Resolving customer data management issues enables SMEs to evolve their business model


Accelerated change is the new normal, and for businesses, the rate and the scope is staggering. Not only are organisations dealing with quickly evolving technologies, they’re racing to keep up with shifting customer behaviours and the lightening-fast pace of industry disruptors. To thrive in this environment, many industries are looking at innovative ways to invigorate their business models. Let’s take a look…

  • Software companies are employing subscription models

The technology industry in general is moving from one-time product sales to subscriptions. While software immediately comes to mind, particularly enterprise software, the trend also encompasses physical technology products, like ink cartridges for connected printers. This model is convenient for the customer and it affords businesses the agility to quickly respond to customer needs and keep products updated.

  • Financial services companies are offering mobile payment services

Banks and lending institutions are rapidly adopting the mobile payment model. Customers no longer need a card, cash or cheque book.  All they need is their smartphone. What’s more, financial service companies aren’t the only ones jumping on this trend. Retailers, like Starbucks, Amazon and other non-financial companies recognise the opportunity that mobile payment presents to grow their brand, increase loyalty, and generate revenue.

  • Healthcare companies are building interactive customer portals

Healthcare providers are launching new digital channels to improve care and enable more patient participation in their own health management. In addition to digital enrollment and administration that has been around for several years, many healthcare organisations offer online venues where patients can communicate with their doctors, specialists and nurses. They receive ongoing 24/7 support for a wide range of health-related requests and gain insight into their own health data and reports.

  • Retailers are placing more emphasis on e-commerce

The beginning of this year was marked by a flurry of headlines about familiar brands shutting their physical stores. The message is clear: brick-and-mortar mainstays are shifting their focus to online sales and those that aren’t are closing their doors completely. E-commerce has been a big trend for a while, but it’s poised to explode in the coming months and years. Retailers are under pressure to quickly ramp up their digital presence.

As varied as these different business models seem, there is one thing that they all have in common. Customer identities are a required fixture across all go-to-market strategies. While apps, web assets and connected devices are continuously evolving, along with privacy regulations and security practices, digital identity profiles are the one constant that enables every aspect of digital business.

For most organisations, this reality is creating a new wave of challenges. It forces them to resolve the data issues they’ve likely been wrestling for a while including:

  • Data silos 

Data trapped in disparate systems across apps, geographic locations, departments and business segments have always created inefficiencies and incomplete records. And when it comes to moving forward with new business models, these problems are exacerbated. Data silos make it impossible to gain a single view of the customer and the comprehensive insight key to understanding who your customers are and what they want. A single customer identity is also crucial to delivering personalised experiences and services consistently across apps, channels and devices.

  • Data security

Securing the perimeter of a data centre with a firewall used to be adequate, but as many organisations are discovering, this is no longer enough, particularly to protect data in the context of these new digital business models. Data is now generated and used across a wide range of access points outside the firewall. Security best practices like centralised access control and end-to-end encryption are important capabilities for delivering subscription services, securing mobile and e-commerce payment data, and protecting customers’ sensitive health information.

  • Data access authentication and authorisation

Each of these business models requires fail-proof ways to ensure that the right people have access to the right data, apps, systems and services. Plus, this access must be effortless for the customer, and of course, highly secure. Companies that have struggled with multiple logins, password-only access and limited data governance capabilities are discovering that these challenges are impeding their ability to launch and successfully maintain today’s business models.

Addressing these challenges head-on is the price of innovation, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Resolving customer data management and access issues enables organisations to pursue business models that grow businesses faster, offer better services, and increase the scale and magnitude of our reach, often surpassing what we’ve ever thought was possible.


About the author

Andre Durand is the CEO of Ping Identity, a cloud-based identity management software.