Blog post

Customer Data Integration: Think Ideally! Act Pragmatically!

By Kristin Moyer | April 15, 2009 | 3 Comments


Mary Knox here. As Stessa Cohen and I continue our research on customer data integration (CDI) and multi-channel integration (MCI), I am reminded again of the need to focus on not only what should be done, but also on what can be done.

As we outline in our research, there are three styles of CDI that are suitable for MCI (there is a fourth style of CDI, but that is better suited for non-transactional or analytical applications). They are: 1) registry, 2) coexistence, and 3) transaction (also known as the centralized style). 

The last style represents a form of ideal customer data architecture for supporting MCI because it removes redundancy in terms of data and processes, which in turn reduces cost, speeds time to market for new channels and services, and improves consistency (and thus customer satisfaction).

Many bank data architects strive for this ideal, particularly as advances in technology make it more feasible technically. But for many banks today, this just isn’t practical for organizational and political reasons and – particularly in today’s economy – financial realities that preclude wholesale replacement or major modification of legacy channel applications even if it does result in cost savings down the road.

Instead, many banks starting out on CDI need to begin with a registry style or a coexistence style – that is the Acting Pragmatically! component.

But there still is room for idealism – in acting pragmatically, banks can choose solutions – whether these are software or services – that allow for the migration to a transaction style over time. And that is the Thinking Ideally! component.


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  • Deborah Volk says:

    Hi Mary,

    I was writing about virtual directories when I saw your blog. I think a virtual directory is an interesting technology implementation option for the registry or transaction styles of CDI without getting mired in ETL and synchronization. My 52 cents are at


  • Kristin Moyer says:

    Hi Deb, Virtual directories are interesting! Gartner included virtual directories on the Hype Cycle for Identity and Access Management Technologies 2008 (
    Thanks for commenting — I’ll give your blog a read!

  • hi Mary,

    Thanks for the information. I know about the three styles of CDI but not about the fourth style which is suited for Multi-channel integration. Will read more on this. Good Input! do give a read on this blog