Customer Data

Your Successful Customer Data Platform Implementation: 5 Must-Have's to Make it Work

Customer Data | October 18, 2018

You know that a customer data platform (CDP) can completely transform the way that marketers do their job, and fuel personalized marketing campaigns that exceed your customers’ expectations. And now you're ready to implement your new CDP.

But where do you start? How do you prepare? Who should be involved?

We’ve implemented many CDPs and we’ve found the most successful implementations start with organizational readiness for the new system. This means understanding your data and how you’ll use it going forward, how your Marketing team is organized and interacts with other departments, and finally, getting internal alignment so that the entire organization is ready to go out of the gate.

We recommend creating an implementation roadmap stating your vision and goals, and the steps and processes needed to get the CDP to operate properly in your organizational environment.

How long does a customer data platform implementation take?

Your CDP implementation can take from 6 weeks to 3 months ­­— depending on factors like the number and types of data sources you have, the complexity of your business rules, your team, your internal processes and policies, and the degree of customization needed.

Every project is different but in many cases, the implementation team will consist of the vendor as well as an internal team, or it may only include an experienced internal team.

5 must-have’s to make your implementation successful

Avoid roadblocks by considering the following best practices for managing the people, processes and logistics of your CDP implementation.

1. Break-up your implementation into phases. Implementation is best done in phases, delivering value at each step along the way, and iterating issues out of the process. Using a phased implementation process allows you to begin using features and functionality of the platform as they become available rather than waiting for the entire system to be implemented. 

2. Define a clear scope and business objectives. Avoid scope creep by setting a comprehensive scope up front. Even though an extensive process of due diligence and scoping is done during the sales process, unforeseen issues inevitably come up, so be prepared for this. As with any large project, until implementation gets underway, the exact costs and scope are somewhat unknown until all involved start exploring the technical side of how your data is currently moving and how it needs to move with a CDP.

3. Get executive buy-in and stakeholder alignment on success measures. When you implement a CDP, the whole organization needs to be in sync, starting at the top. Management’s buy-in will provide a synergistic effect on the whole organization. In addition, get buy-in and participation of stakeholders from all impacted business units. By bringing together people with various perspectives, needs and skills, you’re more likely to identify agreed-upon success metrics and develop a comprehensive implementation plan from the start.

4. Identify and remove risks upfront. The most common implementation risks are bits of critical information that don’t become known to the implementation team until after the project has started. Even seemingly small details can have major impacts on resources and timeframes. Once you’ve identified these risks, determine the impact that each will have on your CDP implementation and the best course of action to address them. 

5. Provide hands-on enablement and training. Communication and hands-on training are critical elements of implementation and ensure that end-users are able to extract value from the CDP. Talk with your CDP provider about what wlll be the blend of in-person, online and over the phone training for your organization.

A CDP implementation shouldn’t be painful. And if you follow these five best practices, you’ll be in the best shape possible for a successful implementation. To learn more about these critical must-have’s, and to get checklists, bonus tips and specific action steps to help with implementation, download our white paper, 5 Essentials for a Successful CDP Implementation.