companies amass data from multiple sources, they lose control over data quality and accuracy. Like it or not, it's time to halt the data free-for-all and apply data governance.Continue Reading

  • Finding the way to different types of databases, big data tools

    In a Q&A, EMA analyst John Myers advises IT teams to look at big data workloads when sorting through new and different types of databases and open source tools. His word on Spark? It's still young.Continue Reading

  • Salesforce CPQ in Service Cloud extends data integration strategy

    Salesforce recently extended its CPQ application to Service Cloud, which further fleshes out its customer data integration strategy.Continue Reading

  • Creative multichannel strategies improve customer experience

    Social media, live chats, customer communities, email messages, and mobile apps are some of the many communication channels bursting with customer data. Collecting this data can mean you're "halfway there," but many companies are "livin' on a prayer" when it comes to mining real value and translating information into effective marketing and sales strategies that improve customer experience.

    Creating a unified multichannel experience may be a priority for most companies, yet many lack the necessary tools and infrastructure to unify departmental silos, integrate their information systems, map the customer journey and deliver the right message at the right time. Worse yet, many businesses actually think they're doing a good job of reaching out to their customers with targeted messages, while most of their customers don't, according to one survey. Too little love is a problem, but so is too much.

    In this e-book chapter, Executive Editor Lauren Horwitz emphasizes how companies that know their customers can create successful marketing campaigns, simplify customer access and unify channels of communication, all of which can improve customer experience. To achieve those goals, trial and error is often required, as illustrated by the journeys of three companies profiled in this chapter. Horwitz takes readers along these businesses' sometimes bumpy road to gaining new customers and solidifying the loyalty of old customers.

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  • How SAP QIM provides comprehensive insight into customer complaints

    Companies can use SAP's Quality Issue Management application to get a 360-degree view of customer complaints, from their origin through the complaints handling process.Continue Reading

  • Poor customer data management equals poor customer experience

    When companies abuse customer data, they abuse the customer relationship. Manage customer data as carefully as you would your own corporate data.Continue Reading

  • Four steps to formulate your customer data management strategy

    Forrester's Mike Gualtieri details how to develop a unified plan for managing customer data that gives business users what they need to succeed.Continue Reading

  • Social CRM customer data management can be the hard part

    Some companies are diving headfirst into social CRM initiatives, but as with traditional CRM, they need to be sure to address the data.Continue Reading

  • Best practices in managing customer data

    A survey by Aberdeen found that effective customer data management initiatives have executive endorsement, a centralized location and don't necessarily need master data management.Continue Reading