Customers, Leads and Prospects are different levels of info trust

Companies and organizations deal with people. Sometimes they are highly confident of the person's identity or the fact that it is the same person they dealt with in the past. Sometimes they are highly confident of a reliable identity when it turns out they are actually confident in the account's identity. Other times they have information that would never meet a legal bar. Those types of identities are good enough for marketing or sales or preferences but not good enough for legal documents or other use cases.

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Organizations have all kinds of different contacts with individuals and other organizations. Our confidence in knowing those individuals ranges from anonymous to highly confident.

For this discussion, we will categorize contacts as customers or leads.
We are talking about identity.  

This could be that person's global identity or their identity within our sphere.  We could have a good way of managing user accounts so that we have high confidence that the account is being used by the same person that previously used the account.  We could have high confidence that the person using an account is a specific real person.  The two identity scopes are different.

The amount we know about a person is indirectly coupled with how confident we know who a person is.  It may be that someone has a lot of questions for our chatbot but never tells us Who they are.  We may have a logged-in customer whose identity we know but we may only get a few attributes for that person from our own systems. We know specific things about individuals interacting with us.  The number of those things may not be related to our confidence in knowing who that person is in the world. 
A lot of systems set up accounts.  Some end there. Others attempt to bind that account to a specific real person. Your confidence in the actual identity drives what the person should be allowed to do.

Some systems ask for some PII to verify who a person is. Other systems challenge a person about recent or distant activity in order to have higher confidence of actual real world identity.  

This picture shows  a single user with a single system.
We want to know who the person is across applications. This can be harder than you expect.  3rd party software, SaaS solutions, immature homegrown systems, and other variations result in less than the ideal world.
People may have multiple identities or logins across different organizations.  Customers/users have multiple accounts as a result of mergers or acquisitions.  In the ideal world, we want to tie back all of these people back to a single identity.  

It is not always possible to merge various identity management platforms.  We may be less than 100% confident that the two people in the two identity platforms are the same.  Some companies have a small list of very concrete matching criteria.  Others use statistical metrics to determine a match.

Merging identities is somewhat controlled by your risk appetite.  How bad is it if you tie two identities together that are not the same person?  How bad is the data sharing or identity theft risk?
Now we add in the addition of contacts or marketing people.  There is high business value in tieing together customers, highly confident identities, to anonymous and semi-anonymous people.  The anonymous contacts may give you a lot more data about the person.  

You have to decide how to tie the prospects to the customers and how to expose that in a way that is different from the customer matching process discussed previously.
In my experience, a lot of companies start to collect various pools of people information.  There tend to be islands of information based on purpose and legal risk. The account side tends to be very conservative and doesn't really worry about the prospect people. The marketing or customer contact side of the house uses customer data where available but keeps its own prospect data stores.

I prefer a central group that brings at least copies of all the people to a single location where they can create both the legal view of the same person and the marketing views of potentially the same people.

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