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ACHIEVING A SINGLE CUSTOMER VIEW

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Have you ever received a solicitation to purchase a product you already own? Have you ever been offered a special upgrade discount for a product you don't own? Have you ever called a technical support line and answered the same questions over and over as your call is passed from one customer service agent to the next? At one time or another, everyone has experienced the frustration of dealing with companies that do not integrate their customer information. From a personal perspective, it can be frustrating. But from a business perspective, it can be extremely damaging — resulting in poor customer service, missed opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling, expensive and poorly targeted marketing campaigns, a tarnished corporate image and reputation, and — most devastating of all — a lack of customer loyalty.
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Content Preview
ACHIEVING A
SINGLE CUSTOMER VIEW
White Paper
May 2008

Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
The “Single Customer View” Defined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Problems of Piecemeal Customer Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
From a customer perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
From an IT perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
From a business perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
The Opportunities of Customer Data Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
From a strategic perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
From a vertical industry perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Challenge: Integrating Data Silos, Bridging Islands of Information . . . . . . . . . . 6
Limitations of previous integration alternatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
A smarter approach: composite applications built on a service-oriented
architecture (SOA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Sun’s Solution: Sun™ Master Data Management Suite (Sun MDM Suite) . . . . . . . . . 9
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Key advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Cross-Industry Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Telecommunications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
About Sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
For more information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Executive Summary
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Executive Summary
Have you ever received a solicitation to purchase a product you already own? Have you
ever been offered a special upgrade discount for a product you don’t own? Have you
ever called a technical support line and answered the same questions over and over as
your call is passed from one customer service agent to the next?
At one time or another, everyone has experienced the frustration of dealing with com-
panies that do not integrate their customer information. From a personal perspective,
it can be frustrating. But from a business perspective, it can be extremely damaging —
resulting in poor customer service, missed opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling,
expensive and poorly targeted marketing campaigns, a tarnished corporate image and
reputation, and — most devastating of all — a lack of customer loyalty.
Establishing a single customer view should be an urgent priority for companies in all
industries today — whether the “customer” is a consumer, patient, citizen, or even
another business. Yet the ever-increasing complexity of today’s IT environments,
combined with the increasingly distributed nature of today’s businesses and their
consumers, can easily create inertia.
This paper takes a closer look at the impacts of dispersed customer information, as
well as the potential benefits of implementing a single customer view. It presents
Sun’s approach to achieving a single customer view: building composite applications
using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach — an approach that overcomes
the complexity and limitations of previous tactics. The paper also provides cross-indus-
try examples of companies that have achieved the benefits of implementing a single
customer view.

1
The “Single Customer View” Defined
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Chapter 1
The “Single Customer View” Defined
Many companies are extremely good at gathering customer data. They consistently
collect customer information at the point of sale. They track customer buying habits
and preferences over time. They survey their customers and diligently record the results.
They manage customer information from multiple sources, including contact details,
customer valuation data, results of direct marketing campaigns, and so on.
But all too often, they don’t consolidate or integrate this information. The data resides
in multiple systems, or “silos,” managed by multiple departments or lines of business,
in multiple geographic locations. The data is never cross-compared, cross-pollinated,
or updated in any consistent way.
As a result, these companies do not or cannot create a single customer view.
“Organizations typically have customer data spread across many systems. It is
fragmented and often inconsistent. This makes it difficult for organizations to
understand the true value of customers, their likely behavior, their needs, and
also the risks associated with them. Without a single view of those customers,
organizations are in the dark and cannot effectively retain customers, cross-sell
to them, deliver the right customer experience to them, or manage the risk asso-
ciated with them. Some form of single customer view is, therefore, fundamental
to managing customer relationships.”
— Gartner, “Creating the Single Customer View with Customer Data
Integration,” by John Radcliffe, 2006

2
The Problems of Piecemeal Customer Knowledge
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Chapter 3
The Problems of Piecemeal Customer Knowledge
Most companies are aware that the lack of a single customer view can diminish cus-
tomer satisfaction levels and lead to cost inefficiencies. But few have considered the
complete range of costs — hard-dollar and soft-dollar — that are a direct result of
poorly integrated customer information.
From a customer perspective
When companies don’t seem to know their customers or “remember” past interactions,
the message received by the customer is that they don’t value their business. This leads
to a lack of loyalty and potentially serious financial consequences. According to “The
Loyalty Effect,” the landmark book printed by Harvard Business School Press it costs
five to ten times as much to win a new customer as it does to keep a customer, and a
five-percent increase in customer loyalty can translate into a 75-percent increase in
profitability. Losing a customer’s loyalty equals losing substantial business.
Equally important, bad news travels fast on the Internet. One poor experience, one story
about a company’s poor treatment of a regular customer, can instantly be transmitted
to countless thousands of other customers or prospects, compounding the damage.
From an IT perspective
The lack of a single customer view is a symptom of inefficiencies in IT planning and
ineffectiveness in IT infrastructure — a sure sign that money is being wasted. The cost
of purchasing, administering, managing, and maintaining all of the various systems
that store customer information can be considerable, and if the net result is splintered
customer data that isn’t integrated and can’t be used to maximum business advantage,
then that infrastructure is a highly suboptimal investment.

3
The Problems of Piecemeal Customer Knowledge
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
From a business perspective
In addition to the loss of customer loyalty and the expense of inefficient IT infrastructure,
the lack of a single customer view can result in added expense and wasted opportunities
for the corporation as a whole. For example:
Missed opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling. When a company doesn’t
have current or complete information about what their customers have bought before,
they can’t make informed predictions about what the customers will buy in the
future. Companies can’t target their advertising and direct-mail campaigns with
precision; they waste money on offers or advertising that won’t appeal to their
recipients; they can’t cross-sell and up-sell to maximize the total value of each
customer to the business. And in the end, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty
is reduced.
“Targeting customers with one-to-one marketing campaigns based on their unique
spending activities is a holy grail for all retailers. To achieve this aim, retailers
need a single view of customers across multiple channels.”
Retail Week, Technology: Multi-channel, March 2006
Tarnished reputation for customer service. Without a consolidated view of their
customers’ previous interactions, products purchased, and so on, customer service
agents aren’t able to serve customers effectively — whether it’s providing technical
support, offering promotional prices and discounts to preferred customers, or other
customer-facing activities. The image of their company’s service is diminished, and
the word spreads rapidly.
Poor employee productivity. Customer service agents are just as frustrated as cus-
tomers when they have to ask redundant questions or request that customers wait
while they scramble to piece together information from multiple records.

4
The Opportunities of Customer Data Integration
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Chapter 4
The Opportunities of Customer Data Integration
Where piecemeal customer information creates problems, a single customer view
creates opportunities. And the opportunities go beyond merely fixing the problems
caused by the lack of a single customer view. A single customer view can enable new
capabilities that lead to competitive advantages. Following are just a few examples
of the opportunities.
From a strategic perspective
With a single customer view, companies can improve customer service, customer
satisfaction, and customer loyalty while cutting IT inefficiencies today. They can also
position themselves for higher growth and profitability in the future.
One example is the ability to expand business operations. To operate efficiently in
multiple locations or countries, companies must ensure that they can serve customers
just as reliably from branch locations as they can from their home base. With the systems
and technologies in place to ensure a single customer view, companies can expand into
new geographies with full confidence that they will be able to manage the customer expe-
rience effectively, tracking preferences and buying patterns both on an individual basis
and on a location and cultural basis.
A single customer view also helps improve communications with partners, leading to
additional strategic opportunities such as joint selling through the partner ecosystem,
customized offers and “package deals” involving products from multiple vendors,
special discounts that apply to preferred partner products, and so on.
In addition, a single customer view can be critical to meeting regulatory compliance and
privacy management requirements. If a company can audit and substantiate all of their
customer interactions, they can more easily comply with regulations such as Sarbanes-
Oxley, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act, the European Union (EU) Data Protection
Directive, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

5
The Opportunities of Customer Data Integration
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
From a vertical industry perspective
The definition of “customer” varies from one industry to the next, but the opportunities
for better serving customers through a single customer view apply across all industries.
For example:
Healthcare: The ability to deliver the right information to the right person at the right
time is critical to providing safe, effective patient care. Hospitals and clinics are also
under pressure to cut costs, and by moving to the “single patient view” model, they
can accomplish both goals at the same time.
Government: There is a tremendous opportunity for government agencies at the
federal, state, and local levels to dramatically increase customer service with a
“single citizen view.” By consolidating citizen interactions with the government,
they can implement citizen self-service portals — providing easy assistance for
everything from driver license renewals and library book fines to jury duty and
voter registration.
Telecommunications: Under intense financial and competitive pressures, telecom-
munications companies must distinguish themselves through customer service.
With so many product and service options and so many partnerships and delivery
channels, gaining a single customer view is both more difficult and more critical for
them. It is an opportunity and a strategic imperative.
Retail: With multiple stores, call centers, campaigns, and delivery channels to coor-
dinate, retailers can benefit tremendously from the single customer view. They can
target their marketing campaigns more precisely based on the customer’s unique
spending activities, improve the speed and personalization of their customer service,
and understand and maximize the value of each customer.
Financial Services: Commercial banks, retail banks, insurance companies, and bro-
kerage firms are all branching out and encroaching into each other’s business. To
serve customers effectively, they need the ability to integrate customer information
across portfolios and financial services products. With a single customer view, they
can deliver a seamless, real-time, cross-organizational transaction flow so that they
can tailor special premium service packages to their best customers, as well as unify
policies and permissions that determine which services a given customer receives.

6
The Challenge: Integrating Data Silos, Bridging Islands of Information
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Chapter 5
The Challenge: Integrating Data Silos, Bridging
Islands of Information

While the benefits of a single customer view are well understood by many companies,
the technological complexities of achieving a single customer view are not always fully
appreciated. This section examines the issues that make customer data integration so
difficult; the following section takes a closer look at a new approach that has yielded
excellent results for many Sun Microsystems customers.
Limitations of previous integration alternatives
Businesses have been fighting the battle of poorly integrated customer data for decades.
The trouble begins the minute customer information is stored in a second system.
Unfortunately, most enterprises today have customer data distributed across literally
hundreds of systems, using multiple operating systems, database technologies, storage
subsystems, file formats, and so on.
The approaches to ensuring data consistency across platforms have ranged from enforcing
strict IT governance policies, to creating point-to-point integration between systems, to
having employees manually synchronize records across systems. These approaches have
all broken down in the face of increasingly distributed information, inadequate middle-
ware infrastructure, increased operational costs, and rising customer expectations.
Many companies today are experiencing a “silo problem.” They have deployed multiple
systems and networks, each chartered and funded by a single line of business or division,
each with a narrowly focused goal, and each using different technologies and platforms.
As a result, multiple silos or “stovepipes” have emerged, with little integration and
minimal ability to exchange data and information. The problem is compounded by mergers
and acquisitions, because the silos of each of the combining companies must be brought
together, creating “silos of silos.”

7
The Challenge: Integrating Data Silos, Bridging Islands of Information
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Confronted with these problems, companies have tried data warehouses, portals, and
business-to-business (B2B) exchanges — each of which came with its own limitations
and challenges. Many companies recently adopted a strategy of Web-enabling each
silo independently. While achieving the short-term objective of making these systems
available over the Web, the resulting Web presence is often fractured and difficult for
customers to navigate. More seriously, this approach can make it extremely difficult to
combine the functionality of various silos and create new value-added services.
Enterprise application integration (EAI) solutions have emerged over the past few years,
enabling multiple applications running on systems from multiple vendors to communi-
cate and interoperate. EAI enables companies to integrate different information systems
into new applications, create new value-added services, and dynamically adapt to change.
For example, through EAI, a bank teller could notify a customer that it's time to refinance,
recommend a specific loan, and initiate the transaction — increasing revenue and
customer satisfaction simultaneously. Yet even EAI has limitations for customer data
integration, because it does not address business processes; it typically does not provide
built-in business process management capabilities.
A smarter approach: composite applications built using a
service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach

Another approach to achieving a single customer view has emerged: building
“composite applications” (applications created by combining multiple services) using
a standards-based SOA approach. This approach, described in more detail in this section,
overcomes the limitations of previous tactics by addressing both the technological
requirements of data integration and the business process requirements of delivering
the right data to the right people at the right time.
SOA overview
SOA is an architectural approach that enables IT to integrate and manage data across
legacy, packaged, and new applications. Using an SOA approach is the critical first
step in achieving a single customer view — a step that also allows the organization
to preserve and leverage existing IT assets and rapidly develop new functionality in
composite applications. Through the integration of siloed disparate systems, stream-
lined business processes, and an alignment of IT with business processes, companies
can achieve complete visibility of customer information across the organization.

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