Branden Bellanca professional photo

Branden Bellanca

Vice-President, Consulting Expert

If you weren't already feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of customer data swirling around in the digital universe, here's an eye-opener: By global volume, customer data is currently doubling every 12 hours. At the same time, and somewhat paradoxically, the digital landscape is becoming increasingly personalized. Whether it's online shopping, social media or mobile apps, customers expect brands to tailor their interactions to their preferences and needs.

Now for the good news: Recent innovations in customer relationship management (CRM) software are helping companies capture, organize and act on this data to meet customers where they are, at exactly the right time.

Salesforce Data Cloud is one recent innovation in this space that combines artificial intelligence with the Salesforce Customer Data Platform (CDP) to deliver real-time customer insights, automate routine tasks and recommend next steps for enhancing the customer experience.

As a Salesforce architect and consultant, I've already started working with clients to implement Data Cloud. One thing has become clear: The companies that have done the hard work upfront to put the right strategy in place and ensure data integrity are the ones best positioned to get the most out of the platform.

I believe every journey toward Data Cloud should start with these three essential steps:

  1. Bring in strategic partners. You don't know what you don't know. Partner with industry experts (like us!) who have a deep understanding of the solution’s capabilities and where your organization is in its data management maturity level. From there, we can work together to align data strategy to business strategy so you're positioned for success --right from the start.
  2. Do your data due diligence. Data Cloud will only be as good as the data you provide. Partner with data scientists and architects to conduct a thorough review, clean-up and standardization of your data, so your solution is primed to provide your teams with the most accurate and relevant insights.
  3. Get cross-functional buy-in. As an architect and consultant, I often work with multiple teams on complex implementations. Time and again, I see that shared ownership delivers better outcomes, a smoother integration process and a higher return on investment. So take time, in the beginning, to gain support and set up the right team structure. You'll reap the rewards later on.

Unleashing the power of Data Cloud

What are those rewards, you ask? That's the fun part. As I work with clients to implement Data Cloud, I'm already seeing evidence of its potential to transform not only marketing and customer service but an array of industries, including banking, health care and more. If you’re thinking about making the leap to a data insights solution, here are a few benefits to consider:

  • Channel integration: Data Cloud acts as a single source of truth, breaking down data silos and capturing information across multiple channels and systems. Of all the pain points my clients experience, this may solve the biggest one of all. Not only does it make data gathering and analysis more efficient on the back end, but it also improves the customer experience by eliminating duplicative messages across multiple channels. If a customer has indicated their preference for text messages vs. email, you can target your communications accordingly.
  • Real-time customer insights: Speed is everything when it comes to engaging with consumers. Capturing and unifying data in milliseconds allows my clients to act instantly and engage with their customers at the right place and time. For example, the marketing team for a convenience store chain could use location data to see when a customer is visiting a store and send a text message about a promotional offer -- while the customer is still shopping.
  • Hyper-personalized customer experiences: I’ve seen how Data Cloud serves up detailed customer data down to the individual level, and then goes a step further, thanks to AI: It offers recommended next steps based on customer behavior and preferred channels. Apply this to health care: the solution could consolidate patient data from various sources to not only improve care coordination but deliver a more personalized experience based on a patient's health history, preferences and behaviors.

I'm looking forward to continuing my work with clients to harness the considerable power of this platform. When implemented thoughtfully, Data Cloud certainly has the potential to make your customer data dreams come true.

Looking for a trusted partner to explore Salesforce Data Cloud with your organization? Learn more about how CGI can help demystify the magic.

*Source: Salesforce Customer 360 blog, "What is Data Cloud?", September 2022

About this author

Branden Bellanca professional photo

Branden Bellanca

Vice-President, Consulting Expert

Branden Bellanca is a Salesforce Architect and Director of Consulting at CGI. He is actively involved in the Salesforce Community as the lead of the Columbus Architect User Group & Chairman of the upcoming Buckeye Dreamin' Salesforce Community Conference. Branden is 22x Salesforce certified and ...