There was a time when all businesses really cared about was profit and process. We adhered to process, ticked the right boxes, kept the costs down, and collected our pay cheques at the end of the month. The customer was largely ignored and left to their own devices. Then as customers started selecting the best customer service, and as business management techniques improved, the customer became king. Delighting the customer was a mantra that pushed us on. But now something truly interesting is happening.
Our customers are becoming tech savvy.
First, it was businesses who insisted that we communicated electronically. But slowly the general public have become more and more knowledgeable about what computers are truly capable of. Now, almost everyone has a computer. The common user makes daily decisions about managing the applications and data on their personal smart phone, and whether they need cloud storage and backup strategies.
I have an application on my iPhone that allows me to match and merge duplicate contacts in the contacts application - all simply at the touch of a button.
We have all become data managers.
So these new tech savvy customers will naturally expect high standards of data management from the organisations that they do business with. We need to be ready. We need to know our data lineage, so we can plan and execute change successfully and swiftly. We need to optimise our data in every aspect of our business, so we can wring the last drop of value and opportunity from it. We need to know that "Jon Smith" who bought one product from us is the same person as "John Smith" who holds several more products.
Customer ignorance is no protection to businesses any more. Data accuracy and value needs to be the new mantra - because now our customers expect it.