Achieving a Single View of the Customer is Unrealistic

The $6.5 billion acquisition of MuleSoft by Salesforce this year was predicated on the idea that the cloud-based software company would be able to help its customers access a single, holistic view of its user base.

“The traditional notion around a single view of the customer is that companies need to take all data points about the customer, pull into a single data source, clean it, and normalize it,” said Rick Jackson, CMO of Qlik, adding that this has been an unrealistic view from the get go due to the complexity in doing so.

People say they are doing transformative type projects – what they’re really doing is applying data to a problem and reimagining the problem with data.

According to Jackson, rapid changes in systems, variations in data structure across partners, and the inconsistency in how customer behavior is quantified mean that the industry is far from reaching its goals for a unified view of customers.

“The approach we’re taking is more like data mapping and cataloging,” said Jackson. “I know where your purchase history is, where your Twitter account is, what your Facebook page is, so our system uses metadata to manage what data about you exists, what locations, and then the platform – as I go to analyze it – says okay now lets look at the current snapshot of the data in its origin to analyze it.”

Starting off as an on-premise enterprise software company, by 2019 Qlik plans to launch services around a multi-cloud architecture which will serve enterprise customers that deserve a hybrid model between on-premise and cloud.

In China what we’re seeing is a lot more recognition that things can be efficient by applying data. We are seeing growth in traditional industry sectors.

For instance, due to internal or regulatory restrictions on the placement of personally identifiable information (PII) customer data in the cloud, restrictions are in place in the banking and financial services industry worldwide. The surge of data means that instead of throwing more hardware at it, the cloud is a better fit for scalability.

“Qlik is the first company that will deliver the ability to run our software on-premise behind the firewall in our SaaS environment or even in a third-party if you want to manage your own cloud, say on an Amazon [Web Services],” said Jackson.

“Yet it will run as one single system so you and I as users, we just go to the hub where we store our applications and data. The management of that is all on a single console, it allows organization to scale – they can choose where do you want the data, where do you want the application itself to run.”

A good example of this is Habib Bank Limited (HBL), the largest bank in Pakistan. With a $80 million IT budget, HBL cannot work with a cloud-based software company due to regulations imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan. In the absence of a multi-cloud architecture service provider in the country, the head of digital transformation at HBL opted to work with ADDO AI to up skill internal IT teams in AI and data science.

“We are signing up managed service providers,” said Jackson. “Our SaaS environment will cover probably 80% of the use cases and territories but there will be those locations where we may not have cloud presence where we’ll need local cloud partners.”

Jackson believes that in 2019, Qlik will cover the major geographies in Asia using managed service providers, adding that while Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are anchor points where the company has strong penetration, India and China will be the focus of 2019 as growth areas.

“India has a huge services technology sector,” said Jackson. “Service is all about digital transformation and that’s all about data. People say they are doing transformative type projects – what they’re really doing is applying data to a problem and reimagining the problem with data. Something like 46% of our business is coming out of India just because of that one sector.”

With China, Jackson has seen projects that aim to re-engineer processes around data to achieve efficiencies. As an example, Jackson mentioned that while China has a large automobile market, it is shrinking, so the trend has shifted towards second-hand vehicles, prompting the need for vehicle tracking, service records, and issue identification.

“These are all data problems,” said Jackson. “So now, all of a sudden, that’s a market that needs more analytics. In China what we’re seeing is a lot more recognition that things can be efficient by applying data. We are seeing growth in traditional industry sectors.”

In the APAC region, Jackson claims that Qlik’s largest customers come from the manufacturing industry, government agencies and the banking, financial services, and insurance industry.

Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed is the Technology Editor at Branding In Asia in Singapore.

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