Why Expectations Of Your Customer Data Systems Are Unrealistic

Posted by anthillsoftwareleeds in Insights - Last updated

When it comes to your customer data systems, there are three essential facets.

Transparency. Uniformity. Security.

Research suggests, however, that for many organisations; the ability to fulfil these three traits is vastly overestimated.

An in depth report from Alation found that…

“Two-thirds of respondents believe their company’s data culture ranks in the top tier among its peers.

In reality, most are falling short in getting data practices and technologies adopted throughout their companies.”


So why do so many businesses have such unrealistic expectations?

And why do so many struggle to adopt and integrate new systems into their operational day to day?

The Reality Of Customer Data Systems

For companies large and small, the intention is often there to operate effectively and efficiently.

Yet in many cases, a lack of evolution has rendered practices either broken or outdated. Over time, tweaks have been made or additional sections bolted on resulting in systems morphing out of their initial specification.

This creates problems as data becomes siloed at best or unactionable at worst. The information may well be there, but nothing useful can be done with it.

Simply put, organisations serious about growth need to be constantly assessing and evaluating processes. This includes how customer data is handled and utilised; both internally and externally.

Building your 21st-century business on scraps of paper, outdated excel files or handwritten notes simply isn’t sustainable.

Thinking, planning, and building digitally sets you up for sustained growth.

In the afore mentioned Alation report, “data culture” was measured as the ability to find, analyse and govern customer data. Strikingly…

“Fewer than 15% say that all their departments are capable in one of these disciplines.”


This statistic alone should set alarm bells ringing.

To help tackle the issue head on, and minimise the risks of lacking transparency, uniformity and security, this article will dive into how to achieve these traits and turn unrealistic expectations into pragmatic reality.

Achieving Transparency

“58% of the top-tier data culture companies are investing in their capacity for collaboration.”

The New Stack

Transparency facilitates action. More importantly, it enables several individuals to act as an informed unit with decisions made from the same starting point.

If two colleagues, one in Belfast and one in Birmingham, are speaking to the same organisation, there needs to be a level of alignment.

Should they enter their interactions informed by opposing data sources, there is a serious risk of the business looking amateurish.

On a more local scale, if a customer interacts with two different people in store and they haven’t got access to the same data, duplication of efforts is commonplace and the customer can become frustrated at the requirement for repetition.

Transparency across customer data systems allows you to provide a greater impact with all accurate information stored in one place.

By making the relevant data accessible to the relevant parties, less time is wasted in chasing colleagues for insight. It can instead be spent on initiating effective action for prospects and customers alike.

Achieving Uniformity

“83% of companies suffer from data inaccuracy.”


In essence, avoid data silos at all costs.

Not only do they see companies run the risk of critical business decisions being based off inaccurate data, they also act as a huge drain on precious resources.

You’ve hired your employees for a reason, to solve problems and provide expertise.

They are not there to cross check vital information that has a direct impact upon their ability to better serve customers.

According to consulting firm, McKinsey…

“The average worker spends nearly 20% of their time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks”.


With data uniformity in place, that 20% of time can be put to much better use.

Equally, if senior leadership teams are making decisions based on inaccurate data, there is a real risk of the wrong choice being made. Such a situation could have serious, long term ramifications.

Having a single source of truth (SSOT) allows everyone to quickly access the right information and sing from the same hymn sheet no matter their role or location.

Instead of having to sift through internal messaging, ERP systems, email and attached documents, a SSOT increases efficiency and drives productivity.

Achieving Security

“Only 34% of decision-makers report that they feel confident in the reliability of the information they use.”


In the age of GDPR, customer data systems have to be secure. That goes without saying.

However, there is more to data security beyond being a legal requirement. A secure database actually helps a business achieve all three of the essential facets of a customer data system.

Think of security not only in terms of protecting private customer data. It also consists of your capacity to effectively serve the very same clients.

If your customer data systems currently consist of isolated spreadsheets, or stacks of paper documentation, the information you need to perform to your full potential can’t be considered truly secure.

Keeping customer data in one, unique company wide location helps ensure people, both within and without of the business, only see the information they need to.

Having one system, with tiered accounts, ensures not only security, but uniformity for consistency.

Likewise, selective access ensures transparency across the data that team members of all levels of seniority require to operate effectively.

Customer data systems don’t have to be a challenge, yet understanding if your expectations of your current infrastructure are unrealistic is certainly worth understanding.

Only when your systems are secure, aligned and accessible to all can you truly serve your customers to full effect.

Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.

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