Long before the customer relationship management (CRM) buzzword existed, organizations were designing and developing customer-centric dimensional models to better understand their customers' behavior. For decades, these models were used to respond to management's inquiries about which customers were solicited, who responded, and what was the magnitude of their response. The business value of understanding the full spectrum of customers' interactions and transactions has propelled CRM to the top of the charts. CRM not only includes familiar residential and commercial customers, but also citizens, patients, students, and many other categories of people and organizations whose behavior and preferences are important. CRM is a mission-critical business strategy that many view as essential to an organization's survival.
In this chapter we start with a CRM overview, including its operational and analytic roles. We then introduce the basic design of the customer dimension, including common attributes such as dates, segmentation attributes, repeated contact roles, and aggregated facts. We discuss customer name and address parsing, along with international considerations. We remind you of the challenges of modeling complex hierarchies when we describe various kinds of customer hierarchies.
Chapter 8 discusses the following concepts: