Walk before you run: The need to say NO to data silo

By Stuart Clarke, Head of Business Development, at Odigo
Stuart Clark, at Odigo, explores how businesses should look at their internal data structures to ensure they are as efficient and integrated as possible

The current business, and more specifically technology, landscape has become one of urgency. Recent economic events, increasing industry competition and the introduction of potentially revolutionary technologies, such as ChatGPT and GPT-4, have left most business leaders feeling the pressure to act. As a result, many are looking towards adopting the latest tech as a way of staying ahead. 

However, sometimes implementing completely new tech is not the answer. It can often be costly and difficult if a business doesn’t know where to start. So how can businesses expand their potential and return on existing investment? 

In one word, data. Put simply, most businesses are not using their data to its full potential, with only 39% of organisations successfully turning da ta-driven insights into a continuous competitive advantage. So, before businesses can start running and fully benefiting from the latest generative AI, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), they must make sure they can walk with the data they’ve already got. 

The risk of isolated data

The sheer volumes of data that flow through a contact centre at any given moment is immense, so it’s completely understandable why it can be very challenging to use it to its full potential. Often, this data sits, siloed, in multiple databases and platforms that have very little integration with one another. Rendering it unhelpful in today’s digitally competitive customer environment.

It cannot be denied that there is great potential when it comes to AI in a customer service setting, which exponentially increases with the amount of data points available. However, the current reality is that most businesses have too much of their data in complete silos. And whilst they may not see a decrease in performance, quality or speed, the issue of data siloes will most likely stand in the way of growth and progress, as contact centre agents need to spend longer navigating multiple platforms and dashboards. Not growing is often equally as risky in today's competitive landscape.  

Currently, around 75% of business executives are using AI for customer experience (CX), according to our own research. However, there is more to be done. With the technology we have today and the volumes of data that are being stored in company databases, there is little reason why customers should not be able to benefit from a completely tailored and specific customer experience. 

Customers should be able to contact their preferred brand and be routed to an agent who can, based on multiple additional data points such as matched personality or preferred region, create a customer experience that is completely personalised and unique. However, most businesses are not there yet, and could risk a drop in overall performance if they don’t tackle their data silos sooner rather than later. 

Breaking down data silos to avoid a CX breakdown

Starting to address and break down these data silos, by migrating data from multiple different platforms and databases, can seem like a difficult and lengthy process. But a good place to start is through educating every person and department around the benefits of sharing data and empowering data teams to work together to unlock the potential of the rich data available. As a result, this would help deliver a higher quality of customer service, which can help retain customers and even increase their spending. 

Whilst this cannot happen overnight, one of the most important things that is needed in this process is an internal cultural shift. Data must become a key focus, if it isn’t already, and will need support from all levels in the business. Only then can the right resources be invested into establishing the necessary framework and processes to properly leverage all the insights that rich real-time data can provide. 

Customers have come to expect high quality customer service, on any platform, at all times and this cannot be properly achieved without interconnected data. Whilst external pressures and trends can make adopting the latest tech attractive, it may not always be the right decision. Businesses first need to look at their internal data structures and make sure they are as efficient and integrated as possible. Only then can they take advantage of technologies such as generative AI to stand out from their competition and deliver business success through quality customer experience.

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