Customer Data Integration or CDI is the process of combining customer information from various customer data resources, like sales process information, shipping process information and bookkeeping process information resources, of an organization. It involves a combination or technologies and processes to track, store and share customer data. Customer data integration provides timely, complete and accurate analytics and reports that help an enterprise to enhance its customer relationship management (CRM).
The CRM-based software programs of CDI solutions help the systems to identify each customer separately. These software programs tracks a particular customer’s preferences, activities, transactions and number of visits etc. CDI systems then provide specified reports about each customer, especially about good customer. This feature helps the companies to understand each customer individually and design customized plans for each of them.
Today customer data integration practices are carried out by all sorts of, small, medium and large, business organizations. CDI maximizes the business intelligence initiatives and CRM practices. A perfect CDI solution ensures the automation of all company departments and timely reports the blocks in information channels. More over implementing a customer data integration system reduces all company working expenditure and manual paper works.
The advantages of using customer data integration solutions over manual solutions include fully automated business procedure, better customer contact management and lead management, specific customer database management, enhancement in specific marketing programs like direct marketing and e-mail marketing, easy sales tracking, elimination of duplicate and false data entry, time savings and easy access to all data resources. CDI solutions also help in budget preparing, trouble shooting and activity management processes.
The main technologies used for building a customer data integration solution are Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), Enterprise Information Integration (EII) and Data Quality (DQ) tools. ETL transfers large volume of information in batch-mode, EII is responsible for sharing of queries and DQ tools tracks information resources. Today a variety of other technologies are also used to increase the modularity of the CDI solutions.
For proper implementation of a perfect customer data integration solution, the company must have a proper customer data integration strategy. The planning must be done at the basic step. Consulting a data integration expert at the time of business planning can help you to avoid data problems in future. Search, evaluate and select the type of data integration hardware and software that suits to your business. Although the initial cost for implementing a CDI system may be quite high, it can save lot of money in the long run.
Today open source customer data integration solutions are the trend. These solutions come in standard formats and allow you to customize them according to your business needs. Open source CDI solutions also enable you to stay flexible with your business strategy. The major thing to concern when purchasing open source CDI software is making sure that your company has enough technical assistance to customize the software.
If you are till afraid of the initial cost, you can hire a web-based customer data integration service. There are many on-demand CRM service providers who offer all types of customer data integration services. These services are examples of SaaS (Software as a Service) which are come to you for a low monthly fee. In fact, today most small and medium sized companies prefer on-demand CDI services as they eliminate the maintenance cost and working capital of the company. One additional benefit of these services are global access, you can retrieve your data from any where in the world at any time. Today a handful of companies offer open source on demand CDI solutions, which combine the merits of both solutions.