A Data Product Factory for Building the Ultimate Asset: Happy Customers

In my previous blog, I made a case for the creation of the Executive Round Table, where like King Arthur’s knights, all channels come together to serve a single purpose – the customer. P&Ls are no longer the driving force. If every knight at the table has the same goal, and the same shared omni-channel view of data about the customer, all decisions in each channel can be made with an eye toward the higher shared cause – more satisfied customers.

Today’s knights of the Executive Round Table are remaking their organizations into a factory for building data products. Their shared aim is to give the consumer more applications, greater functionality, and more opportunities to interact. All of these are driven by data and the executives at the Round Table are hungry to own the data supply chain – and own it they will!

The raw material for the factory is data. Every day a company’s proprietary data, customer data, and touchpoint data, along with purchased data from credit bureaus, Facebook, and countless other sources, are fed into four primary production lines:

  1. Connected data weaves a unified, complete story about the customer that is shared by everyone at the Round Table and is the foundation for decisions.
  2. Machine learning surfaces things in the data that people are unable to see on their own, highlighting what needs attention.
  3. AI enables the Round Table to learn from its decisions, keeping what works and moving on from choices that don’t.
  4. Data science provides a forward-thinking view of what to do in the future to achieve the goal. Data science distills the results of decisions into valuable intellectual property,  assets to be trademarked, patented, and perfected.

By studying the way the customer makes a payment, the Round Table takes active steps to give that customer (let’s call him Mr. Smith) products that make his life better. The Round Table achieves its goal when Mr. Smith’s experience is effortless, protected, and something that he will want to use again and recommend to others.

The unique intellectual property created by the data factory is what will differentiate the company. It’s what assures Mr. Smith that the company not only cares about his needs but identifies with him. By caring about Mr. Smith’s particular data and experience, the company is aligning itself with, even sharing, Mr. Smith’s goals.

To sit at the Round Table of their factory, executives must recognize that stats don’t matter. P&Ls don’t go wrong because an executive failed to see the stats. Failure occurs when they don’t focus on and try to understand the “why” behind things that happen. Stats only tell what happened; connected data gets at the why.

Amazon Prime works because it put a shared goal – the customer who wants goods delivered tomorrow – above P&Ls. The executives who focus on individual P&Ls only from the perspective of logistics, call handling, warehouses, and so on, would never have gotten on board. But by taking a shared view, the P&L on one channel such as shipping is readily offset by millions of happy customers who spend an average of about $100/month. By making retention of that $100/month customer its highest, shared goal, the Amazon Round Table continues to succeed while P&L-motivated executives at rectangular conference tables continue to shake their heads.

Where does the data-driven factory led by the Executive Round Table lead? It can put the decision power in the hands of the consumer, perhaps the ultimate means of retaining and growing a happy customer base. That intellectual property built by your data factory enables the consumer to see the story of their data and gives them the agency to choose their happiest journey.

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Written by Marco Pacelli

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