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April 25, 2008

Good Customer Data is a Must-Have

Filed under: Data Cleansing, Data Integration, Data Quality, ETL — Alena Semeshko @ 12:58 am

Making the most out of your customer database and relations management solution is what every company wants. No doubt about that. Nonetheless, a huge number of CRM approaches prove insufficient and inefficient.

Here are the six aspects of CRM deployment that Richard Boardman in his recent article calls essential:

1. Poorly defined requirements
2. The availability of internal staff
3. Sign offs
4. Data Good systems require good data, and, if the new system is to be populated with existing data, it’s important that the quality of that data is high. Many organisations are surprised at how many data sources they possess and how poor the data quality is. The cleansing of data and reconciliation of different versions of the same record in multiple data sources can be very time consuming. While there are tools that can help, this process tends to be very manual, and is not something that can be fully outsourced as it requires considerable input from the data owners.
5. User acceptance testing
6. User adoption

I still think data is the key element in this. It’s how you approach, structure and work with your data that makes a difference in your company’s progress. I’d break number four into more precise items like
1. Well-defined data requirements
2. Customer Data Integration & Data Quality (including ETL, data cleansing and everything related to it)
3. Data management, that among other includes following through with your requirements and cleansing procedures rather than adopting a once-in-a-lifetime/lifecycle (whatever you wanna call it) scheme.

But I agree with Richard, you still need to be “realistic about the demands these projects will place on the organisation and manage expectations accordingly. Too often CRM projects are deemed failures because they failed to meet impossibly demanding and often self-inflicted deadlines. A better review of what’s involved and a more analytical appraisal of the availability of resources to meet those demands will go a long way to ensure project success.

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