All the data management capabilities in the world cannot bring a company to the promised land of data-driven marketing without the right people and processes — and customer data platforms (CDPs) are no exception. Over the years, we have seen hundreds of companies declare their commitment to using data to drive marketing strategy. The ones that find success are those that invest in the people and processes required to make it stick.
In all cases, change management requires clear leadership from the top and the middle. But who are the stakeholders in your company who must come together to create true change management around data? It all starts with the formation of a Data Center of Excellence.
Developing a Data Center of Excellence
A serious team approach is required to build what we call the Data Center of Excellence (DCOE). The DCOE is usually comprised of internal folks from the media, analytics, and IT teams; smart consultants for change management; systems integration partners; and agencies. The companies who adopt such an approach reap near-term value in the beginning stages of their journey, which more than funds all of their subsequent efforts.
We think of the pillars of organizational adoption as People, Process, and Technology. There is no partial credit: getting one or two of those right and the other wrong leads to failure. The greatest data technology in the world falls down without the right people behind it. The most well thought out and rigorous process fails to scale without the right technology. And of course, the best people in the world are ineffective without the right habits and processes in place to coordinate their efforts.
It starts with people. When looking across the thousands of data software implementations we have supported, the companies that get value the most quickly have implicitly or explicitly created a DCOE that defines data strategy holistically and assigns ownership clearly across key stakeholders in the organization.
A data center of excellence helps users form a cohesive strategy and align partners
Aligning internal stakeholders
As we mentioned, a successful DCOE requires the collaboration of a full team of internal teams and external partners. Let’s focus on how to align internal stakeholders from your media, analytics, and IT/CRM teams.
Whether it’s the CMO managing cross-channel ad spending or the chief revenue officer (CRO) of a media company charged with yield optimization across various media offerings, the media team is usually the first group crying out for a coherent data strategy and the tools to make it work.
Today’s analytics departments come to the table with a great deal of enthusiasm for data centralization and closer connections to the media team, which is a rich source of user intent data.
Much has been made about the convergence of the CMO and CIO functions, and for good reason. The modern CMO cannot execute a data strategy without being conversant in the technology tools and tactics required to execute it. In a perfect world, the role of chief data officer (CDO) would oversee the functional areas of both IT and CRM and serve as the ideal partner to join colleagues in media and analytics in a DCOE. Because not every company has made that leap, we often see both groups represented as IT.
Put stakeholders from these groups together around a common set of goals, and you have the framework from which true data-driven transformation can evolve.
In our next post, we will look at the key things to consider when selecting a CDP.
To learn more about the future of customer data and how to plan for change, check out this on-demand webinar.