Data management trends come and go. But, consistently, success and ROI in that tech du jour are buried in the details of IT strategy and personnel management, says Wes Flores, director, service CRM, for communications provider Verizon.
Flores has been lauded for his work over the past few years in centralizing business analytics and master data program, as well as specialized projects with Verizon’s data warehouse customer information capabilities. That has unlocked data access across departments at Verizon and tied together quality information from dozens of billing platforms and legacy systems.
Now he’s vested in mapping out a customer relationship management tool to funnel and unite operational analytics from Verizon’s hundreds of thousands of medium-to-large B2B clients. Flores calls the plan a “true solution application” – one first pushed on the business side and then linked to efforts on the IT and data side. Business will stay in step with the project into the next implementation and vendor phases, which Flores says is how data process and coding work will solidify the business value of the CRM tool.
“The goal here is to bring an end-to-end customer experience into a single way of managing interactions,” Flores says. “These are the types of things that, if business did by themselves or IT did by themselves, it may not bring the complete value that collaboration would.”
While there is growing interest in and adoption of CRM functionalities, it doesn’t come close to the disruptive change looming across all IT departments from the cloud, Flores says. Verizon has taken a keen interest in cloud operations, expanding its own business cloud offerings and, over the last year, acquiring Terremark, a cloud infrastructure provider, and CloudSwitch, a cloud software vendor.
While Verizon has shuffled some internal information to a private cloud, Flores says excitement about other opportunities has been met with measured questions on hype, IT responsibilities and actual savings. For the massive data sets with the recently implemented customer data warehouse, deployment carries more data volume and sensitivity concerns than returns, Flores says. But there are plenty of changes to take on this hot data market for areas such as outlying, niche solutions or tools that carry long startup times and low bandwidths, he says.
Like the development of the CRM tool, the cloud calls for case-by-case discussions that match the zeroes and ones with the dollars and cents, Flores says.
“We have to come in and be smart about what we allow to happen. We don’t want to do things just because,” he says. “That’s a role that I’ve advised on in a number of cases, saying ‘I know that we want to go cloud as fast as possible in certain areas, but does it really make sense?’ We’re making sure that we’re doing the diligence first.”
Flores was among our “25 Top Information Managers of 2011”. Click here to see a slide show of the honorees.
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