By Suzanne Balter | Posted on August 04, 2017
Sir Francis Bacon is famously credited with the saying “Knowledge is power.” Businesses across the globe have been taking that idea and running with it, investing in powerful data analytics programs to enhance every aspect of their operations. Customer engagement is perhaps the most fertile ground for such efforts, as big data and advanced analytics tools can help organizations capture a more complete picture of consumers and improve their interactions at every touch point.
Data-driven practices have become a major focus of customer engagement strategies. A recent CMS Council study discovered that 78 percent of marketers thought their CMOs should be spearheading analytics-based and metrics-based customer outreach initiatives. However, that same report found that only 7 percent of respondents had the ability to offer data-driven customer interactions in real time and across all of their touch points.
Why the disconnect? The answer may lie in the increasingly complex, omnichannel landscape that customers navigate today. Consumers no longer interact with brands only through in-store visits, over the phone and via their website. New touch points can include multiple mobile apps, multiple social media accounts, a broad variety of IoT devices, and many more. This tangled web of platforms invariably leads to siloed interactions that lack the context to provide more targeted and personalized engagement.
The problem can be traced back to the customer’s digital identity. The digital landscape has become so complicated that it’s extremely difficult for businesses to parse through who they are truly interacting with at any given time — or even be aware of all interactions. How can brands know if the person behind the Twitter handle tweeting at them and the site user signing up for a promotional offer are one and the same?
Without a way to unite their disparate and siloed systems, brands will be unable to achieve a single view of their customers.
By implementing single sign-on and customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions, businesses can begin knocking down the silos that prevent them from meeting their customer engagement goals. CIAM does this by providing a method to unify the numerous identities that make up an individual’s digital life (Facebook, Twitter, email, mobile app user, etc.) into a single persona. Brands can collect data from various platforms and generate a more comprehensive picture of who that individual is, what they’re interested in, and how to interact with them.
For example, consider a user who signs up for a local promotion via a regional micro site of a brand, but subsequently abandons that account. If they continue to log into the brand’s mobile app on a regular basis, that’s a good indication that any upcoming sale in their region that matches their product preferences should be promoted through that platform rather than via the microsite. It’s about timing the interaction just right and matching the touch point with the individual. To be able to adjust promotions and campaigns to an individual, that individual’s identity must be known across touch points. If the regional microsite and mobile app have separate, disconnected identity management functions then this will be impossible.
SSO further streamlines things by providing a quick, simple and secure method to access all of these various digital identities. With a single login, the customer can access any account without needing to separately enter distinct login credentials for each one. Those seemingly trivial annoyances can prevent a valuable brand interaction and an opportunity to further customer engagement.
SSO helps remove barriers to consumer outreach while adhering to robust security posture best practices, so brands can avoid the nasty fallout from an account breach.
Furthermore, SSO can be offered using an individual’s preferred social media platform, so if they predominantly use Facebook, Google or Yahoo , they can use these accounts to log into other, third party sites, without having to enter their credentials again. This capability, known as social login (which was actually invented by Janrain).
Social login provides convenience and ease of use to your customers, not just by making it unnecessary to remember another username and password, but also by automating the creation of a new account on your company’s site. Instead of having to ask the user to enter data like name and email again, this data is pulled from the social media network that they login through — the social media network acts as the “Identity Provider” (IdP) for your company’s site. IdPs authenticate the user who wants to log into your site, and basically let your site know if their credentials are valid. For your end-users, using social login IdPs means convenience and effortless access to your site even when an account is needed. This typically results in a significantly higher signup rate for your site; some of our clients have seen an increase of 50% and more after adding social login.
And there are more benefits. Companies that use social login will get access to customer profile data from the respective social media network that provides the identity. What data exactly differs from network to network, and (also depending on the social network) users might have the ability to select what data fields they want to allow access to. If you offer social login via four different social networks, the data sets for each of those will differ. Some users might allow access to all data, others just to some, and again other users will not have all desired data in their social media account in the first place. In other words, you will need to think carefully about what data you need for your purposes, and most likely you will need to ask your consumers for more data after they logged into your site. This, again, is a field where dedicated CIAM solutions come into the game.
When thinking about all this, also keep in mind that collecting personal data from customers is subject to a broad variety of different regulations that differ between regions and industries — examples include the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), or the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIIPA). Personal data is sensitive data that deserves the highest level of security, and violating data protection regulations or a data breach can have very serious consequences, ranging from legal prosecution and fines to revenue loss and PR nightmares resulting in severe brand damage. These risks are again best addressed by a dedicated, central identity management solution and strategy. It shouldn’t be left to per-site, per-region, per-department silo implementations.
Modern CIAM solutions make the implementation of single sign-on and social login easy and cost-efficient and support a variety of IdPs. Janrain Social Login as an example can integrate over 30 IdPs, including big global players like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Yahoo, or LinkedIn, but also more segment-specific or more regionally focused ones. Examples include Salesforce, SoundCloud, Sina Weibo, WeChat or industry-specific IdPs like Fimnet (Finnish Medical Network) or MedKey.
Together, CIAM and SSO are a one-two punch to effectively knock down problematic data silos and obtain that ever-elusive total view of the consumer. The digital world may be complex, but customer identity and access management doesn’t have to be. Contact Janrain to find out how we can best support your needs.
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