The Magical Single Source Of Truth

What is the single source of truth in relation to customer data platforms?

Steve Jackson
Written by: Steve Jackson

Steve, an Analytics practitioner since 2002 works as a fractional CAO, digital analyst and marketer. He has written 3 books, Cult of Analytics, The Sucking Manifesto and Asking Why. Today he's heavily focused on customer data platforms (CDPs) and how to get the most out of them for his clients.

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Date Published: 2023-02-21

In today's digital world, it's more important than ever for companies to have access to accurate customer data. But what if there was a way to ensure that all customer data is linked and up-to-date? Enter the magical single source of truth – a concept that could revolutionise the way you use customer data.

The single source of truth is a concept that has been around for decades but has only recently become mainstream. It refers to having one central source where all relevant information about customers can be stored, accessed, and updated in real-time. This means that instead of having multiple databases from different sources, companies now have just one system which serves as a ‘single source of truth' for all customer-related information.

So if you’re ready to uncover the magical single source of truth and unlock your true potential, let’s dive right in!

Understanding Single Source Of Truth (SSOT)

The concept of a single source of truth is like the holy grail for organisations looking to streamline their data management and improve efficiency. SSOT, or single source of truth, is the practice of utilising a single centralised repository to store and manage data that can be accessed by multiple individuals within an organisation. In other words, SSOT is a master data management system that serves as the hub for all your company's critical information.

For many businesses, central repositories are essential for organising, controlling, and maintaining their data in one place. This ensures that everyone in the organisation can always access consistent, accurate information from one central location - eliminating outdated or duplicate records across multiple departments. Central data management systems also enable organisations to quickly identify mistakes or inconsistencies in their data, allowing them to make necessary corrections more efficiently and effectively.

Benefits Of SSOT

The use of a single source of truth can bring many advantages to organisations that embrace it. From improved access control lists and customer relationship management to enhanced knowledge management, the benefits of SSOT are vast.

  • Removing Silo's: Having all necessary data in one centralised location eliminates the need to search multiple databases or silos for information, streamlining processes and improving efficiency.
  • Accuracy: Additionally, with all data stored in one place, organisations can ensure accuracy and consistency across different departments and systems. This helps reduce mistakes due to outdated or duplicate records and saves time from having to manually fix them.
  • Insights: In addition, centralising data makes it easier to filter out relevant information quickly for decision-making purposes.

By leveraging SSOT, organisations can gain valuable insights into their operations and make better informed decisions that lead to more successful outcomes. With this in mind, it's easy to see why many businesses are looking to adopt single source of truth solutions as an effective way to improve their data management capabilities. With the right implementation strategy in place, organisations can maximise the potential of SSOT and reap its rewards. Now let's look at some of the challenges around SSOT adoption.

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Challenges For SSOT Adoption

Adopting a single source of truth isn't always smooth sailing. Organisations often face a number of challenges when trying to implement SSOT, such as having to go back to the drawing board when it comes to data architecture. Additionally, real-time access to an authoritative data source can be difficult to achieve due to the complexity and latency associated with modern data management systems.

At the same time, organisations must also ensure that their data is secure and compliant with any applicable regulations or industry standards. This can be especially challenging for larger companies who have multiple databases or silos in place that need to be integrated into one centralised system.

It's clear that while there are many potential benefits of SSOT, organisations must make sure they weigh up the risks and rewards before adopting this approach. With careful consideration and planning, however, any organisation should be able to successfully implement SSOT and reap its rewards.

Examples Of SSOT In Action

Now that we’ve taken a look at the challenges of adopting SSOT, let’s explore some examples of how it can work in practice.

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) like Rudderstack, Adobe RealTime CDP, or Segment, can be used in conjunction with Google BigQuery or AWS to create a single source of truth for your organisation.

First, for those of you new to this blog, let's define what a CDP is. A CDP is a tool that collects and aggregates customer data from various sources, such as your website, mobile apps, social media, and more. It then unifies and organises this data, allowing you to better understand your customers and personalize their experiences.

Now, let's look at how a CDP can be used with a data warehouse like Google BigQuery or AWS. A data warehouse is a large repository that stores and analyses data from various sources. By integrating your CDP with a data warehouse, you can create a central repository for all your customer data, providing a single source of truth for your organization.

To do this, you can your CDP to identify, collect and organise your customer data from various sources. These platforms can then be configured to send the data to Google BigQuery or AWS, where it can be stored, analyzed, and queried.

By integrating your CDP with a data warehouse, you can gain a deeper understanding of your customers, identify patterns and trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve your business. You can also use tools like data visualisation and reporting to create customized dashboards and reports that provide insights into your customer behavior.

As these examples show, SSOT is becoming much more feasible, allowing organisations to manage their data more efficiently. With careful planning and implementation, businesses can create unified customer profiles that give them greater insights into customer behavior and preferences—leading to better decision making and improved customer experiences.

Building A Complete View Of The Customer With Data Management

To truly leverage the power of SSOT, organisations need to take a holistic approach to data management. This involves creating a unified system for managing data from multiple sources and ensuring that it is easily accessible and up-to-date. With the right data management in place, businesses can create a single source of truth that provides a comprehensive view of their customers and helps them make informed decisions.

Data management also plays an important role in overcoming challenges associated with implementing SSOT. By leveraging an effective data management strategy, organisations can streamline their processes and ensure that they are making the most out of their available data. This will help them save time and money while ensuring that they have access to accurate insights into their customers.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to overcome some of the obstacles to creating SSOT.

Overcoming Obstacles To Create A SSOT

From building a complete view of customers to overcoming obstacles, organisations need to take a proactive approach to creating a single source of truth. To do so, they must leverage the right tools and strategies to ensure that their data is accurate and up-to-date.

One of the most important steps in this process is to create systems for identifying and correcting errors in data.

  • Organisations should be sure to set up processes for validating data as it comes in and making corrections as needed.
  • This will help them avoid costly mistakes and ensure that their single source of truth is always accurate.
  • Additionally, they should establish procedures for regularly reviewing the data they have collected to ensure that it remains reliable over time.

With organised data collection and management in place, businesses are well-positioned to harness the power of SSOT, gain valuable insights and reap its many benefits.

Collecting Data For A Single-Source System

Collecting data for a single-source system can be daunting, especially when considering the sheer amount of data that needs to be collected. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming; with the right systems and processes in place, organisations can easily collect the necessary data and build an effective SSOT system.

The first step is to identify the sources of information needed, such as customer surveys, web analytics, industry research, etc. From there, as discussed organisations should create protocols for collecting and cleaning the data. This includes verifying accuracy, standardizing formatting, and ensuring consistency across all sources. By creating a process for collecting and cleaning the data from multiple sources, organisations can ensure that the SSOT system will provide accurate and up-to-date insights.

Having an effective SSoT system in place provides organisations with a comprehensive view of their customers' behavior and preferences. But having access to this data is only half of the equation: organizations also need to know how to effectively use it. That’s where a customer data platform comes in. It helps make sense of all this information by providing insights into customer segmentation and targeting strategies that enable businesses to better understand their customers’ needs – ultimately helping them make more informed decisions faster.

How A Customer Data Platform Helps With SSOT

Managing a single-source system can be a daunting task. But with the help of a customer data platform, businesses can easily make sense of their vast amounts of data and use it to inform better business decisions.

A CDP helps collect, manage, and analyse data from multiple sources. It allows organisations to create segmented customer profiles for targeted marketing campaigns and provides insights about customer behaviour that can be used to develop personalised offers and services. Additionally, CDPs provide real-time analytics on customer activity so businesses can measure the success of their campaigns, or trigger activities in near real-time.

By leveraging these powerful tools, organisations can unlock the potential of their SSOT systems and gain invaluable insights into their customers’ needs and behaviours. This enables them to create more effective marketing strategies while also saving time and money – empowering businesses to take control of their data and drive growth in an ever-changing world.

It's no longer a pipe dream

In 2013 it was extremely difficult without a lot of heavy ETL knowledge and data pipes to get a single source of truth. Now by combining a data warehouse and CDPs the use of a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) is no longer as difficult or expensive.

Not only does SSOT provide a single repository for all data, but it can also improve decision making, customer insights and overall productivity. Its implementation is not without its challenges however; adopting a SSOT system requires dedication and resources to find the right tools, follow best practices and ensure data accuracy. But, by utilising effective data management techniques such as customer data platforms, businesses can truly unlock the power of their data and reap the rewards of having a single source of truth. As they say: "with great power comes great responsibility" – businesses must utilise this power responsibly in order to achieve success.

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