DATA—ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID
In May 2002, an anonymous reader gave The CRM Handbook two stars on Amazon.com. He or she commented that it was “probably useful if your background is data warehousing.” The reader went on to expound on the importance of process redesign for customer relationship management (CRM) projects (clearly having skipped Chapter 7) in an effort to stress the importance of business processes to CRM success.
No sour grapes here. In fact, we find this comment a helpful illustration of what CRM practitioners were going through at the time. Most were focusing on surveying customers and refining customer-facing processes like order management and sales. While a bona fide component of a CRM project, process redesign was arguably the low-hanging fruit of customer management projects. Most companies already had process design skills and tools in house, and were able to readily leverage those resources for their CRM initiatives.
Data integration skills were another story. The rationale went something like this: “Let’s redesign our processes first and once we’re finished, we’ll go get the data and then automate those processes.”
Studies have shown data integration to be the number one headache of most customer-focused projects. The truth is that most project leads tackling customer management initiatives knew deep down that data integration was hard, so they saved it for last. In fact, for most enterprise-wide technology initiatives, data was an afterthought. The ...