Salesforce Customer 360 — Data Manager and Beyond

Why it exists, what it does and how it works.

Single view of the customer, customer 360, single pane of glass, single customer view. However you spin it the goal has been an aspirational one for a large number of companies — allow me to view all customer interactions regardless of which database in my enterprise they reside in. For companies with a large number of disparate brands or those with a large number of systems that hold customer data it can often seem an impossible dream.

Salesforce talks about its ‘Customer 360 Platform’ and has rolled out ‘Customer 360 — Data Manager’, but what is sometimes missing is… why? Why is a new product called ‘Customer 360 — Data Manager’ even needed?

Why does Customer 360 — Data Manager exist?

When I joined Salesforce in 2011, a single customer view was a simpler proposition than today.

Back then, this is what the Salesforce platform looked like.

2011. The Salesforce Platform. Data was shared from the same source, on the same infrastructure in the same geographical location.

Salesforce had created a platform. Customers could build applications by creating a custom schema, adding logic and exposing it to end users through a user interface across desktop and mobile experiences. The data was shared from the same source, on the same infrastructure in the same geographical location.

Salesforce has grown since 2011.

2020. Acquisitions have grown the breadth of offerings from Salesforce. Not all services shown.

Salesforce now has an ecosystem of connected applications with many purpose built databases to facilitate scale and performance for their specific functions.

There is a downside to a product portfolio with this breadth — I now have multiple versions of the same person across Sales, Service, Commerce and Marketing.

For instance, the fictional person Sam Smith, may have several records spread across different applications that contain a slightly different version of her depending on the details she gave.

In the diagram below we can see that Sam gave different bits of information as she interacted with different technologies in her customer lifecycle. On the far left as she checked out of a website — she may have done it as a guest user or as an authenticated user — or in this case both. Moving across to raising for late delivery of her ordered items the company may be operating globally and Sam may be travelling and interacting with different regions with different information. When the company sends Sam information they may have different subscriber details. Finally there are lots of other sources of information in an enterprise that will also have a view on the details of Sam and be external to your Salesforce implementation.

Why the Customer 360 — Data Manager is needed

To get a single version of Sam Smith, prior to Customer 360 — Data Manager, I needed to map these data sources together which is not scalable as the number of applications grows.

Creating a common identifier for each system doesn’t scale

So even without third party systems it is a challenge to provide a complete view of the customer without investing in master data management solutions.

What will Customer 360 bring?

A Vision

The end goal is to create a single, enriched customer profile that ultimately allows you to get insights and take action — in near real time — as a customer interacts with your brand.

The idea is to make it easy to federate queries across data sources — like being able to see Sam’s shopping cart from data pulled out of commerce cloud and take action on events — like being able to send a marketing follow up when Sam abandons her shopping cart.

At this moment in time Customer 360 — Data Manager is the first step towards this goal. Further enhancements over the next few releases will move Salesforce closer to this goal.

The end goal for Customer 360

A Canonical Data Model

Customer 360 Data Manager allows distributed sources of data to map into a common model. Instead of each system having to create and store multiple reference identifiers for a person

Mapping applications together via a cloud information model

Using this common model allows Customer 360 Data Manager to scale as the number of systems increases.

A Common Identifier

By providing a common data model Customer 360 will be able to provide the ability to match different data sets with rules you define. This allows a common profile to be built that aggregates data into a common identifier, or 360 ID.

Customer 360 builds one profile based on rules you define

An Event Driven Customer Experience Across Applications

Being able to correlate who someone is across distributed databases is the key to getting real time insights and taking real time actions.

The key is in publishing and subscribing to events across an enterprise ecosystem.

How will Customer 360 work?

Setup, Administration and Stewardship

The first step is to setup and import your data. This is mapping your data from the sources you have to the canonical model.

Then the Customer 360 customer resolution engine then looks at the rules you have created to match records and reconcile the data into a common profile.

This is the setup and administration needed to start importing your data and creating the single profile.

Messaging and Change Notification

In order to drive value from the newly imported data that is now matched and reconciled we need services that can enable use cases

Firstly, the data needs to be kept up to date as changes are made in the source applications. Customer 360 will have services that can publish to and subscribe from the Event Bus that Salesforce uses for high volume platform events. This allows the Customer 360 services to subscribe to changes and pass them to the Customer Resolution Engine for matching and reconciliation. It also allows it to publish those updates to other applications.

Insights to Action

Customer 360 supports getting insights and taking near real-time action by subscribing to events and taking action.

This is how Customer 360 can support use cases like creating a case in Service Cloud when someone abandons their shopping cart.

Customer 360 also supplies another important feature to facilitate queries across data sources. Namely the Data Federation Service. This service will enable one application to query for data, for the same customer, in another data source. For example, Service Cloud would be able to query for all products ordered from B2C Commerce Cloud and display them in a Lightning Web Component in the same user interface.

Summary

A good experience starts with a company being able to identify the interactions they have with their customers. The reality is, for most companies, this can be a difficult proposition.

Salesforce Customer 360 — Data Manager aims to provide:

  • A simple way to cleanse and match customer profiles across data stores
  • A federated view of a customer across your enterprise
  • The ability to take action on significant events to build loyalty with your customers

Further Reading

Cloud architect || Problem solver || Interested in solving unique challenges using different cloud service providers || All opinions are mine.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store