Every organization has data that no one else possesses. Because I wear a services excellence hat, I believe the most compelling use of this data is to better the customer experience. 

We’ve lived in a customer-centered business world for a few decades now, and that means that any organization has a treasure trove of data on their customers. The question is, how do you use it to provide preventative, proactive, and personalized experiences? This is particularly important if your organization offers software as a service. 

Any data leader who touches the customer should know what’s happening out there and drive relevance with customers. Think of it this way: your customers shouldn’t have to answer a question if you already have the information. It's about providing insights into how their solutions are configured, and ultimately delighting customers by solving their problems in a personalized way even if they don't know about it. If I can use data to fix a problem before it becomes a business issue, without the customer ever having to reach out, that’s a beautiful thing. And it definitely improves the customer experience.

The competitive advantage of customer experience

Competitive advantage for me means we're delighting our customers with products that they already have. We’re also starting to identify trends where we are seeing issues, we’re fixing our products on the front end, and we’re providing self-service.

The gold standard, of course, is being able to shift a lot of the activities that improve and sustain customer experience into the product itself. In my opinion, that's why support and development should live together in the organization. That way, the insights that we gather for the fleet of assets we've got out in the field can funnel directly back into development to improve our products, and ultimately, the customer experience.