Over the last couple of days I have been participating in debate around customer insight, customer relationship management (CRM) and customer engagement management (CEM). For those of you that missed it, LGA have spent around £7m on a little over 60 local authority projects in order to drive efficiency through customer insight. Basically this boils down to a bunch of authorities exploring the possibilities of data mining, use of Experian and Acorn data and exploiting techniques such as circles of need. Sadly much of the positivity and long-term prospects for these projects have been sunk by the current downturn.
While certain projects (e.g. carelink) saw theoretical savings I have to say that I’m not a believer in expensive pen profiles, segmentation and customer insight as a high worth concept. For a start, I believe that public bodies are the best source of quality data for insight – they just need to discover and mash it. Secondly, in over half of all instances, the so-called insight just reveals the blindingly obvious. For example, most people when asked where the old people lived and where the posh people lived in their locality could probably answer with some authority.
Secondly, it seems the likes of Experian have been over-selling the usefulness of the data. Allegedly over 80% of Experian sales are to the public sector – the private sector clearly doesn’t value the segmentation.
Rant over..how about the good stuff that’s happening?
Well, there’s a whole load of useful services heading over from the USA such as GetPunchd and GoogleWallet. The Birmingham Civic Dashboard is fully functional and I’m really excited about new projects with the most excellent David Briggs from KindOfDigital and public engagement software testing by The Consultation Institute.