Avoiding 5 Common Mistakes when Integrating Customer Data


Share on LinkedIn

In our highly mobile, social and online world, customer experiences occur in real time, across numerous touchpoints and in unstructured ways. Responding to customers in real-time, from a 360-degree view of customer data and interactions is critical to providing an optimal customer journey across all organizational touchpoints. Despite the importance of business process integration, many organizations are still struggling to provide all the information their customer-facing employees need to better target, engage, sell and satisfy prospects and customers. According to Salesforce’s The State of Marketing Leadership report released in December 2014, only a small number of companies (17%) have fully integrated their customer data across all areas of the organization. Creating a 360-degree customer view is a significant undertaking. It requires the enterprise to not only capture the unstructured customer information from email, social media, and websites, but also to integrate data in real-time from various on-premise and cloud-based business systems including CRM, ERP, point-of-sale, eCommerce websites, logistics and even mobile apps.

Providing an integrated customer experience requires an expanded focus beyond simple customer data integration (CDI) tasks to include integration between people, processes and technologies across an enterprise. Project success depends on enterprise-wide support, realistic timelines, adequate budgets and realistic mapping of business processes. CRM integration project leaders must be social champions, as well as architectural experts.

Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid and make sure that your CRM integration project is successful.

1. Too Narrow a Perspective – If the customer journey is reduced to a data integration exercise, the resulting customer experience may be less than satisfactory. Be sure to map current and future state business processes in a realistic manner that includes CRM, eCommerce, mobile and social interactions as part of the relevant 360-degree view needed for successful interactions.

2. Force Fitting ETL Solutions into Real-Time Environments – Customers interact in real-time and at unpredictable intervals. Many customer data integration (CDI) tools are limited to batch oriented methods that do not fit the needs of a modern real-time enterprise engaged in thousands or millions of mobile, social and online commerce transactions per day. Business process integration solutions must be built on a foundation called Event Driven Architetcure (EDA) to satisfy the needs of the customer experience.

3. Inability to Scale Up – Define latency or throughput requirements at the outset of any integration project. Make sure you can scale up easily as information requirements increase and the company grows by utilizing in-memory computing approaches that leverage inexpensive solid-state drive (SSD) technology while providing elasticity and high availability of data.

4. Missing Out on Mobility – Since you are already thinking how to improve your customers’ journey, it makes sense to think about which processes and functionalities can benefit the most by being mobile. By bringing relevant data and processes to the right people when and where they need it and making it actionable, your mobile apps can increase operational efficiencies and improve productivity for customers, partners, and employees. For example, location services can add a lot of value to your sales force by helping them reach customer locations quickly and increase sales opportunities by enabling them to see nearby customers when they have an open window.

5. Reinventing the Wheel – Empower line-of-business users with access to all information through their familiar CRM platform. Honor processes best managed in legacy transaction systems such as ERP and eCommerce platforms. Using an integration platform that provides a visual design environment and a pre-built connector to your ERP, CRM and other APIs reduces risk, development time and costly integration programming.

Customer journey integration that goes beyond simple customer data integration is essential for creating a comprehensive view of each customer and optimizing their customer journey. With an eye on responsiveness, relevance, mobility and performance, CRM integration can provide all customer-facing employees with the relevant information they need to increase sales and enhance customer loyalty.

Glenn Johnson
Magic Software
Capitalized on the opportunity to lead forward-thinking corporate marketing initiatives throughout the Americas, including implementing marketing automation, sales intelligence, and CRM platforms to drive business growth.


  1. Glenn,
    Great points.

    I think item #1 is the most prevalent and most destructive.

    Technology has definitely surpassed our mental models of business transactions.

    CRM and how we think about customers has great opportunities for improvement.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here