4 January 2024
Published by Advisible

What to Know if You’re Investing in Customer 360

‘Must Knows’ If You’re Investing in Customer 360

Customer 360 is a holistic solution for enterprises and businesses that want to get serious when it comes to making the right decisions to engage their customers. But by no means is it a quick fix.

Implementing customer 360 takes a collaborative effort across various team members across your management, analyst, data, IT and quality assurance teams. It also requires careful planning, data governance, user adoption and a sound understanding of the best practices to set up. 

We hope with this blog that we are able to demystify the Customer 360 data model, so you can anticipate whether you require it in your organisation and how to implement it when you do. 

  • How to Implement Customer 360
  • Customer 360 Deliverables
  • The Roles and Responsibilities of a Customer 360 Implementation Team
  • Project Risks of a Customer 360 Implementation


Learn more about how One51 can help your organisation with a bespoke Customer 360 solution

How to implement Customer 360

A Customer 360 implementation is a complex endeavour that requires careful planning, coordination and collaboration across departments in your business. However, there are several steps that organisations across the board can follow.

Please note that the specific implementation process may vary depending on the company’s size, industry, and existing systems.

  1. Define Goals and Objectives: Identify the specific business outcomes you aim to achieve, such as improving customer satisfaction, increasing sales, or enhancing marketing effectiveness.

  2.  Assess Data Sources: Identify and assess the various data sources within your organisation that hold customer-related information. This may include CRM systems, marketing platforms, sales databases, customer support systems, e-commerce platforms, social media, and others. Determine the quality, accessibility, and relevance of the data from each source.

  3.  Data Integration and Consolidation: Establish a data integration strategy to bring customer data from different sources into a central repository or data warehouse. This may involve data cleansing, transformation, and mapping to ensure consistency and accuracy.

  4.  Data Governance and Security: Define data access controls, data ownership, and privacy policies to protect customer information.

  5.  Establish Data Model and Schema: Design a data model or schema that represents the relationships and attributes of customer data. Determine the critical data elements and how they will be organised and connected to provide a unified view of each customer.

  6.  Stakeholder Engagement and Training: Engage relevant stakeholders across departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, and IT, to ensure their buy-in and collaboration in utilising the Customer 360 insights. Train and support staff working with the new customer data system.

  7.  Downstream System Integration (Customer Data Platform (CDP) or CRM Integration): If your organisation uses a Customer Data Platform (CDP) or a CRM system, integrate the unified customer data with these platforms to enhance their capabilities. This allows you to leverage the consolidated customer view in day-to-day operations, marketing campaigns, sales activities, and customer service interactions.

  8. Data Analytics and Insights: Implement data analytics tools and techniques to derive actionable insights from customer data. This may include segmentation analysis, customer behaviour analysis, predictive modelling, and sentiment analysis to understand customers better.

  9.  Personalisation and Customer Engagement: Leverage the unified customer view to deliver personalised experiences and engage customers across various touchpoints. Use the insights gained from Customer 360 to tailor marketing campaigns, customer service interactions, and product recommendations to meet individual customer needs.

  10. Continuous Improvement: Customer 360 implementation is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your customer data strategy, refine data integration processes, and update data models as needed. Regularly assess the quality and relevance of the data to ensure it remains accurate and up to date.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a Customer 360 implementation team?

Implementing a Customer 360 project involves a collaborative effort from various team members across different organisational roles and functions. 

Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of a Customer 360 implementation team:

  • Project Manager: The project manager oversees the entire Customer 360 project, ensuring its successful planning, execution, and completion. They coordinate activities, manage timelines, allocate resources, and ensure effective communication among team members and stakeholders.

  • Business Analyst: The business analyst gathers and analyses requirements from stakeholders and translates them into functional specifications for the Customer 360 solution. They work closely with business users to understand their needs, document use cases, and ensure the solution aligns with the organisation’s objectives.

  • Data Architect: The data architect designs the data model and schema for the Customer 360 solution, ensuring it can accommodate the required data elements, relationships, and hierarchies. They collaborate with other team members to define data integration strategies, cleansing rules, and quality standards.

  • Data Engineer: The data engineer implements the data integration and consolidation processes. They extract data from various sources, transform it to meet the requirements of the data model, load it into the centralised repository or data warehouse, and ensure the smooth flow of data across systems.

  • Data Steward: The data steward is responsible for data governance within the Customer 360 project. They define data ownership, establish data quality rules, monitor data integrity, and enforce privacy and security policies. They also collaborate with business users and IT teams to resolve data-related issues and ensure compliance with regulations.

  • Data Analyst: The data analyst performs data profiling, analysis, and interpretation to derive meaningful insights from the Customer 360 data. They identify trends, patterns, and correlations within the data and provide reports or visualisations that facilitate data-driven decision-making.

  • Marketing/Sales/Customer Service Representatives: Marketing, sales, or customer service representatives provide domain expertise and contribute to the requirements-gathering process. They provide insights into customer needs, preferences, and pain points, ensuring the Customer 360 solution aligns with their functional requirements.

  • Change Management Specialist: The change management specialist focuses on managing the organisational and cultural changes of implementing a Customer 360 project. They communicate the project’s benefits, address user concerns, provide training and support, and drive user adoption and engagement.

  • Quality Assurance/Testers: Quality assurance team members are responsible for testing the Customer 360 solution to ensure its functionality, performance, and usability. They conduct unit, integration, and user acceptance tests to identify and address any issues or bugs.

  • IT Development Team: The IT development team provides the guidelines for the Customer 360 implementation. This is done following the organisation’s IT standards. In addition, they define how the Customer 360 data fits into the Enterprise Architecture.

Some team members may wear multiple hats or additional roles may be involved based on the project’s complexity. Effective collaboration, communication, and coordination among team members are crucial for successfully implementing a Customer 360 project.

Customer 360 Deliverables

The deliverables for the Customer 360 project can vary depending on the specific goals and requirements of the organisation. 

However, here are some typical deliverables that can be expected in a Customer 360 project:

  1. Customer Data Integration Plan: This document outlines the strategy and approach for integrating customer data from various sources, including data mappings, data transformation rules, and data consolidation techniques.

  2. Customer Data Model: A well-defined data model or schema that represents the structure and relationships of customer data. This includes the entities, attributes, and relationships necessary to create a unified view of each customer.

  3. Data Integration and Consolidation: The implementation of the data integration plan, resulting in a consolidated and centralised repository or data warehouse that houses the unified customer data.

  4. Data Quality Checks and Data Cleansing Process: Documentation of the analysis and the steps taken to improve data quality, including identification and resolution of duplicate records, data inconsistencies, and data cleansing activities.

  5.  Data Governance Policies and Procedures: Documentation outlining policies, procedures, and guidelines for managing and maintaining customer data. This includes data ownership, access controls, security measures, and privacy policies.

  6.  Personalisation and Segmentation Strategies: Strategies and guidelines for leveraging the Customer 360 view to personalise customer experiences and develop targeted marketing campaigns based on customer segmentation analysis.

  7.  Customer 360 Dashboard: A user-friendly and intuitive dashboard visually representing the 360 view. It allows stakeholders to explore and analyse customer data, key metrics, and gain insights into customer behaviour and trends.

  8.  Data Privacy and Compliance Documentation: Documentation demonstrating compliance with data privacy regulations and outlining measures taken to ensure the protection and privacy of customer data.

  9.  Training Materials and User Guides: Training materials and user guides to educate stakeholders and end-users on how to access and utilise the Customer 360 data and related tools effectively.

  10. Ongoing Maintenance and Support Plan: A plan outlining the ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and support required to ensure the accuracy, relevance, and reliability of the Customer 360 data. This includes data governance processes, data stewardship responsibilities, and regular data quality checks.

What are the project risks for a Customer 360 implementation?

Implementing a Customer 360 project comes with its own set of risks and challenges to consider.

Here are the most common Customer 360 project risks associated with implementation:

  1. Data Quality Issues: Poor data quality, including duplicates, incomplete, or inaccurate data, can hinder the success of a Customer 360 implementation. Inadequate data cleansing and validation processes may result in unreliable insights and decisions based on flawed data.

  2. Data Integration Challenges: Integrating customer data from various systems and sources can be complex, mainly when dealing with disparate data formats, inconsistent data structures, or incompatible systems. Integration challenges can lead to delays, data discrepancies, or incomplete customer profiles.

  3. Overall Technical Complexity: Implementing a Customer 360 solution involves technical complexities, such as data extraction, transformation, and integration. Integrating multiple systems, ensuring data security, and managing scalability can pose challenges, requiring specialised technical expertise.

  4. Stakeholder Resistance: Resistance or lack of support from stakeholders, including employees, departments, or executives, can impede the success of a Customer 360 project. Lack of buy-in, inadequate communication, or perceived threats to job roles can hinder project progress and adoption.

  5. Privacy and Compliance Risks: Customer data privacy and compliance with relevant regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA, present potential risks. Failure to adequately address privacy concerns or adhere to data protection regulations can result in legal and reputational consequences for the organisation.

  6. Change Management and User Adoption: Introducing a Customer 360 solution may require changes in processes, roles, or responsibilities. Insufficient change management, including end-user resistance, lack of training, or inadequate communication, can impact the user adoption and utilisation of the system.

  7. Scalability and Performance: As the volume of customer data grows, ensuring the scalability and performance of the Customer 360 solution becomes crucial. Inadequate infrastructure, slow data retrieval or analysis, or system bottlenecks can impact the effectiveness and responsiveness of the solution.

  8. Cost Overruns and Budget Constraints: Customer 360 implementations can be resource-intensive, with costs associated with data integration, system upgrades, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance. Budget constraints, underestimated costs, or scope creep can lead to cost overruns and potential compromises in project quality.

  9. Vendor or Technology Dependency: If relying on third-party vendors or technology providers for the Customer 360 solution, there may be risks associated with vendor reliability, support, or changes in the technology landscape. Dependency on external parties can introduce uncertainties and potential disruptions.

  10. Lack of Continuous Improvement: Failing to establish processes for ongoing data governance, data quality monitoring, and system enhancements can impact the long-term success of a Customer 360 project. Without continuous improvement efforts, data quality and relevance may degrade over time.

To mitigate these risks, conducting thorough risk assessments, developing mitigation strategies, establishing robust data governance practices, engaging stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring adequate change management and training, and regularly monitoring and evaluating the system’s performance and effectiveness are essential.

Implementing Customer 360 is a strategic initiative towards understanding customers better, making data-driven decisions, delivering personalised experiences, and ultimately driving business success in today’s customer-centric marketplace. 

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