How Cloud-Based MDM is Driving Digital Transformation and Customer Engagement
Digital tools are disrupting today’s business environment and require significant changes in operations, communications and selling. The growing number of sales channels, the abundance of product options and the emergence of mass personalization have increased consumers’ expectations and price sensitivity, leading to less brand loyalty than in the past — and it’s about to get much worse.
Consumers expect a consistent experience whether shopping in-store, online or via a mobile device. Delivering this type of seamless interaction is complex, as retailers need to synchronize accurate product and customer data across all channels, while managing hundreds of suppliers and thousands — or even millions — of SKUs. Meanwhile, growing assortments, demand for personalization and private label product opportunities all place an emphasis on the need for centralized master data.
No single system can contain all the information about a customer or product, nor is it designed to manage the complete life cycle of the data. To help resolve these challenges, many retailers are now turning to master data management (MDM) software.
Why Retailers Are Bringing MDM to the Cloud
While most MDM solutions today are deployed on-premise, e-commerce providers are looking for technology solution providers to take advantage of technologies and deployment options such as cloud and/or multitenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. By deploying MDM in the cloud, business participants can share and access data quicker to realize even faster time to value. However, this is often achieved at the expense of flexibility. Purpose-built MDM apps that are offered as SaaS are both market- and business-case specific, which may be the reason there has been an increase in demand for these solutions.
Understanding the customer more holistically in real time, and providing a true and reliable experience to them is now of utmost importance and will continue to be well into the future. Retailers want to configure MDM offerings easily and, due to the ability to deploy in the cloud, they want the MDM solution to go live in weeks instead of months or years, with a heavy focus toward business users. They also expect the solution to support the data created by multichannel transactions such as automatic free trial signups, paying via credit card, paying per use, etc.
Benefits of MDM-Driven Digital Transformation
For the last two years to three years, retailers have expressed interest in mastering multiple types of data (i.e., data domains), and relating those with one another to create a better customer experience and/or support their digital transformation. After all, mastering product data is key, understanding customer information is urgent and being able to connect that data is imperative as it allows them to address untapped opportunities. With MDM, retailers are kick-starting their digital transformation and accomplishing the following:
- gaining a single view of each customer’s information, through all channels and touchpoints;
- increasing revenue opportunities by onboarding new products, bundles and services rapidly through user-friendly automation and streamlined processes;
- understanding the customer’s total worth, influence and loyalty better by creating a golden record that connects through the entire information supply chain;
- creating a more accurate and informed view of customers and products by incorporating critical data elements from data sets within the enterprise or from a third party; and
- improving customer experience at the point of engagement, producing better insights and making better business decisions.
Creating an optimal shopping experience requires retailers to recognize each customer regardless of the point of contact. To achieve this, retailers need to be able to reconcile both product and customer records that are stored in disparate business systems, sometimes across departmental boundaries. By enabling retailers to manage the intersection of products and customers in an efficient and reliable way, MDM solutions provide the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the retail rainbow. Furthermore, they're a key driver in achieving an effective customer experience.
Christophe Marcant is senior vice president of strategy and communication for Stibo Systems, a provider of multidomain master data management (MDM) solutions.