• October 1, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Required Reading: A Single Version of the Truth: CDI

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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:
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