Panel Discussion: Cracking the challenge of a ‘Single View’ of the customer: is this the golden ticket for organisations?


Cracking the challenge of a ‘Single View’ of the customer: is this the golden ticket for organisations?

Background & customer research

As a Data Discovery software company, a ‘Single View’ of the customer is understandably a hot topic at Exonar, and one which is frequently on the lips of our customers. It is the concept behind our new product SVoX (Single View of Anything).

The benefits to organisations of getting a single view of the customer are huge. With visibility of how a customer has interacted with different parts of the business, you can offer them better deals or more support, and improve customer experience.

For example, on average according to Quora, a call centre operative deals with up to 1,000 [1] calls per day. Customers get frustrated when the companies they call don’t seem to have all the information they need, or don’t realise the customer has bought different products in the past. So start from there. Your customer call centre teams should be equipped with the tools and resources to make the customer experience as seamless as possible.

To dive into this question of value deeper, before our November 2021 Customer Forum, we asked our own Exonar clients “What challenge could a ‘Single View’ of your customer solve within your organisation?

Ideas included ‘assisting customers better’ and ‘increased customer visibility’. Followed closely by ‘data all in one place’, ‘detecting fraudulent activity’ and ‘improving the customer experience’. People also suggested ‘reviewing legacy data’, ‘data migrations’, ‘linking the same customers to several accounts’, ‘finding errors and discrepancies’ and ‘assisting to find completed work across a customer’s data estate’. Essentially all of these relate in some way to customers and experience.

To continue the conversations further we decided to take this topic into a wider panel discussion at the Customer Forum we hosted this week.

Meet our expert data panel

We invited 4 guest panellists to join us:

Peter Jones – Head of Data – Internal Audit, Legal & General

Peter currently leads the data analytics function for Legal and General’s group internal audit function. Prior to working at legal and General Peter worked in higher education, public sector and retail. Website | LinkedIn


Raj – Financial Services Organisation

Raj has over 20 years experience across various IT organisations including more than 11 years in progressive project/program management experience.


Malcolm Melville – Technology & Security Advisor, IXA2A Ltd

Malcolm is currently working for his own consultancy. He has previously worked on many mergers and acquisitions particular in the data space, most recently the London Stock Exchange Group takeover or Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters finance and risk business. LinkedIn

Paul Davey – Cyber Risk Advisor, BSI GroupPaul works in BSI’s Cyber Security and Information Resilience team. Prior to BSI, Paul spend 20 years working for managed service providers, working with cloud technology, backup, disaster recovery and driving digital transformation. Website | LinkedIn
Gareth Tranter – Chair of panel and Head of Customer Success, Exonar LinkedIn 
Danny Reeves – CEO, Exonar LinkedIn

Panel discussion

We asked the panel the questions below:

    - What problems could a single view of the customer enable your organisation to solve?
    - Do you have a current strategy to deal with this now?
    - What are the challenges you’ve experienced?
    - In what way do you think this could be a game-changer for your business?

And this is what they said:

Peter, Legal & General 

“There’s lots of risk around management of data across big organisations and Legal & General is pretty big. We’ve got lots of business units doing different things. We need an enterprise view of data and a mixture of central and federated data on customers. At Legal and General we’re really proud of the feed that updates the central database as it allows us to track back where records originate if a mistake is made.

However, its often the way – you fix a problem and you make a new one. And it’s nice when someone has built a product that thought about some of this rather than us who are learning as we go and falling in each hole in the ground as we find it.”

Raj, Financial Services Organisation 

“Especially the size and scale of business and the complexity we have, the stage we are at (you name the tool and we have it!) makes it especially hard to get a single view. A major challenge we are seeing is with fintechs is that they don’t have legacy data so it’s easier for them to start their journey and take it end to end. A single view of customer helps but what we need is also a wider data management strategy. Do you understand end to end journey of the data? What are the transformations it has had? If there are quality issues, how do you trace it back to the source? I think that is really important and we are seeing it more and more especially with legacy systems. They are hard to integrate and it’s hard to get that end to end view.”

Malcolm, IXA2A Ltd 

“I’ll take a slightly different tack. One of big problems everyone‘s trying to deal with in capital markets is the fact that a lot of the data that’s being used is licensed data. It doesn’t belong to people using it. Firms sell that data to people and these data sets are delivered in many different forms. Sometimes files, sometimes in databases. SVOX enables us to automate some of these functions and provide a better way forward. The current strategy of human effort is rapidly running out of steam because of the huge numbers of data sets involved. It’s an end to end problem – the number of data sets by the number of people and it’s clearly not scalable.”

Paul, BSI Group

“Some customers are finding that data is becoming increasingly fragmented. You’ve got your production data in a private cloud, co-location environment, old legacy physical kit, you’ve got multi cloud, AWS Google Azure, SaaS based solutions, Salesforce, Microsoft 365, multiple databases and then you’ve got your secondary data which is your backup your archive and so on. This is becoming a real challenge because you have multiple tools and staff to deliver and get a single view of your data. SVoX saves money, it removes the complexity by reducing storage, deduplication, licensing costs, hardware costs. You are only looking at a single source of truth.”

Conclusion & key takeaway points...

Peter, Legal and General 

“No-one thinks they own risk. The ability to join up and create that one view allows you to throw an audit report on the table and say who is responsible for this, protecting the organisation. I know others talk about cost reduction or opportunity for making money but there is so much opportunity to take risk out of business particularly in a highly regulated environment by getting this right.”

Raj, Financial Services Organisation

“This will help us acquire, grow as well as retain our customers. But I think that one of the biggest parts is around hyper-personalisation. It will put customers in control of their data. They are able to do more and more with their data. They are making those changes themselves rather than relying on us. Also, it will help us in driving the experience the customer has, so every interaction is meaningful as well as relevant to their circumstances and needs. For example, within COVID we turned around the government roll out scheme in just a few weeks. Understanding feedback is an ongoing basis.”

Malcolm, IXA2A Ltd 

“For me the game changer is about the customer experience. We all expect as customers to have a joined up and simple experience and I think the real game changer will be automating this and simplifying it so we don’t have to keep going back through those manual processes and frustrating people by having to keep asking the same questions every year for regulatory, licencing or other reasons.”

Paul, BSI Group

“Having that single source of truth is really important. There are lots of me too solutions but where Exonar Reveal and SVoX differentiate is that you can drive business value out of the data you’ve got. I spoke to the CIO of HM Prison and he told me how important data was to them. For example they noticed that at 5pm on Fridays there would be assaults on other prisoners or guards. By looking at data they can drive value out of it but seeing the correlation between assaults and other events during the day. Using that data they can make changes to their services and they see that as driving value because it makes them more efficient. The only way they can do this is because they have a single source of truth.”