Customer Data Platform is defined by the CDP Institute as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” Key elements of the definition are:
These features distinguish CDPs from other systems that work primarily with their own data (such as Customer Relationship Management), store only limited details for limited periods and include large volumes of externally-owned data (Data Management Platform), do not maintain a permanent database (Integration Platform), and interact directly with customers (Email, Mobile App, and Web Content Management).
Other systems may provide similar functions to a CDP. These include data warehouses and software suites or marketing clouds. Often these are limited to structured data or internal inputs.