Data Integration

What went wrong with customer 360

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Sameer Athalye

2 min read

Three decades into the data revolution, my fellow technologists and I find ourselves asking an existential — and rather distressing — question: What happened to the promise of customer 360?

The ability to get more customer data was supposed to fundamentally change the relationship between customers and brands. Companies were going to be able to offer targeted, meaningful engagements that would multiply average deal size and slash time to close. Predictive algorithms would make it possible for brands to give their customers everything they needed — before they knew they needed it — sending customer loyalty and lifetime value (LTV) through the roof. 

And yet, here we are. The enticing promise of customer 360 has yet to be fulfilled, its utopian vision a glimmering mirage or forbidding Mt. Everest for most organizations. So, what went wrong?

“77% of organizations report that customer insights have failed to become a source of growth and competitive differentiation.” 

— McKinsey.com, "The Customer Insights Function is Ripe for a Boost"


When digital transformation became a common objective, most organizations treated it as nothing more than a perfunctory series of boxes to check if they wanted to keep up with the competition. Even as companies invested in more expensive tools to generate and consume data, they still struggled to see the promised value in those investments. In fact, a shocking 77% of organizations report that customer insights have failed to become a source of growth and competitive differentiation. 

I believe the tools available today are not the source of friction or failure. It’s the mindset behind how those tools are applied that’s holding us back.  

Realizing the promise of customer 360 requires a change in the way we think about customer data. The companies who thrive will be the ones who adopt a holistic perspective that permeates their culture and treat data as a long-term strategic asset that underpins every business decision. They will devote resources to ensuring that everyone will be able to access the information they need, when they need it, and use it without questioning its validity — and measure their progress towards that goal. In short, healthy businesses will be the ones who prioritize data health.

To learn more about the relationship between data health and successfully fulfilling the customer 360 promise, we invite you to explore the resources in our data health knowledge center. 

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Data Integration

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