When beginning a customer relationship management initiative, business and information technology managers should think of the data warehouse as one of the project’s core foundations and take a "holistic approach" to both analytic and systems operations issues. "CRM is a process and not a box drop," Jill Dyche, a Baseline Consulting Group vice president, told attendees during her session, "A Roadmap to CRM Implementation," February 18 at The Data Warehousing Institute World Conference – Winter 2002 in New Orleans. "Incorporating the data warehouse is a best practice companies should use in implementing CRM." Dyche told attendees that CRM projects most often fail because the company’s business plan was flawed.

To avoid problems, companies should form a CRM "ecosystem" that incorporates analytic applications with operational systems. "Not including the data warehouse in CRM is a travesty because you have all that available data that can be analyzed and help foster long standing customer relationships," she says. "Don’t build a separate CRM systems for both operational and analytic applications. That’s just initiating a stovepipe system – you have to both at once."

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