Customer relationship management (CRM) applications are not quick or easy to implement – and for good reason. Few other implementations affect so many departments, require such a significant overhaul of business processes and force data integration across the enterprise. The deeper the CRM applications infiltrate your organization, the better your rate of return becomes. To properly implement CRM, you need two new sets of capabilities – tactical and analytical CRM applications – and the architecture to support them.

The analytical applications are classified as business intelligence, which consists of the data warehouse supplying data to the various data marts and the analytical applications performing the analyses. The applications running against these components give us insight into our customers' demographics, buying habits, profitability, lifetime value and so on. However, insight into customer behavior is not enough. We need the ability to act upon these findings by having ready access from anywhere in the enterprise to current information about our customers as well as quick access to some analytical results.

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