Customer Data Platforms – Does Industry Focus Matter?

Update: 20-June-2020: The order of vendor logos in the graphic is random. It signifies nothing. Absolutely nothing.

CDPs are being used across a wide range of industries. While the broad functionality is “horizontal”, there are several industry specific aspects that sometimes become important and requires domain flavour. Also, while functionality could be similar across industry use cases, the mechanics of it could be different. Recommending which burger to order and which health-care plan to buy are both examples of recommendations, but they’re of very different nature and likely need domain-specific expertise to be able to come up with right recommendations.

How Does a CDP Address These Industry-Specific Aspects?

Such domain or industry-specific aspects include:

  • Industry-specific Data models: The underlying data model that defines customer attributes, transactions, how they are connected and so forth
  • Terminology relevant to that industry: E.g., Customers vs patients
  • KPIs and Metrics commonly used in that vertical
  • Reporting that makes sense for specific industry
  • Recommender systems and other mostly machine-learning based algorithms 
  • Integrations with industry-specific products that capture customer interactions (e.g., fraud detection systems for banking)
  • User Interface with appropriate language 
  • Occasionally, Industry-specific functionality (e.g., subscriptions or paywalls for media)
  • Etc..

Of course, you can customise a horizontal technology product and build domain specific customisations. However, having them available out-of-the-box will save a great deal of effort in creating, testing and then managing the system on an ongoing basis. It also means that the vendor has deep expertise in that domain and can bring in useful best practices.

How Are Vendors Addressing Industry-Specific Solutions

There are many vendors in the CDP marketplace and they address it in different ways. Some vendors focus only on specific domains (like Banking or Healthcare). But they are few. Some examples of these Vertical-focused CDPs are:

  • Healthcare – Healthgrades
  • Retail – Manthan
  • Financial Services – Lemnisk

However, a vast majority of others provide industry-specific solutions on top of their generic product. These solutions are really a set of domain-specific extensions that include out-of-the-box data models, reports, interface customisations and so forth. 

I collated information about industry solutions from different vendors and came up with this map. This will give you an idea of different vendors’ focus.

Figure: CDPs By Industry

However, a couple of important considerations:

  1. This is really a starting point and you must do due diligence. Often, vendors claim they have industry-solutions just because they have customers in that specific industry. Having a customer or even a few customers in a specific industry does not mean they have a solution. Also, many times, these solutions are superficial. 
  2. Use this categorization judiciously. There are several products in this marketplace and you don’t want to miss out on more important capabilities just because the product does not have a solution for your industry. I like to use this as one of the ways to select vendors for shortlist when there are 100s of potential vendors. 
  3. This is WIP and dynamic. 

Will welcome any feedback. If you find any inaccuracies, please email me. 

Cross-posted from Linkedin. This post will reflect the latest graphic.


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