Last updated: Hypergrowth companies: Customer data is key to success

Hypergrowth companies: Customer data is key to success


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Amid the challenges and disruptions of the day, hypergrowth companies face a tremendous opportunity.

Hypergrowth companies are often startups with big ideas or new entrants with enviable talent – they have a world of intelligent technology and integrated software laid out at their feet. That’s because, compared to their large-enterprise competitors, hypergrowth companies have yet to saddle themselves with the kind of sprawling IT infrastructures that make innovation nearly impossible.

Hypergrowth companies aren’t founded to grow into small and midsize companies – they’re here to disrupt and become the next big thing. And the next big thing doesn’t frustrate customers with costly mistakes or data security measures that aren’t up to regulations.

How to become a hypergrowth company: Define yourself as a customer-first business – then work from there

Hypergrowth companies are, by definition, data driven. But swaths of Big Data and databases filled with terabytes of customer information are not themselves a strategic differentiator. To truly take advantage of customer insights, your company needs to place customers at the center of your business and technology strategies.

For your long-standing peers and competitors, customer centricity probably feels like an insurmountable challenge. Michele Krom, director of enterprise architecture at SAP, reflected on her own experiences with a large bank that couldn’t keep its promises across her personal and business banking accounts.

After years as a customer with an entire family’s worth of personal banking accounts, Krom opened a business account with the promise of perks, including the elimination of certain fees across her personal and business accounts. But after a few months, she realized her personal accounts were still getting hit with fee after fee – charges from which she was supposed to be exempt.

Krom got her money back, but the bank’s customer service agents couldn’t resolve the root of the problem: a complicated enterprise architecture that siloed her data and kept her personal banking identity separate from her business banking identity. Now, that bank has lost her as a customer completely.

This enterprise, like countless others, hasn’t set up its technology stack or business processes with the customer at the center. The cause of the problem is sometimes as simple as having two separate representations for the same customer (think John Albert Smith and John A. Smith).

Businesses can often prevent these types of errors at the employee level through consistent strategies for data entry. But resolving this issue after the fact is complicated, time-consuming, and tedious. Few businesses have the resources to dedicate to the manual consolidation and reentry of customer representations.

In many cases, this problem is as untenable as a complicated web of software solutions that silo two representations of the same customer. If your customer representations are stuck on separate, unintegrated systems, it doesn’t matter how much time or money you spend consolidating.

Take advantage of the unexpected opportunity of CCPA and GDPR

If one thing can be learned from the experiences of large enterprises, it is that it’s more expensive to fix a preexisting architecture than it is to get it right the first time. This is especially true when it comes to data privacy.

Data privacy guidelines and regulations are coming to a state, province, or nation near you soon – if they haven’t already arrived. Countries looking at the looming likelihood of privacy laws, such as the United States, should have started planning yesterday. The only thing unexpected about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at this point is the opportunity it presents your business.

Fines and penalties related to data privacy breaches and the mishandling of customer data are expensive, but avoidable with the right technology.

You can use data privacy legislation as an imperative to bring your technology stack up to snuff not only with industry standards in data privacy, but also with customer demands and expectations. If digital transformation is the only way your company can achieve compliance, consider what else you can bring to your customers as you revamp your systems and software. That’s what it means to be a customer-first business.

The same integrated digital architecture and software solutions that support data compliance can also enable omnichannel experiences, mobile-ready web sites, and other modern customer must-haves.

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