Improvements in digital technologies have enabled changes in customer behavior which present companies with the challenge to offer enriched customer experiences. These changes come along with an increased availability of customer-produced content, e.g. via social media, mobile devices etc. Leadership in this digital ecosystem is determined by a company’s capabilities to understand its customers’ behavior which manifests in high volumes of continuously generated, heterogeneous data; to actually apply the derived insights in business operations; and finally to create value for both the customers and itself. This paper focuses on the first step, i.e. the understanding of customers by means of big data, and builds on our previous research that derived a conceptual framework for big data in the domain of CRM from scholarly literature. To validate and refine this framework we coded multiple success stories from vendors of big data solutions, guided by Grounded Theory. The results suggest a transformation of a company’s internal CRM capabilities to gain a deeper understanding of their customers derived from big data. By pinpointing the development of relevant capabilities for leveraging big data in the domain of CRM and providing guidelines for deriving customer information, the results contribute equally to theory and practice.