Needed: Improved Data Management--Forrester

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

Needed: Improved Data Management--Forrester

To get a full view of your customers to utilize your CRM systems so you can retain and obtain more value for them, especially in this challenging and highly competitive economy you need realtime access to complete quality data on your customers.

Yet for too many organizations this may not be happening. And the reasons lie in both too-complex processing and in the sometimes inaccurate customer information that these systems have to work with i.e. "garbage in..."

One of the biggest barriers to getting value from CRM initiatives is this need for improved customer data management, according to William Band, Vice President and Principal Analyst with Forrester Research.

One set of solutions, data warehousing, he says fails to deliver the real-time access, and end users compensate by deploying myriad purpose-built data marts. Mega data warehouses often fail in the eyes of business users because they become too complex and take to long to build. They often become 'boil the ocean' type projects.

"These limitations, along with poor data integration between CRM and enterprise resource planning systems, result in fragmented views of customers," Band points out.

Business intelligence (BI) applications offer the promise to be the focal point to customer intelligence across multiple data sources, says Band. But BI efforts often highlight poor customer data quality. When users try to apply powerful analytics tools they find the source data is lacking, and not properly managed, leaving users scrambling to fight a losing battle to keep customer data clean and updated.

Band recommends that companies look at customer data handling up front, before putting in CRM applications, and resolve any matters that have arisen. This can save time and aggravation, and help you get the results you are seeking.

"Don't wait to address customer data issues until the latter stages of your deployment; it might be too late to resolve problems at that point," says Band.

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