Salesforce Customer 360 aims to unify customer data across systems

Salesforce Customer 360 aims to unify customer data across systems

CRM vendor releases new product to help businesses get a unified view of customer data from across disparate systems

Credit: Magdalena Petrova/IDGNS

Salesforce has launched the latest addition to its product portfolio with Customer 360.

The offering encompasses many things Salesforce already does, but essentially provides a single place for businesses to see a complete and up-to-date profile of their customers, including their engagements across various platforms and third party systems, before bringing that all back into the core CRM application.

Bret Taylor, president and chief product officer at Salesforce said: “Customer 360 will make it easier for companies to bring service, commerce and marketing together to deliver the unified experiences that their customers demand—with clicks, not code."

Speaking to the press yesterday, Patrick Stokes, SVP of product management for Customer 360 said: “We are giving business users all of the tools they needs to build a single view of their customers across systems and to connect that back up to their CRM applications.”

He identified three things that needed to happen to make this product a reality:

- Create a secure and trusted pipeline of connectivity between data sources and allow admins to easily select and connect them up.

- Provide the tools and capabilities to reconcile customer data in a native click-based system in Salesforce.

- The third, and “most important part” according to Stokes is “not wanting to end with the single view of the customer. That has been solved, so we want to connect that back up to the CRM, because what good is it to have that single view of the customer if you can’t actually use it?”

Customer 360 is also an interesting case study in how Salesforce is bringing its latest multi-billion dollar acquisition to bear on its platform.

If customers want to bring in third party data, from a point of sale or loyalty programme system, for example, the Mulesoft Anypoint Platform is baked into the product to allow customers to bring this data in using APIs, instead of creating custom point-to-point connectors.

So any APIs IT has logged into Anypoint will be available to admins to pull that information into Customer 360 with a click.

On the back end Customer 360 leaves data at the source, only retrieving it when needed. The data management capability prepares, matches, reconciles and updates the customer profile across clouds on the fly.

For example, a customer service agent could now have an up-to-date picture of a customer in one place, allowing them to see past orders, wishlists, in cart items, every marketing campaign they have engaged with and even churn risk, all in one place.

During a Q&A with reporters Stokes said that Customer 360 will not clash with GDPR because “we aren’t picking up and moving any data. It is a federated model where data stays where it resides, which is good for GDPR and means the tools using that data function better.

“So we are building a graph of where customer data resides so we know who you are in all of those systems. So what we have at our fingertips is a graph of everywhere you have customer data. On top of that we can apply governance and policies.”

Stokes admits that the initial customer base for this is business-to-consumer firms, like launch customer Crocs, but that Customer 360 is for “any customer trying to connect their apps together.”

Customer 360 is in pilot today, and will be generally available in 2019. Pricing details aren't yet available.

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