The 360-degree view of the customer is now accepted as a self-evidently sufficient justification for a systems project. This puts it in the category with "lower costs" and "increased revenue" as objectives that a system must prove it supports, but that need not themselves be shown worthwhile. Is the 360-degree view really so valuable? If you know that a consultant writes this column, you can guess the answer: It depends. But, at the risk of losing my union card, I'll give a definite answer instead. No.

The reason will be familiar to any data warehouse developer. Different data sources have different values. As in a warehouse, sources should be added only when there is a specific business need for their contents. That fundamental rule doesn't change simply because the subject is customer data.

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