A long time ago in a galaxy that seems far away from our current business climate, marketers and sales reps managed customer information on individual cards affixed to a plastic dispenser. Now, the mythical Rolodex is long gone. In its place, multi-billion dollar industries offering a dizzying array of choices for the modern enterprise have arisen.
For years, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions were thought of as the answer. In recent years, customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged to challenge CRM’s dominance. And now, there’s a new entrant into the debate: the SAP Customer Data Cloud from Gigya.
In this article, we’ll analyze all three solutions and show how SAP Customer Data Cloud offers a unique set of capabilities that can help today’s enterprise create trusted, relevant and personalized customer relationships in the digital age.
CRMs, CDPs and SAP Customer Data Cloud, Oh My!
CRM is a juggernaut. In 2017, this market grew to $39.5 billion, surpassing database management systems as the largest in the software industry. Vendors in this market offer software solutions that help improve a business’ relationship with customers and prospects through contact management, sales management, productivity and more.
The CDP market is growing fast and is expected to reach more the $3.2 billion by 2023. CDP vendors offer non-technical marketer-managed systems that create unified customer databases that are accessible to other systems. They consolidate and integrate data from multiple silos into a single repository that supplies accurate customer data to analytical and operational systems throughout the martech stack.
SAP Customer Data Cloud leads the emerging customer identity and access management and enterprise preference management categories. Our cloud-based software solutions help businesses securely identify consumers across devices and channels to drive registrations and engagement, manage their permissions and consent across their entire lifecycle, and transform data into unified customer profiles that are governed, orchestrated and analyzed from a central and secure environment.
The Key Similarity: Profile Data to Unlock Personalized Customer Experiences
It’s easy to see how marketers and the c-suite can be confused by the three types of solutions because each one promises to create value-loaded customer profiles that can be leveraged to build one-to-one, deeply personalized customer experiences. Yet if you dig deeper, requirements and outcomes often vary widely.
Built with structured data attributes, a CRM profile typically includes the details salespeople and account managers need about to understand about customers and prospects during a sales process. Through integrations with other customer engagement systems, the profile may include a consumer’s purchase history, engagement history and “permission to contact” status, among other important data points.
CDPs, on the other hand, are mainly geared toward marketers. They enable businesses to access, measure and analyze consumer data to determine new ways to personalize engagements at scale across different brands and channels. Built with structured and unstructured data, profiles in a CDP help with marketers conduct deep analysis of customer behavior, provide advanced business intelligence into how various customer data interrelates, and uncover new ways of engaging with these customers. Unlike a CRM, CDPs are designed to ingest huge volumes of data. They add data quality management, analytics features, and machine learning capabilities to provide robust data intelligence and help add value to these attributes.
Then, there is the emerging customer data management category. SAP Customer Data Cloud, for example, offers solutions that support marketing, sales and customer service use cases through single, unified customer profiles built from first-party data. Importantly, these profiles include the all-important element of customer consent and preferences, and can be governed centrally to ensure accuracy and orchestrated across the enterprise to drive trusted personalization at scale. In addition, this orchestration is bi-directional through continuous data synchronization, so customer data changes made in downstream applications and services are reflected in the unified profile in real time.
As you can see, all three of these types of solutions provide valuable customer insights by collecting, tracking and managing customer data. And, we can also see the obvious differentiation between CRM – designed to manage data for the salesforce – and a CDP – designed to provide marketers with deeper insights about their audience and the throughput to the rest of the technology stack to act on them.
So, the question becomes: how does customer data management – and in particular SAP Customer Data Cloud – differ from these other models?
Four Main Points of Differentiation for SAP Customer Data Cloud
Here are four examples of key functionality included in SAP Customer Data Cloud that are limited in the other solutions.
Consent and Preference Data Capture
In the wake of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ahead of other major regional data privacy laws, consent and preference data management has become a top priority for businesses across the globe. While CDP and CRM solutions may be able to track some level of this data, SAP Customer Data Cloud offers a total enterprise solution, including the ability to capture consent to new versions of terms and policies when business needs dictate. It’s worth noting that since the launch of its solution for this issue until the time of this writing, SAP Customer Data Cloud has captured more than 1.2 billion consent records.
An Audit-Ready Environment
Designed with the evolving data protection landscape in mind, SAP Customer Data Cloud stores profile, preference and consent data in an audit-ready environment. These attributes are stored for seven years and can be displayed in easy-to-read timeline formats in the customer’s profile. This can help reduce time, costs, and risk when customers or regional regulators ask about a data subject’s consent status during a particular time period.
Customer Control of Personal Data
Customer data isn’t static. Names and addresses change. Likes and interests evolve. Email addresses come and go. More importantly: people’s views on consent and communication preferences can shift. Data privacy regulations, like GDPR, require businesses to provide customers with the ability to control this data. CRMs and CDPs are generally reliant on other systems to effect these fundamental changes.
Through the self-service preference center offered by SAP Customer Data Cloud, a business can put the customer in direct control of his or her personal data, including preferences and consent agreements. Importantly, any changes a customer makes, on whatever device and channel, are synchronized with downstream applications and services in real time. The end result: brands increase all-valuable customer trust while reducing regulatory risk.
The “X-Factor” in CX: Customer Identity
Neither CRMs nor CDPs specialize in customer identity. Instead, they rely on integrations with e-commerce, content management systems, or custom-built registration and authentication solutions to capture the identity data from which customer profiles are built.
SAP Customer Data Cloud, on the other hand, offers a robust customer identity management solution, allowing clients to standardize and deploy on-brand registration and login flows across web, mobile, IoT, and even in-store channels to support all platforms and devices. This, in turn, enables a more consistent and secure front-end customer experience.
The registration-as-a-service solution at the heart of SAP Customer Identity includes functionality for:
- Single sign-on (SSO)
- Data federation through the SAML 2.0 and OpenID Connect protocols
- Biometric login (FaceID and TouchID)
- Two-factor and risk-based authentication
- The ability to easily add more than 25 global social login and identity providers (IdP) to customer registration and login flows
These options help smooth the customer experience and, since consumer password hygiene is one of today’s biggest security challenges, also help lower the risk of breaches and hacked accounts by limiting how often customers must enter passwords.
Not an Either/Or Situation
Knowing the difference between these powerful technologies can help businesses build the most effective tech stack for their goals and targets. In many instances, the right solution may involve integrating a combination of these solutions to balance personalized customer experiences with robust data privacy.
For More Information
As this analysis shows, all three solutions can play a key role in a modern enterprise’s tech stack. Yet, as the “new kid on the block”, SAP Customer Data Cloud combines robust customer identity functionality along with enterprise consent and preference data management in a single, centralized platform to elevate a business’ digital experiences above the competition through the power of trusted customer data.
To learn more, sign up for our virtual demo webinar.
By Ratul Shah