WHAT IS DATA-CENTRIC?

A customer journey happens along time but it is not quite a process as it is unpredictable. It is driven by the customer and the key to manage it properly is the customer’s context, a blend of external situation, history with the brand and ongoing relationships. Actually, we could rather call them behaviours.

About ten years ago, scientists started to define a management model for this. It is the data-centric model. It starts with the situation in each point in time and it decides two things: what is the next best action to promote and what can the customer do instead of what should be done.

The resulting model is strikingly simple because it doesn’t have to figure out all the possibilities. It is so flexible that changes come at no cost. Just like in sailing.

Kopernik is the methodology that our team is developing with the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, one of the very few globally that are working on data-centric. Balandra is the first data-centric management system ever, not because we say so, but because technology analysts do.

HOW DO YOU USE DATA-CENTRIC TO MODEL A CUSTOMER JOURNEY?

The goal is to decouple the system from our idea of its behaviour. To be able to manage the endless possibilities takes a set of 4 elements:

WHAT

The conversation to manage is defined, as the starting point of the customer journey, and it includes everything to be taking into account when deciding upon the journey. This ends-up in a dynamic data structure, the “artifact”, that actually drives the behaviour. That is why it is a “data-centric” name.

In Balandra, changing an artifact is a matter of hours and can be deployed on the fly. Here is also where you define the integration with the different systems, but it will be much smaller an effort than in more traditional technologies, where data need to be translated from one system to another. We start from the idea that data come from heterogeneous sources.

HOW

We list the actions that can be used within the context. Only the actions, not why, nor whom or when. They are only listed and created to be used along the actual journey of each case, if at all needed.

In Balandra, they are small elements of code and the only place, with the interfaces, where there is any code left. They are elements very simple and stable.

WHERE

Lifecycle is the definition of the situations in which a particular case can be found. They have to be complete, not only the expected ones, because in the boat model, opposite to the train one, anything goes. The trick is that the situations can only be based in the context data, not in the previous history nor in the expected behaviour.

Finally, there are different lifecycle for different stakeholders: the customer view on his mobile is different and much simpler than the CMO’s funnel and the COO process.

WHEN

The rules that drive the journey and that you can change anytime because they are not coded. They drive the whole journey, so you will be able to really test all these strategies that you are thinking of, with the peace of mind that the behaviour will be coherent along all the channels.

The rules are layered according to the Kopernik dimensions, so that you can manage journeys as complex as the mortgage origination without dying of complexity.

The boat analogy is enforced here because the change cost is close to zero.

WHY KOPERNIK?

Back in the XVI century, Copernicus, a mathematician researcher, observed that the geocentric model that explained the planets movement didn’t work for all the cases so he decided that there had to be another explanation. So he postulated the heliocentric model. It took him 15 years of research.

Our methodology also comes from a radical change: if the specs are never complete nor enough… could it be because the system behaviour is unpredictable? BALSA is a new design technology that takes that as a starting point.

HOW TO KEEP IT SIMPLE?

The key to make a real zero-cost change system is to layer the business rules so that they are kept simple and manageable. In our boat analogy, it would match the separating the sails from the steering wheel. For that, we have created a set of dimensions that structure the rules and we have defined the Kopernik index as a measure of complexity. It is worked out from the number and importance of those dimensions in each particular journey:

  • The number and the importance of the dimensions that are involved in a given journey are at the origine of the complexity of it.
  • A higher index shows a greater unpredictability and a deeper need of the data-centric approoach.
  • Namely, when there are documents requested from the customer, the customer journey gets exponentially complicated according to the number of documents needed.