2022: The Year of Data Integration

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Late last year, I predicted that 2021 would be The Year of Data. And while it’s against my nature to say I told you so…boy, did I nail that one!

(That said, I also forecast that Mall of America wouldn’t last five years, so my predictions aren’t always that good.)

My 2021 prediction stemmed from our 2020 research, which showed that leading CX programs were analyzing the behavioral, operational, and financial data in journeys to discover what customers were actually doing; the business’s behaviors that impacted the customer; and the financial outcomes that resulted from the interaction of those two factors.

The importance of data was starkly demonstrated by three journey analytics and orchestration acquisitions earlier this year:

First, Kitewheel was purchased by CSG. I have to admit, that move caught me by surprise. We’ve been following the journey analytics and orchestration marketplace for years now and been expecting it to take off as a category. Instead, this acquisition was the first inkling that the marketplace will be going in a different – albeit exciting  – new direction.

Next, our technology partner Qualtrics purchased Usermind (also one of our partners), adding the journey orchestration toolset to their capabilities. This will enable brands to more easily combine sentiment and business data into their analysis of the customer experience…and most importantly, act on what they find.

Lastly, Genesys purchased Pointillist, bringing a journey analytics capability to their existing technology stack.

A stunning transformation

The year began with a burgeoning journey analytics and orchestration market. But by the end, the landscape had changed drastically, with three of the top four players in the space absorbed into larger organizations.

Now, instead of orchestration being a standalone offering struggling to find a buyer, the capability is being integrated into larger organizations.

Which means journey analytics and orchestration are dead.

And also…

Long live journey analytics and orchestration!

My excitement around this change stems from the concept – now more in reach than ever before – of analyzing customer journeys to build a new “Journey of One.” A “Journey of One” means the ability to design journeys around individual needs. (Watch this space  – I’ll be writing more about this in the new year!)

Doing that requires integrating the data. That’s not going to happen overnight. It will probably take about a year. But make no mistake, it’s going to be happening.

So that’s where organizations need to focus today. It’s imperative to bring their data together to create a comprehensive view of the customer experience and its impact on the business.

Say goodbye to siloed data

Today, we have behavioral data showing calls to the contact center. And channels the customers chose to use. And changes to orders. And they’re all tracked in separate systems: CRM/Contact Center, website, and order management systems, respectively.

The operational data showing hold time and dropped calls, phone vs. online orders, and on-time delivery percentages are also in different systems (IVR/contact center, CRM and website, and operational systems), and financial data is stored in still another online system.

This makes is difficult to create a comprehensive picture of the customer experience and align your entire organization around shared goals. Or reap the financial benefits of doing so.

The successful Change Makers we identified in last year’s research  – those 1 in 4 programs that are driving business results through an improved experience – are already doing this.

In the coming year, more programs will catch up to those groundbreakers, as we hurtle toward a “Journey of One.” (Okay, maybe not “hurtle.” Let’s go with “shift.”)

In 2022, CX is finally going to get serious about journey analytics and orchestration. And that’s going to enable some truly amazing experiences.

But siloed data isn’t going to cut it. That’s why I say 2022 is going to be The Year of Data Integration.

So let me ask you: Are you working to integrate your systems?

Or maybe the more important question is, are your competitors integrating theirs?

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