Getting started with a new Sitecore solution, you are probably eager to get started with personalization. One of the first questions to address is of course what data to base these personalizations on.
It isn’t difficult to see the advantages of a full, seamless omni-channel experience but it requires alignment of data across systems. Something that is usually a goal – but also a progress that takes time.
Available data for personalization
I have previously written about having a pragmatic approach to what data to base personalizations upon. But how do you get started with personalization without having to wait for the holy grail of user data in your own organisation? A good starting point could be to create a data map for the different kinds of personalizations you want to achieve.
In short, you can base personalizations on four different types of data:
1. Data created by Sitecore
Sitecore has a lot of options to learn about your users behaviour. Luckily these tools are available without the need of additional code. Everything from goals to behaviour based “personas” can be created through configuration inside Sitecore. All data is stored in the Sitecore xDB.
2. Data collected in Sitecore
Data, ie. from input fields, can be stored in Sitecores xDB. So, information like company, job title, e-mail, preferences and such could be stored in the xDB and used in the personalization rule editor.
3. Data from connected systems
A lot of value is gained from using data from connected systems, such as a CRM, ERP or dialogue management software. In certain cases, a viable solution will be to look up data in connected systems on the fly. There can be certain pitfalls to assess before going this direction, such as performance and security.
4. Single view of customer
This is often referred to as the holy grail of user data. The basic idea is that no matter which system is asking about the user, the answer is always consistent and up to date. The data could be collected and synchronised into the Sitecore xDB, a CRM or a data warehouse. The point is that you will be able to create a continuous, consistent experience for the users, across channels and devices.
If your road map has “single view of customer” as the end station, there are plenty of steps on the way in which to create real value for your users and business through personalization with real user data. So don’t let your ambitions be your own road block. Start with what’s already there, or map what you have and make the appropriate connections.
Every journey starts with a single step.