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Is a centralized source of customer information Nirvana?

Last week I was visiting with a client and the discussion of Nirvana for making business decisions came up. Over the course of two days we talked about the idea that Nirvana is having the holistic view of the customer in a centralized and available system.

While we didn’t specifically define holistic, we discussed having things like a summary of executive discussions, customer involvement on social networks, customer purchase history, and customer feedback from surveys.

While the sheer volume of data can seem overwhelming, imagine all of the things one could do with that type of system.

Here are a few ideas:

– You can conduct sophisticated customer segmentation analysis, enabling the delivery of a more tailored value proposition.

– The strategic account management function would have access to the customer insight globally. They would have the tools to think globally and respond locally.

– The product development function would have access to the broader customer and market needs equipping them with insights to create new customer value.

After we overcome the first hurdle of capturing the information, according to this New York Times article, the next challenge is to think big.

In reference to a machine that will quickly identify the DNA sequence through a strand of hair, the article states, "The big question is whether the person on the other side of that machine will have the wherewithal to do something interesting with an almost limitless supply of genetic information."

I have to believe that many customer strategists would agree that Nirvana is having this system and being able to think big about all of the ways it could be used. Do you?

Note: This post was originally published in Customer Connection on 10/15/2009.

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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0 thoughts on “Is a centralized source of customer information Nirvana?

  1. The system you describe is an enterprise data warehouse and some companies are reasonably close to this state. After speding a billion dollars on the data, they don’t have sufficient skilled people to do the analysis and strategy work – and since staff are harder to justify than technology, most of the investment is worthless. Yes this is immensely valueable and useful data, but without people working with it, playing with it and just thinking about it nothing happens. Truly pathetic but often reality.

    PS Why not allow html in comments? It gives an incentive to commentor and costs nothing. Where is the CRM thinking here…. ?

  2. David,
    You raise a good point about availability of resources. The New York Times article that is included in the post addresses whether or not the resources will be able to "think big" about how to use the information, but it doesn’t address whether or not the resources will be available.

    I’m interested in hearing more about the cases where companies are reasonably close. Are there any cases or articles you would recommend?

    Regarding the html, according to Compendium Blogware (, they do not allow html in the comments for security reasons and because comments are not intended to be a blog post. I’m like you and am used to blog comments that allow html.

    Thanks for including your thoughts here. It is a good point that cannot be overlooked.

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