Smart Master Data Management Will Power Your Customer Analytics And Insights


It’s supposed to be a post omni-channel world. A time when personalization is the norm, but as customers we know this is not the case. When customers contact companies, the companies often don’t recognize who the customer is, and they certainly don’t know what the customer’s preferences are. The truth is customers rarely get the personalized and tailored experiences they desire.

Well it’s not a shortage of data about those customers.

So why is it that when customers contact companies, most companies seem completely unaware about anything specific regarding that customer, let alone tastes and preferences. The reason is delinquency when it comes to the aggregation and management of the customer’s data inside the company.

Companies have many challenges when it comes to using customer data, particularly data that is supposed to help the company make better decisions in real-time.

David Rowley, CTO of IAC Publishing Labs, and former executive at customer experience software vendor Sprinklr, said, “the notion of a centralized repository for key business data is an important aspect of providing a more comprehensive customer experience.”

But many companies don’t have this today.

This information is called master data. “Master data” can be about products, employees, materials, suppliers but also may include documents and sales. Rowley said, “A centralized master data store (the repository for the master data) can improve real time decision making and analytics, if information about the entities (e.g. customers) is stored centrally. This provides you with a single trustworthy source of truth about the customer.” Rowley added that you can report directly on that data, rather than having to aggregate customer data from separate systems. He said, “A central view of the customer, for example, keeps various systems in sync with what the customer has done.”

Vic Bhagat, CIO of Verizon Business Services, said, “master data is more important now than ever – the amount of data being generated today will pale in comparison to what will be generated in just a few more years.” He added, “Having a master data management strategy clearly defined — early on — enables a faster approach to analytics to deliver a more proactive, predictive, prescriptive outcome that customers expect today.”

As we established, companies struggle with their current state of their customer data management, but what happens when the business becomes a little complicated, such as with a merger or acquisition. How does the company merge all the new data with all the historical data? Master data management can also help with this.

We addressed the fact that many data systems that aren’t integrated. Sometimes data problems include the actual data sources, data duplicates, no data governance and no standards. Data is not always shared efficiently within the organization. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate like separate islands. Customer service and sales do not share a crm. The company does not collaborate around the customer to ensure a powerful customer experience. The company’s various departments operate in silos. More often than not the people working inside the companies do not even know one another in different departments, let alone use data that spans across the organization.

This is a challenge for organizations who need to create easy and elegant experiences for customers. Companies need to leverage data in real-time to make better decisions. Customer analytics are not helpful when one can’t trust the accuracy of the data. And with many companies today data is often too little too late.

“Leveraging Master data enables enterprises to clean, integrate, and supplement their data to ensure a complete 360 view of their customer. With this view, companies can make informed decisions, align different departments, and create world class online and offline customer experiences leading to sales growth,” says Rishi Dave, chief marketing officer at Dun and Bradstreet, a data and analytics company who provides master data.

End-to-end master data management helps clients make marketing campaigns 30% more efficient, improve upsell and cross-sell rates by 60% and increase loyalty members’ spending by 20%, according to Informatica.

Neopost Uses Master Data For A Transformation Initiative

Neopost, a market-leading global provider of mailing solutions, digital communications and shipping services, found that master data was critical for a transformation initiative. The company wanted a way to more competitively know and serve their customers. As Neopost focused on modernizing its offerings and delivery for the digital age, strong data management has played a key role.

“Besides developing the actual software we sell our customers, we’ve got to build an infrastructure where data quality is paramount,” says Steve Rakoczy, Neopost’s North America CIO. “You can make a mess really quickly in the electronic age if you don’t have your data right.” After using master data, Rakoczy said, “We can successfully manage our Salesforce environment for the first time in over a decade.”

Master data management can help your company create more compelling customer experiences, but first the company must decide on a strong data approach.

For more from author Blake Morgan sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.


Women’s Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

Women's Day: T-Hub, Anthill Launch Smart Women Angels Network in India

T-Hub on Tuesday said it along with Anthill, a speed scaling platform for early-growth stage startups, has launched a international startup initiative in India – the Smart Women Angels Network (SWAN).

T-Hub is a startup incubator set up by the Telangana Government to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in women and create awareness about investing and recognising the need for women investors, T-Hub and Anthill have launched SWAN, a release said.

SWAN, which has its roots in Barcelona has now spread its wings to reach India to create a network of women angel investors who will then collaborate with their counterparts from across the world to interact with and invest in startups, it said.

Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub said, “To encourage women to be active members of the ecosystem, T-Hub in collaboration with Anthill, has launched SWAN in India. We truly believe this reputed programme will not only suffuse the culture in the country, but change the dynamics of the community to make it more inclusive.”

Prasad Vanga, founder and CEO, Anthill said, “With the launch of SWAN, we want to boost the presence of more women investors in India.”

Cristina Ventura, president of SWAN and an Angel and Fund-of-Funds Investor, said, “The percentage of women investors around the world is very less. For example, in the US just 20 percent of the investors are women, in Europe it is 5 pe cent, in the UK it is 14 percent while in Spain it is just 8 percent. In India, the numbers are very low.”

“SWAN believes in creating an inclusive network that can make a positive difference,” added Ventura.

Tags: T Hub, Anthill, SWAN, Women’s Day, India

Dropbox Brings ‘Unlimited Storage’ With Smart Sync, Collaboration With Paper And New Web Design

Dropbox Paper 2Dropbox is rolling out a number of new features aimed at making its business product as easy to use as its consumer version.

Smart Sync (formerly Project Infinite) and Dropbox Paper are now out of beta and have been released alongside a redesigned Dropbox web interface.

“It’s amazing how far technology has come in the last 10 years, particularly in the consumer realm, in our personal lives,” said Drew Houston, Dropbox CEO, speaking in San Francisco. “But what’s surprising to me, is a lot of this progress hasn’t really made it into our working lives.

“We’re redesigning Dropbox to be fundamentally designed for teams. We’re reinventing sync, bringing a modern collaboration experience to all your files, and launching Paper, a new way to work together that goes beyond the document.”

Smart Sync

First introduced as Project Infinite last April and now available to all Dropbox Business users, Smart Sync gives businesses and individuals access to all of their cloud files without having to download them onto their desktop or laptop.

The files appear on a user’s computer exactly as any others and work in exactly the same way, while taking up virtually no local disk space until it is needed. It works across both Windows and Mac computers and all different file types.


Dropbox Project Infinite

“Companies today have a tremendous amount of information, and it’s growing by the day” said Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal. “Most companies have way more knowledge than they can fit onto any one computer so we wanted to migrate the file server into the cloud so we can get all of your company’s knowledge in one place.

“Smart sync is more than a huge technical breakthrough, it solves a very real and acute pain point for our customers. With smart sync you’ll never run out of space again.”

Dropbox Paper

So, you now have constant access to all of your documents, but Dropbox also wanted to “move beyond the document” and that’s where Paper comes in, moving out of Beta mode and now available in 21 languages.

Paper is a flexible workspace that enables teams to work together on documents, using text, images, videos and even code. It’s essentially a ‘live’ environment, giving users a real-time view of any changes that have been made. It can be described as Dropbox’s answer to Google Docs and Box Notes.



Users can add due dates for certain actions, assign people to tasks and then keep track of the project as it progresses. Team leaders can see who’s currently viewing file, who viewed it recently and, perhaps most importantly, who hasn’t viewed it yet. Other new features also include a presentation mode, improved search functionality and smart meeting notes with Google Calendar integration.

“Now that we’ve got all your teams files in one place, there’s a lot we can do to make them more collaborative,” said Todd Jackson, Dropbox’ VP of product. “We’ve been working really hard to bring your files to life and you can talk about the work, right next to the work itself.”

“Paper is a space where thinking meets doing,” added CMO Carolyn Feinstein. “We believe deeply that when people work together in a more human and connected way, they grow better ideas.”

New web design

As well as the product updates, Dropbox revealed a new design to its web interface, aimed at helping user to stay focused on tasks while providing easy access to relevant and related content.

It provides a unified feed of updates for a team’s Dropbox files and Paper docs, such as presence avatars to help teams stay up to date on who has viewed shared documents and when. It provides a “real time view of what your team is doing,” Jackson said, where “every action you see is specific to the folder or file you’re working on.”


Samsung SMART Signage TV: Digital Signs and TV for Small Businesses

Samsung digital sign - bagel store



A turnkey solution giving you the ability to offer either business TV programming or digital signs (or both on a split screen) to your patrons, on a 40-inch or 48-inch Samsung business TV. With 200 templates, do-it-yourselfers on a small business budget can create and change digital signs quickly at no added cost.

Lots of small businesses use televisions in their premises: gyms, sports bars, restaurants — to name some.  But what business owners may not realize is that using consumer televisions for commercial purposes may void or reduce the warranty.

And if you decide to use a TV or computer monitor to run an in-house presentation, say in your lobby, it can be cumbersome and expensive. You may need to commission an expensive video or multimedia presentation. Or if you choose to create it yourself, such as with PowerPoint, the result may look less visually appealing than you’d hoped.

And what about signs and displays in your business? Have you ever wished for something more dynamic and exciting?

Recently we ran across an impressive solution for small businesses that solves those kinds of issues. It’s called the Samsung SMART Signage TV.

Think of it as “TV and digital signage in a box.” I saw it in action at the recent Small Business Summit in New York (pictured in the booth below).

Overall, it’s an impressive package that gives small businesses the kind of flexibility and options for signage and television previously available to larger buyers (such as hotels, hospitals or retail chains).

Michael O’Halloran, marketing manager with Samsung, who was at the Summit, told me that this is a solution Samsung designed specifically for small businesses. “Digital signage has been around for years,” he said. “But up to now it’s been for large companies. The difference is that we’ve created the first ‘television and digital signage package in a box’ that’s easy enough for even the smallest business to install and use.”

digital signage tv system in a box

Samsung SMART Signage TV Features

The Samsung SMART Signage TV is designed specifically for small businesses.

With it you can offer regular television programming to your patrons, of course. It is a fully functioning high-definition TV.  It comes in two sizes: 40-inch and 48-inch.

But the real beauty of this system is the digital sign platform that is included at no extra charge. You can create and display bright, eye-catching digital signs in your premises.

It includes a free software package called MagicInfo Express (see video demonstration), that comes with over 200 sign templates. After a short learning curve, it takes just minutes to create dynamic signs with text and images. You can have static signs or make the sign images move, alternate, fly in or fade out. There are many animation options to catch a customer’s eye.

You can also schedule signage for different times of day. For instance, a restaurant could change a menu sign for breakfast, lunch and dinner automatically.

You don’t need to be a designer to use the software. Just upload your logo and photographs. Then you follow the instructions to insert them into the pre-made templates.  You update the software from a laptop or desktop computer, or from a mobile device.

Once satisfied with your design, you can load the content wirelessly to the television set from your computer or mobile device. This means, if you have signs at multiple locations, you can update them remotely.  Another option is to upload via a USB device that you plug into the TV.

You do not need to be a technician to set up the system. The media player is built in to the television.  So there’s no messing around trying to get a separate media player to “play nice” with the TV. You don’t have to jerry rig solutions such as running cables from a monitor to a dedicated laptop hidden nearby.

Samsung televisions are good quality and look attractive. The Smart Signage TV has a sleek gloss-black finish.

These televisions are designed to take heavy business use — 16 hours per day, 7 days a week. They each have an 16:9 LED Backlit LCD display. They are Energy Star rated for energy efficiency.

The signage TV is in use in New York’s Tompkins Square Bagels, where owner Christopher Pugliese points out that he’s using the sign to open up new sales opportunities. “We have massive lines of 20-somethings who work all over New York City. And I don’t think any of them realize that we could cater their office breakfast or meeting,” he said. “We felt that the digital display would be really helpful with getting that message across.”

Samsung digital signs cross sell


  • Everything you need for one installation is included in the box: television, TV stand, wall mount hardware, and software and templates to design the signs.
  • The SMART Signage set can be displayed in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode — either on the wall or as a tabletop set. Vertical signs are especially good for clothing stores that may want to show a fully dressed model. Horizontal signs have the added benefit of being able to display a television program right alongside a sign message, on a split screen. For example, a sports bar could display a televised football game, alongside a sign with the day’s drink specials.
  • Digital signage is bright, modern looking, and faster to change than printed signs.
  • Each Smart Signage TV comes with a 36-month warranty for parts and labor. This warranty covers commercial use of the TV. It includes onsite service. Samsung has a dedicated support line for commercial users.
  • MSRP pricing is $749 for the 40-inch and $999 for the 48-inch. You might be tempted to think, ‘I can buy cheaper TVs at my local big box store.’ But remember the added value you are getting in the form of (1) signage software, (2)  Samsung quality, (3) ease of managing your signage, and (4) commercial warranty and onsite service.
  • You can purchase directly from Samsung, or from retailers such as Costco, Amazon and Sam’s Club. Leasing options may also be available to spread out the cost in monthly payments.


I saw a live demonstration, including how to use the software, at a conference. It presented very well (see Tompkins Square Bagels examples pictured).  It appears as easy to use as the description. There were no negatives that I could see.

My only reservation is that I haven’t used the Smart Signage TV for any length of time. So I can’t speak to installing it or using it over time.  (Read: what you need to know about business TV.)

However, I am a user of Samsung televisions in general. If the quality of these is similar to what I have used, you will be well satisfied with the looks, reliability and display.  While there may be sharper displays on the market, the SMART Signage TV is a vast improvement over what I see many small businesses using today.

Samsung digital signs TV DIY installation

Who Samsung SMART Signage TV Is Best For

SMART Signage TV is ideal for small businesses that want to attract customer attention through bright, eye-catching digital signs for interior spaces. This includes retail shops, spas, salons, restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and bars. It’s perfect to call out visually-appealing offerings or sales promotions, so you can sell more products or services.

And remember that it’s also a TV. For those of you already offering business TV programming to patrons, it opens up new cross-selling opportunities.  For example, a dentist’s office can provide TV in the waiting room. On a split screen the dentist could inform patients about optional services such as invisible braces or tooth whitening.

It’s also a good choice for offices that have television and/or in-house presentations in their lobbies. Examples include consulting businesses and technology companies that receive visitors regularly.

Samsung SMART Signage TV is great for do-it-yourself owners and managers who want the flexibility to change signage regularly — even multiple times a day.

Playing around with the software, I can say it is easy to change signs using the templates.  I’d equate it to using PowerPoint. If you or your staff use PowerPoint, I’m pretty sure you can learn to use this sign software.

Who it’s not for: if you use business television but have no plans to ever use the signage, you may not get full value at the $749 and $999 price points. Price shoppers strictly looking for an inexpensive TV who don’t need the signage option can find cheaper options, I am sure.  Remember, though, the warranty coverage with this SMART Signage TV may save you money in the long run.

Small businesses that want to serve customers better AND increase sales should check out Samsung’s SMART Signage TV for an:

  • easy turnkey solution combining both advertising and television;
  • TV programming on a beautiful HD television set;
  • the kind of professional-looking digital signs that large companies have;
  • the ability for do-it-yourselfers to change digital signage quickly at no added cost, without getting a designer involved;
  • onsite warranty coverage backed by a multibillion-dollar global company;
  • at a small-business price.

Image credits: Samsung; Small Business Trends

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