I've been in the CRM world for a long time. I've also known Jeff Tanner, author of this benchmark book, for nearly as long. I've observed, implemented, analyzed, advised, spoken on, written about, and pontificated on (yeah, I know the meaning) what CRM can do, does do, shouldn't do, and succeeds and fails at for almost two decades. In that time, one of the voices that has been most influential, in both my thinking and the industry's, has been Jeff Tanner.

Think about where we are right now. For roughly the last three years, we have been hearing nonstop both conversation and rhetoric about Big Data—always capitalized, rarely understood. Sure, the fundamental idea is clear: We have such an onslaught of data being created and spat out for consumption that we can't keep up with it—which means make sense of it—because the technology and the strategies to keep up with it don't seem to be there. In fact, here is a Big Data definition by Andrew Brust, CEO of Blue Badge Insights and longtime ZDNet blogger on the subject:

[It is] about the technologies and practice of handling data sets so large that conventional database management systems cannot handle them efficiently…[or] at all.

What he is attempting to articulate is that the amount and velocity of the data makes it hard for existing technologies and current strategies to keep up with it.

When it comes to a definition from the more “glass half full” side of the house, I like Forrester Research Group's:

Techniques and ...

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