Fragmented customer data locked away in multiple systems remains one of the biggest barriers to delivery of a consistently positive customer experience. Salesforce's announcement of Customer 360 at Dreamforce 2018 has the potential to tear down this barrier and empower and enable any enterprise to greatly improve its customer engagement capabilities by piecing together the identity of each customer from the fragments of information contained in separate applications – marketing, commerce, service, etc.
The concept of the 360-degree view of the customer is as old as CRM, but it remained a pipedream. While Salesforce has expanded its platform in recent years, most notably with the addition of commerce and AI in the form of Einstein, identifying the customer from data contained in each of the Salesforce clouds was a major challenge. Customer 360 creates and stores a customer profile and acts as a hub that exchanges data and events across all Salesforce clouds at the point of need.
Ovum has consistently argued that customer engagement, especially in a high-volume omnichannel environment, has implications for the entire value chain of the enterprise, not just the front-office personnel. A customer engagement platform, as defined by Ovum, enables an enterprise to coordinate and intelligently orchestrate all customer engagement activities across its value chain in a way that delivers a symbiotic set of outcomes: superior experience for customers and profitable growth, improved operational efficiency, and lower costs for businesses. Recognizing the customer is the first step to creating this symbiosis.
The combination of Customer 360 and MuleSoft Anypoint Platform allows data from any source system to be accessed to create a comprehensive view of both live interaction data from customer journeys and back-office and logistics systems to complete the omnichannel picture. MuleSoft's API integration approach can also extend integration to partner ecosystems, creating new revenue opportunities to drive growth. To provide some idea of scale, early users of Salesforce Customer 360 include Unilever, empowering 92,000 employees in 190 countries to engage with customers in more relevant and insightful ways. This is a significant step forward for the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, and it offers a way out for those enterprises that are unable to piece together the fragments of data and recognize the customer.
Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a Customer Engagement Platform, 2018–19, INT001-000088 (August 2018)
Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst, Customer Engagement Practice