Understanding CDP, Integration Platforms, and Sources of Truth in Data Management
Dive into the puzzle of Customer Data Platforms, Integration, and Truth to untangle your data mysteries! 🕵️♂️
I am writing this blog as I see people often using the terms CDP, Integration Platform, Source of Truth in a confusing way. At best it can create a lot of repeat work and at worst it can affect your business data operations or continuity severely. Let's dive in.
CDP - Customer Data Platform in simple words is a one stop location to take a look at complete view of your customer data coming from all other systems and customer touch points. Note: It has UI to dig into the data, & 'can' have integration platform capabilities as its fuel under the hood. You can also run reports on this data in CDP. For Example: Salesforce can be used a CDP but it requires other products in place like Mulesoft integration platform to use Salesforce as your CDP. Just Sales Cloud OR Just Mulesoft cannot be called CDP alone. CDP is often called a source of truth, but it should only be called if the data in context is only Customer Data. If its all data (For example Finance Data, HR data, Engineering team's data, etc.) then its not CDP, its your Single Source of Truth. The general idea is single view of your customers at one place.
Integration Platform - Could be a standalone platform OR part of a CDP to orchestrate organisational data flows between multiple systems for various purposes like Data Reporting, Transactional Integrations / System Automations, building CDP/Source of Truths, etc. For example: Integromat (Make), Zapier, Mulesoft, Segment, etc. The general idea is for smooth data operations.
Source of Truth: This is that one database which is latest, accurate and most reliable data. This doesn't needs to be a CDP nor it needs to be an integration platform always. To further highlight, there can be more than one source of truth for various data layers in a business. For example: Product Catalog Data maintained by product development team in a Google Data Warehouse. If you are rooting for a Single Source of Truth for complete data in your business, it will then require Integration Platform and if given a UI 'can' also be used as a CDP by your business users (again!! if it just talks about customer data only) The general idea is to have one place where the data is considered as reliable and trust worthy. Make sure this data is stored in as much as RAW format as possible, if you are doing any data operations on this layer, can make it less reliable data for other the business layers.