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Customer Master Data : Plan or Perish

“Customer” – looks like the most coveted entity in a CRM application. Isn’t it? Of course that is the back-bone of any CRM application, but what if I say that its database is often the primary reason for many CRM implementations failures and lack of user adoption. Sounds intriguing, but it’s true. Turn the clock behind and sense that as users or consultants, have we not found it to be one of the most neglected or maligned entity in the system. Probably yes….

Data duplication, data redundancy, data mismatch, data obsolescence are some of the often seen issues in the customer master data in CRM applications. To compound the problem, visualize the integrated scenarios between CRM and ERP. Chances are that missing golden clients, absence of customer hierarchies, un-mapped customer life cycles processes etc. would be giving headaches to CIOs and business users alike.

 

So where is the solution ? The solution begins with the acceptance of the fact that customer master data needs a maintenance strategy which should be reviewed periodically. SOX based or similar validation checks, identification of golden source clients, proper data archival strategy with periodic data de-duplication or cleansing effort can go a long way to a healthy customer data base, which in turn is the foundation of a successful CRM application.

 

Additional data review or compliance with third party databases like Dun & Bradstreet can also help in keeping your customer master data up to date. Otherwise you would be looking for your ERP vendor “JD Edwards” in your customer master database and its ownership would have already got changed twice in few years time frame.

 

So shouldn’t I conclude by saying that “Customer data devo bhavah”, which means treat your customer master data like a divine entity !!!

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