To put an end to existing silos, CIOs need to make the case for a single platform that spans Sales, Service, and Marketing and that can integrate and centralize all customer-related data. IT organizations have historically used point-to-point connections to sync up individual applications, but the approach is fragmented, costly, and inefficient. Although many firms have ramped up use of APIs to scale integrations, that strategy also has its share of headaches, most notably a skills gap of experienced talent. Among the respondents to the Salesforce Connected Customer Research 2018, 89% said integration challenges were hindering digital transformation.
For many organizations, it’s impractical to scuttle any existing technology already in place and start over. But there are options for working across those systems—for example, organizations can deploy AI and analytics that work across multiple solutions, versus separate business intelligence systems for Sales, Accounting, Production, and so on. In fact, many organizations have found that it’s getting easier to tie systems together through integration technology to provide a more holistic view of the customer.
Robert Galvin, chief technology officer at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, says that for years the agency was stymied by a mix of manual processes and disconnected systems that served the individual entities but weren’t integrated. Now, with a single platform used for high-level case management across the divisions, the port authority can track correspondence with key constituents while making sure questions and problems get resolved in a timely fashion. Going forward, the agency plans to integrate its social media interactions as part of that single customer platform.
“The other day, a customer commented that the staff working in LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B was not well trained, and that complaint got the attention of the executive director,” Galvin says. “[Social media] is a megaphone for customers.”