Interfaces are an important part of a software solution. They transport important information and enable a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to consolidate and analyze data and, in this case, to gain a precise insight into the needs of its clients. But which Customer Data Platform tools are actually essential for a CDP to work as it should? This article delivers an overview. We also compare the interfaces and integrations of individual CDP providers in a free download.
Download: Customer Data Platform Interfaces Overview
Already integrated or not?
This question must be answered first. After all, many software solutions have various functions and system components already integrated. This also applies to a customer data platform. Important systems and platforms that are connected to a CDP include content management systems (CMS), automation tools, CRM solutions, but also product information management (PIM) systems and ERP solutions. Likewise, website analytics tools play a central role in generating data on customer behavior on the web. In our market overview, we therefore first asked: Which of these and other solutions have already been integrated by CDP providers into their platform?
Out of 13 Customer Data Platforms, more than half provide directly integrated solutions for content management, automation tasks, customer relationship management, ERP, PIM as well as website analytics and other relevant systems. In addition, some providers offer further software integrations for their Customer Data Platforms. All in all: The integrations are wide-ranging and directly enable CDP to generate, analyze and manage customer data.
Organization is everything: This is how interfaces are organized
One of the most important questions when it comes to interfaces and integrations is also: How is the connection to other software solutions organized? Is there, for example, an open API for external applications? Is the data connection secured? And is the user authenticated when accessing the systems? We asked the providers of Customer Data Platforms these and other questions. The result: openness in terms of connectivity is given with all Customer Data Platform providers. Companies can therefore connect existing systems to the Customer Data Platform comparatively easily. As a rule, there is no need for time-consuming conversion of the system landscape. And the providers are also meticulous when it comes to security: All providers authenticate users when they access the systems. They also encrypt the transmitted data.
Customer data platform interfaces: ERP software and shop systems
With the right interfaces, a customer data platform can help companies not only generate customer data, but also make it usable – for marketing, for example. However, a CDP also provides valuable information for managing the product range in e-commerce. Based on customer searches, e-commerce retailers can optimize their product inventory and offer their customers an improved assortment.
For this to succeed a Customer Data Platform also needs access to the ERP software used and, not least, the store system. Here, the Customer Data Platform can generate relevant data from the customers’ search history and their actual orders in the store and then analyze it. Our CDP comparison shows that the majority of CDP providers enable connection to common ERP software such as Afterbuy, JTLShop or plentymarkets via API interfaces. Less common, on the other hand, is connectivity via third-party interfaces. Some providers even provide direct integration for Microsoft Dynamics or SAP in their CDP software. The situation is similar for interfaces to various store systems such as commeretools, Magento or Shopify and Shopware.
Interfaces to CMS and CRM
In the end, a customer data platform is not only used to generate, consolidate and analyze customer data. It should also support companies in providing customers with the appropriate content along the customer journey. On the one hand, the connection of a CRM is elementary for this. On the other hand, companies also need a suitable content management system (CMS) to play out the content – ideally in real time.
Most CDP providers also use API interfaces for CRM and CMS connections. However, direct integration into the Customer Data Platform is also more common, especially in the area of CMS. One provider stands out here, having integrated no fewer than five content management solutions directly into the CDP solution. The number of direct integrations is also increasing in CRM. Here, seven out of 13 providers have already integrated various CRM systems such as Salesforce, Adobe or Hubspot into their CDP solution.
Companies that want to use a Customer Data Platform should pay attention to the Customer Data Platform interfaces. To ensure that the integration of the CDP requires as few adjustments to the existing system landscape as possible, the CDP solution should enable the connection of existing systems and tools via open API interfaces. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to replace existing systems so that they can better meet the new requirements. Ideally, CDP solutions already have various systems and tools directly integrated. Or they also enable flexible API connectivity in this case.