Last month's column discussed the importance of customer intelligence (CI) and outlined the four stages of a customer intelligence road map. This month's column discusses the details of the first step –­ customer intelligence infrastructure ­– and explains its importance as the backbone of any comprehensive customer intelligence program.

A CI infrastructure is critical to the success of any customer intelligence initiative. It is the most mature of the four stages of the customer intelligence road map and, consequently, the stage that is most easily recognized.

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