In order to gain reliable data analysis results, you have to prepare high quality datasets. This can be done by means of data cleaning and data unification. What is unified data? Why is it so important for business organizations and how do you unify customer data? Learn more in our article.
The web was simpler once. The customer journey was simple and rather short. Nowadays, it is entirely different. We spend hours browsing the internet on our mobile devicesor computers. A user can reach your website from various channels (from an ad, social media, another website, Google etc.). All those points of entry provide you with unimaginable amounts of information that you can leverage to improve the efficiency of your business. Still, raw data can produce false results and mislead you. Before you start your analysis, you should make sure that you’re dealing with unified data and if not, you should unify it.
What is unified data?
First, your company gets access to the raw data from various sources. It can be incomplete, duplicated, conflicting etc. We call this federated data. You should turn it into unified data before using it for analytics or any other purpose. Otherwise, your business information is not really reliable. Unifying data means merging available fragmented information sources into a single unified database to get a total and accurate view on your organization’s data sources. Independent databases can be turned into a unified database, using the proper technology.
Why is unified customer data important for business?
Unified data provides you with a complete and trustworthy picture of your organization and the processes carried out in it on a daily basis. Bringing data points from different sources allows your business intelligence specialists and analysts to produce more reliable and accurate insights for your company. While having a unified database, getting a business answer is a matter of writing a query as opposed to a lengthy project which would need to ”partially” unify the data to answer that one question. Have you ever heard that ”answering this business question will require copying some data between databases”? Unifying data is an investment that will start paying off quite fast. There are many reasons why you should ensure data unification in your company.
Breaking down the data silos
These days, companies are dealing with huge amounts of customer data (and other types of data as well). Of course, the data points which business information comes from are scattered across multiple platforms, so leveraging them is quite a challenge for any organization. Data has to be extracted from all those sources and later reviewed and cleaned. Such data processing takes time and slows down your business. Unifying customer data is a way to break down the data silos in your company and become more efficient.
Defining detailed customer profiles
Data unification results in better mapping of data correlations. Having all your important data gathered in one place where you can view it allows you to better understand your customers. You can learn when and how they landed on your website, what their activity was in various channels of communication leveraged by your organization, and more. Shortly, as all data is presented together, it is easier for the business user to work with this information. You’ll be able to understand clients better and create comprehensive customer profiles, which can be used for creating a strategy and applying personalization in your campaigns.
As was already mentioned, each data cleaning takes additional time and generates costs. You can reduce the expenses of data analytics by unifying your data. This is a simple way to ensure the reliability of the business information you gather. Unified data platforms simplify data analytics and can be used for unification and structuring. Furthermore, your overall business productivity is improved, as you will use unified data warehouses, which are created specifically for analysis and retrieval. Thus, they serve their purpose more efficiently than other data storage solutions.
How do you unify customer data?
You need to gather your business information together in order to have unified data. To do so, you need a particular IT solution called a unified data platform. It performs automatic data cleaning and aggregates information from various sources. A high quality customer data platform allows users to view all data of a particular customer and use it for marketing purposes. Of course, the more data you have, the better you can understand your customers, organization, and the market you operate within. You should choose a platform that supports integration with a large number of systems so you can unify huge amounts of business data. Thanks to automation, your unified data platform will update your database regularly.
Unified data management – what are the challenges?
As you’ve probably realized already, unifying data is not easy at first. There are some challenges your organization will have to overcome while implementing a unified data platform. When you deal with data (especially sensitive customer information), you have to ensure security and compliance. Think of all the applications you use on a daily basis, and all the sources of data for your business. There are some significant tasks for you to deal with before you will be able to benefit from unified data. Unifying the data will ensure all those challenges are tackled in a consistent fashion, helping you manage a greater scope with less effort.
Gathering all data together
Fortunately, this is the kind of problem that can be easily dealt with. Till now, you have probably used multiple types of software in order to manage your business data. Getting it all in one place, so the users that need it can access it easily, is crucial. To put it all together, you can invest in a unified data platform or a customer data platform. This will consolidate and organize business information from various sources.
Fixing data takes time and requires some work from data engineers. You shouldn’t really skip that step; otherwise, you can’t be sure if your data is reliable. Before the data cleaning process, data can be inaccurate, duplicated, incomplete etc. – you don’t want to base your business decisions on analysis performed on such data. If you adopt a unified data platform, it will carry out data cleaning automatically. Additionally, it will also perform regular information updates.
Eliminating data silos
This was already mentioned when the benefits of data unification were described. Data silos are groups of data which are controlled by separate departments of an organization. One silo consists of some information stored in a standalone system isolated from others, and such information sets are only leveraged by some limited group of users. This makes it hard for the company experts to get the full view of some matter as they can’t see some portion of the business data. By implementing a unified data platform, you will break down data silos and attain a clear view of your company.
To sum up
You operate in a data-driven world. Companies rely on analytics more and more when it comes to making business decisions. In order to be competitive, you have to implement new solutions that enable efficient data management. Using unified data will let you integrate more datasets into your business intelligence and advanced, AI-based analytics systems. We can help you choose the most suitable software for your organization and assist you with its implementation. Contact us, and tell us more about your business requirements.
Check out our blog for more details on Big Data:
- What is Big Query, and how can it support your analytics?
- Why is BigQuery replacing Hadoop for enterprise analytics?
- Optimizing Apache Spark