Data Cloud: How Unified Profiles Differ From a Traditional Golden Record

One of the biggest hurdles to get past in a Data Cloud implementation is understanding the concept of a Unified Profile.  This is complicated by the fact that Data Warehouses and MDM systems have been around for decades, and one of the primary goals of those systems is to create a "Golden Record".  Because Data Cloud has so many similarities with these systems, it's very common to assume that Data Cloud's Unified Profiles work the same way.

Instead, think of the Unified Profile like a key ring.  Each key on the keyring is a Record ID that points to a profile in a source system.  A Unified Profile in a typical implementation might be linked to profiles from a primary Sales Cloud org, a secondary Sales Cloud org, Marketing Cloud, and a Donor Management system.

Each "key" gives Data Cloud access to that data, much like my house key gives you access to my house, and my office key gives you access to my office.  With these keys, you can enter the space, make a list of the things in that space, and gather insights about me from what you see.

How is this different from a Golden Record?  In the context of my house and office, creating a Golden Record would be like deciding which stuff from each space best represents me, putting it in a storage unit, and throwing away everything else.

With the Unified Profile, the source systems remain the source of truth for their data, and Data Cloud only refers to it.

While the source systems remain the source of truth, there are a couple of Data Cloud features that allow you to enhance Salesforce CRM with Data Cloud data.

Contact Copy allows you to take a key attribute or insight, and store the value directly on the Contact object in Salesforce.  Sticking with the house and office analogy, this is like looking at my office to take an inventory of the number of granola bars left in my snack drawer, and making a note of it at home.

Data Cloud Related Lists allow you to display Data Cloud virtually on your Contact page layout.  The data is not stored in Salesforce CRM - only displayed.  Think of this as looking at your home's Ring Doorbell Camera while you're in the office.

With this understanding of Unified Profiles and how they differ from a more traditional Golden Record, your implementation is going to go much more smoothly.  There are a couple of upcoming opportunities to learn more about Data Cloud and Unified Profiles at Salesforce Connections.



Upcoming Data Cloud Events:

Interested in learning more? Prolocity will be at Connections Chicago presenting "Explore Data Cloud’s Unified Profile vs.  Golden Records" on Wednesday, May 22nd.
ALSO MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT “NAVIGATING DATA CLOUD: REAL WORLD INSIGHTS FOR NONPROFITS” ON FRIDAY, MAY 24TH, AT THE CHICAGO SALESFORCE TOWER TO shape your organization’s Data and AI strategy for unparalleled success. 
About The Author: Ryan Hernalsteen
Salesforce Consultant

With a wealth of experience in the Salesforce ecosystem, Ryan seamlessly transitioned from a client to a consultant over the years. Specializing in Marketing Cloud and Data Cloud, he continues to sharpen his focus on these domains at Prolocity. Beyond his technical prowess, Ryan's passion lies in empowering individuals to navigate and solve complex problems.

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