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Required Reading: A Single Version of the Truth: CDI
CDI allows companies to reconcile customer data automatically: It provides a closed loop between individual, sporadic relationships and the redeployment of that data back to the CRM system.
For the rest of the October 2006 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Sayings like "customer data is the lifeblood of any CRM system" or "a CRM system is only as good as its data" have echoed through the industry for years. And for years vendors have attempted to answer the call of those recommendations with new, improved data quality solutions. Now comes the newest trend in customer data management: customer data integration, or CDI. In their new book, Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth, authors Jill Dyche (partner and cofounder of Baseline Consulting, and a frequent resource for this magazine) and Evan Levy outline what CDI is and why it will become the critical solution for CRM initiatives for years to come. Colin Beasty spoke with Dyche about the book. CRM magazine: How are CDI data hubs and their corresponding products different from traditional data quality tools? Dyche: CDI is the real-time identification of individual customers. For years, companies have been applying these very expensive data quality solutions to various problems, such as integrating customer data from multiple, disparate systems. But for the first time CDI solutions are applying data recognition and reconciliation algorithms to customer data and identifying individuals in real time. CDI solutions are about organizing, reconciling, cleansing, and deploying customer data to multiple applications. CRM magazine: What are some of the business problems CDI solutions address? Dyche: A perfect example would be companies that have multiple relationships with the same customer. The pharmaceutical industry is a great example. Doctors are their customers, but there are various types of doctors out there. It could be a doctor who has a practice and is prescribing the drug, a researcher who's testing drugs, a speaker, or some kind of expert or specialist in a specific field. CDI has allowed pharmaceutical companies to reconcile that customer data automatically. CDI provides a closed loop between those individual, sporadic relationships and then redeploys that meaningful data back to the CRM system.
CRM magazine: What will readers find most interesting about the book? Dyche: Two things. The first would be the case studies. Everybody wants to know how these tools have been applied in the real world and how CDI works in the context of different industries, so the book is loaded with customer case studies. The second thing is how CDI differs from traditional data quality tools. Readers will find that Chapter 2 provides lots of answers to this commonly asked question. Other Page Turners:
  • In his book Exceptional Selling, sales expert Jeff Thull shatters decades-old assumptions about B2B selling and presents a new approach that he calls Diagnostic Selling. Based on the concept of "diagnostic mindset," Thull delivers straight talk about the one-on-one skills that professionals need in order to set themselves apart, connect with their customers, and raise the bar for the competition.
  • Most companies today know that in order to win and retain new customers, they need to invest in market research. Despite this, many take a pass on the process because it's expensive, slow, or difficult to administer. In The Snapshot Survey, marketing professional Lloyd Corder shares new, affordable ways to conduct surveys in days instead of weeks. Corder covers everything from competitive and customer satisfaction studies to brand assessment and employee surveys.
  • Planning for business growth requires a deep understanding of consumers, competitors, and competing products. As a result, big corporations pour money into marketing research while small businesses struggle to understand their consumers' changing needs. In his book Guerrilla Marketing Research, Robert Kaden attacks the idea that research is reserved for the big boys and outlines a strategy that replaces big dollars with a canny approach, limited funding, and the investment of some personal energy.
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