Business leaders are always balancing countless priorities. It’s simply part of the job. But figuring out which plates to keep spinning above others is still an incredibly challenging task in today’s ‘fast and furious’ economy. We’re seeing many senior leaders choose to prioritise customer experience. But ensuring a customer experience that’s superior to the competition is now a mammoth responsibility, as technology has ensured that we now live in a world saturated by data and information. We are all leading ‘always-on’ lives, and we expect the products and services we need to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Businesses and consumers alike are appreciating how valuable data is becoming. It’s now essential for powering interactions and new services that keep customers coming back. Those that are able meet today’s lofty expectations from customers are the ones getting ahead.
Out of service, out of customers
The numbers add up. Recent Veeam research found that 39% of consumers would stop using a product or service if the vendor responsible for them experienced outages. It’s a simple equation – no available data, no customers.
Businesses need to ensure they can provide access to data whenever and wherever their customers demand it. But there’s still some catching up to do to make this a reality. Veeam’s Cloud Data Management report found that 73% of organisations surveyed cannot meet user demand for uninterrupted access to applications and data. Business leaders might know what they need to do to remain competitive, but there is a clear gap between understanding what needs to be done and having the right process and technologies in place to achieve it.
What’s worse is that when outages do strike, the impact on the affected company’s bottom line can be devastating. Not only can downtime cause significant financial losses, there can be a damaging regulatory impact. Veeam’s Cloud Data Management report found that just one mission-critical data application’s downtime could cost over £78,000 per hour on average, and the loss of non-mission critical data £63,071 per hour. Nobody understands the pain better than TSB, whose well-documented outage in 2018 began with a straightforward systems upgrade but ended up costing over £150m and the resignation of their CEO.
A goldmine of insights
How can business leaders mitigate such an intense risk and keep their customers happy? Having a solid data management strategy is key to a competitive customer experience. It provides the foundations necessary to create the customer experiences that build loyalty. Avoiding incidents and outages is obviously a necessity but taking data management investment seriously can be about so much more than preventing the worst. It can offer other returns and help businesses squeeze more insight and revenues out of the data they have already archived. Whether it’s recommending related products and services or being able to respond to customer queries more quickly, it all helps build positive brand reputation and loyalty.
More fundamentally, data management is also about being able to keep the lights on. By making it easier to add more capacity to systems quickly, businesses can react to spikes in consumer demand for data, and make sure systems aren’t overwhelmed. Cloud data management also makes testing more straightforward, meaning new functionality can be accurately checked before it’s launched to minimise the risk of disruption. Both capabilities should not be underestimated in their usefulness. Making data work harder in this way can pay huge dividends. Competitive advantage is built on the insights this data can contain – a great customer experience is powered by having access to the right data.
New business models
Data has been transformative to all kinds of industries. Financial services are one example, that has been significantly disrupted thanks to smarter use of data. ‘Challenger banks’ such as Monzo, Revolut and Tide have all been highly successful by working the data they have on tap as hard as possible. By better understanding their customers, they’ve been able to get closer to them. This has been vital to offering the more personalised and seamless ways of managing money which have been so compelling to customers.
Content streaming is another area where data management has made completely transformative services possible. Meeting the needs of the many millions of people that use Netflix every evening, for example, is a tall order. But data availability is at the heart of it. Offering a consistent customer experience requires systems that can handle the peaks in demand and stay always-on. It’s also powering the likes of personalised recommendations, keeping viewers locked in and loyal.
Today’s customer expectations are high. Data, and the access to it, is what separates market leaders from followers. By taking their strategy seriously, businesses can put themselves on the path to being as relevant as possible.
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