In a previous blog post, we examined the role of data within a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) architecture. That article discussed how in order to stay competitive, organizations not only need to “speak” to the customer through engaging interfaces backed by robust content, but also need to “listen” to the data collected throughout the customer’s journey. This data forms the heart of the DXP architecture and shapes the customer’s journey by providing context, personalization, and analytics to drive the overall experience.
Figure 1 shows the Anexinet Reference Architecture for DXP.
In 2020, Salesforce announced their Digital 360 platform, an integrated offering that brings together their Commerce and Marketing Cloud platforms with Experience Cloud and their Customer 360 Data platform. This offering enables Salesforce customers to deliver more robust, targeted, and personalized digital experiences.
In this article, we’ll look at how the Salesforce Digital 360 offering aligns with our DXP reference architecture, focusing on three key aspects:
- How the platform allows us to structure and store data about the Customer and their journey.
- The platform’s tools for exchanging data with core data sources.
- Capabilities for using data within the DXP architecture.
Salesforce Digital Experience Platform
Figure 2 shows a simplified view of the Salesforce Digital 360 components that map to our DXP Reference Architecture.
The heart of the Salesforce Digital 360 offering is the Customer 360 data platform. Using the Customer 360 Data Manager, customers can import data from Salesforce instances—such as Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud—and map them into a common global profile entity modeled within the tool. Creating a canonical Cloud Information Model and the mappings to Salesforce-based systems allows for continuous flow of data across the architecture.
It’s important to note that the Customer 360 Data Manager is not a data store. Instead, it stores the customer profile definition and acts as a hub that exchanges data and events across systems at the time of need.
Since Customer 360 Data Manager is a data hub rather than a data store, it is focused on integrating Salesforce data sources only, such as Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud. Within the Data Manager configuration, you can connect multiple Salesforce Orgs, mapping the data objects together so that information can be shared across the Salesforce experiences.
Data from external systems will need to be integrated directly with one of your Salesforce Orgs, such as Marketing Cloud. Data Manager can then map the data into the global profile and push the data into other Salesforce Orgs, including Experience Cloud and Commerce Cloud. Once there, you can use the data to shape the customer’s experience journey.
Salesforce offers several ways to integrate data into the Salesforce platform, including:
- Via its robust set of APIs. These can be SOAP or REST and provide the ability to send updates synchronously, via bulk data sets or via pub/sub events.
- Heroku Connect allows for two-way data replication between Salesforce and an external database.
- Salesforce Connect allows one-way data replication from an external data source into Salesforce.
Leveraging Experience Platform Data
Once data is available within the Salesforce platform, several mechanisms are available for leveraging that data to drive your customer experiences:
Salesforce’s AI tool, Einstein, leverages customer data to enable rapid marketing and content delivery decisions that translate into exceptional experiences for your customers. Salesforce’s AI capabilities with Einstein include:
- Optimization and personalization of marketing messaging (what content to send, when to send it, and on what channel).
- Automatically scoring leads and opportunities to identify those most likely to convert and recommending actions to drive conversion.
- Integration with service cloud to provide automated customer-service experiences and deliver personalized recommendations based on AI-powered insights from customer data.
- Building accurate customer segments.
Customer 360 Audiences
Customer 360 Audiences, the customer data platform that powers Salesforce’s Marketing cloud, lets you segment users (based on their global profile attributes) to personalize their experience and drive a customized journey by:
- Creating a single source of truth for every customer (using a unified customer ID).
- Tracking all touchpoints across a customer’s journey.
- Building customized audience segments and rapidly adapting them.
- Ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.
Broader analytics capabilities within Salesforce include:
- Integration with Google Analytics to unify reporting and improve campaign performance across email, mobile, advertising and the web—all from a single dashboard.
- Sales analytics dashboards and reports to identify trends and drive sales.
- Creating a single analytics platform that unites Salesforce with external data to generate actionable insights.
Using these capabilities, you can turn your Customer 360 data within the Salesforce platform into actionable insights that drive your customer experience journey through the Salesforce Experience, Commerce, and Marketing Clouds. If you need help laying out a robust architecture to support your Salesforce DXP initiative, please reach out to us. As a Salesforce partner we can help you get the most from your investment in this robust platform. From UX design and development—through to the critical data and integration aspects that are the heart of your Digital 360 architecture—we have helped countless organizations deliver great connected experiences and ensure a successful delivery.