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In Search of the Golden Thread: Building a Path to Customer Success through Data

August 24, 2016 - 1 Comment

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a data guy. My entire professional life has been centered on data. I’m passionate about it and about the need to connect data to make digitization possible. And when it comes to digitization, these are exciting times at Cisco.

It’s no secret that we’ve witnessed a worldwide data explosion this past decade. Analyst firm IDC says the digital universe is doubling in size every two years, and is projected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020. As the amount of data has grown exponentially, so too have the capabilities for transforming it into actionable insights that allow better and faster decision making, increased profits and productivity, and greater customer success.

The Golden Thread

And just as I’ve observed the evolution of data in my own career, I’ve also seen Cisco evolve to become a data-driven company. Our digital transformation is anchored by a quest to create a “golden thread”— a complete 360-degree view of the customer across the multiple processes, interactions and stages in their journey with us.

“Golden thread” is a term I use to conceptualize the way data holds the key to uniting people, processes and information across the customer lifecycle, resulting in insights that allow us to do wonderful things. These insights are already being used at Cisco to streamline service and subscription renewals, uncover upsell and cross-sell opportunities, predict customer behavior and much more.

Shaping the Future with Data & Digitization

But the golden thread goes much deeper and broader in terms of value and value exchange. Data and digitization are the catalysts for creating customers for life. They pave the way to understanding what customers are experiencing so we can help them achieve their business goals and the outcomes they expect.

It has taken years of collaboration and many major advances in big data and analytics to get us where we are with data today. At the same time, it is clear that many partners are just getting started with their digital transformation journeys. It requires a major change in mindset, along with leadership buy-in to make data-driven customer engagement initiatives effective. It won’t happen easily, or over night.

“Digital’s next element is rethinking how to use new capabilities to improve how customers
 are served. This is grounded in an obsession with understanding each step of a customer’s purchasing journey—regardless of channel—and thinking about how digital capabilities can design and deliver the best possible experience, across all parts of the business.” McKinsey & Company, July 2015

The good news is that data is no longer as complex as it once was. And when you’re ready to begin weaving your own golden thread across your installed base, you might find it will be easier than you think. You can now connect data from disparate data sources, at rest and in motion, securely and real-time. You can also rely upon data that you already have about your customers, just by virtue of doing business with them.

Data does not have to be perfect to become actionable, but it requires a commitment to create the muscle-memory to make it better and better over time.

Getting Started – Finding YOUR Golden Thread

Our tools and platforms, such as Cisco Impact, Lifecycle Advantage and Cisco AutoQuote®, can serve as a guide or starting point for your initiatives. Focused on advancing and simplifying post-sale engagement between partners and customers, these tools can increase no-touch orders and reduce the cost of sale. They can also expedite time to close and enable partners to scale out to capture low-dollar renewal opportunities that might have otherwise fallen through the cracks. That’s digitization at its best!

When we effectively use data, amazing things are possible. Thus why I’d like to personally encourage you to join us on our journey. Together we can sew the golden thread for customer success, and digitize across the value chain.

Visit SuccessHub for more information and resources on the journey to a successful digital transformation.

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  1. Very informative, and happy to be a partner.