Why Team Matters More Than Tech: An Enterprise Framework for Customer Data Acceleration
Actable's detailed framework for accelerating enterprise-level customer data initiatives and driving business outcomes.
March 6, 2023
At Actable, we regularly speak with enterprises trying to improve and accelerate their customer data initiatives. In most of these conversations, our stakeholder is primarily focused on technology solutions to their challenges. The driving imperative of most enterprises is to look for technical solutions to solve customer data problems–budgeting, resourcing, and corporate attention always flow in that direction.
It’s true that many enterprises do have deep and endemic technical challenges related to customer data that needs acute intervention. Focusing on technology alone misses a crucial part of the problem because many of the issues enterprises are trying to solve are not inherently technical.
Most enterprises have deep organizational skillsets and “imagination” challenges that, left unaddressed, will doom any successful tech evolution–regardless of the merits or efficacy of the underlying technology stack. In our experience, the “team” is every bit as important as “tech” in a customer data transformation initiative.
Challenges with team and organizational structure require the same kind of discovery, recommendation, and implementation frameworks that enterprises anticipate with their tech decisions. Addressing these challenges in tandem with tech decisions equips organizations for success.
Accelerating Customer Data Initiatives
We’ve highlighted the requisite tech challenges and associated organizational challenges in the “Customer Data Framework” illustration below:
Enterprise Customer Data Framework
Enterprises may understand their current and future needs for data capture, storage, data quality, accessibility, enrichment, portability, etc. They may even consider the internal stakeholders and “Teams” required for technical implementation and operation.
Often this is where organizational considerations for rollout and deployment end. The “Organizational Requirements,” in the center of the illustration, are rarely acknowledged upfront.
We often engage with customers who have made progress on the technical aspects of their journey but have yet to progress on actual implementation and rollout due to a lack of organizational clarity and design.
And as we’ve seen time and time again, successful implementation of comprehensive customer data initiatives requires real organizational change, which includes:
- Defining roles and allocating new responsibilities for customer data stewardship
- Building a center of excellence to develop and promote standards and operating procedures
- Aligning partners such as agencies, key suppliers, and media platforms
- Developing comprehensive use cases that improve (not mimic) current-state capabilities
This requires a commitment to organizational change and clear and explicit direction from leadership about that commitment.
Real and meaningful business applications for customer data come to fruition through the combination of well-implemented technology and organizational design (and all the required effort.) Enterprises that follow this guidance realize outsize returns on their technology investments, while those who pursue a tech-only solution are destined to underperform on their ambitions.
About the Author
Matt Greitzer is the CEO of Actable–responsible for all business functions. Prior to Actable, Matt was Co-CEO of Amnet, the $400MM programmatic arm of DentsuAegis Network. Matt joined Amnet via the acquisition of his company, Accordant Media, a tech-enabled service that he co-founded in 2010 and grew to nearly $20MM in annual revenue. Prior to Accordant, Matt held leadership positions at Razorfish and its predecessor, Avenue A.