CIOs and CMOs must partner on 'insight teams'

Customer insights are the new currency in today's digital world, yet too many companies can't seem to produce them quickly enough.

Arms flailing in an ocean of customer data, panicky marketers need the CIO to throw them a life line. That is, they need to know what to do with the data.

Before this can happen, though, the CIO must partner with the CMO to create an "insights team" and architect an "insights fabric" technology stack that can extract marketing insights, enable marketers to act on them, and test and analyze results in a feedback loop, says a Forrester report.

"Despite their investment in big data practices and technologies, many firms still paddle in a sea of data without the ability to prioritize results and find insights they can use," write Forrester analysts Brian Hopkins and Ted Schadler in the report. "One global bank told us, 'We are a company with so much data but very little insight, even with all the tools and capabilities in place. We are literally drowning in data and starving for insight.'"

Customer insights are the new currency in today's digital world, yet too many companies can't seem to produce them quickly enough. A big part of the problem is that everyone seems to be operating in silos and buying up technology independently of each other. At times, IT holds customer data hostage while marketing goes behind IT's back. The result: disconnected data and systems.

Few seem to understand what's at stake.

What customer insight means

A well-designed insights engine and process can change a company's fortunes. For instance, a Sephora customer can receive a promotional message over her mobile device as soon as she steps into a store. A large commercial bank found that new credit-card customers had a painful on-boarding experience and fixed it. Salespeople at Constellation Brands leverage insights to assist customer retailers in maximizing results of end-cap displays. Tesla Motor's insights gleaned from data in its connected cars will go into the design of a new autopilot system.

"After years of flailing, we now know that Facebook 'likes' don't drive sales -- only loyalty and referrals do," Hopkins and Schadler say. "An insights-to-execution process would have discovered this much sooner."

Forrester figures setting up a system that delivers customer insights will cost anywhere from $2 million to $10 million over two years, depending on how much data infrastructure already in place. Companies will have to hire data scientists and engineers, in order to create data insights teams of five to 15 people.

At the base of the technology stack is the "insights fabric" layer, which consists of data warehouses, data marts, OLAP, data hubs and cloud data sources and services. In the middle layer, there's data science workbench and agile BI, execution engines, data feed management, collaboration and governance tools. At the top of the stack are insights-driven applications.

CIOs have the tools

The good news is that CIOs already possess much of the technology needed to build the insights engine, from vendors such as Microsoft, SAS, Appian, Hadoop, IBM, Oracle, SAP, to name a few

"CIOs have a responsibility to implement and manage the business technology their firms need to understand and serve powerful customers," Hopkins and Schadler say. "Systems of insight play a vital role in transforming technology systems into this engine of business growth."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How challenger brands can win at biddable media

Challenger brands, especially in highly competitive markets, generally can’t match established players for media spend.

Chris Pittham

Managing director, Jaywing

The competitive advantage Australian retailers have over Amazon

With all of the hype around Amazon, many online retailers have been trying to understand how they can compete with the American retail giant.

Joel Milligan

Performance manager, Columbus Agency

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Insightful article from an AdTech perspective

Mehdi Partika

Predictions 2018: 5 ways the CMO role will change

Read more

Sounds like a bunch of convoluted business bullshit with no real substance or value. Business people deluding themselves into thinking th...

Bupa Customer

Best CX Companies List profiles: Bupa's Voice of the Customer project

Read more

This partnership seems to bring a lot of benefits.

Uk Driver

Deloitte announces new agency partnership to expand digital reality capabilities

Read more

It's all about the experience and it seems that understanding is finally full tilt!

Danny Mack

Building a robust digital customer experience

Read more

I am going to visit Australia))) nice place ... one of the most attractive

Carly Julia

Tourism Australia aims for youth travel market with dedicated news channel

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in