If you judge by the stories we write and the conferences we sponsor, the data integration and management business is hot these days. Even C-level executives seem to be taking notice that a strong foundational technology and clean data are required to pave the way for their own increasing demand for analytic applications.When I talk to companies about MDM or CDI projects and eventually turn to the topic of return on investment however, I am usually told that ROI here is "squishy" and that benefits will hopefully be accrued in the future. Much of the groundwork in MDM is seen as an infrastructure requirement for information demand, or "table stakes" for competing in the marketplace.

That is why I was very interested to come across the results of or research published last week by Leslie Ament of Aberdeen Group. Her study, supported in part by readers of DM Review magazine, found that above average performing companies will find tangible ROI from investing in customer data management (CDM) solutions. In fact, Ament found that best in class organizations attained greater than 20 percent annual improvement in four key metrics: customer retention rate, partner and customer satisfaction, revenues, and data accuracy and match rates.

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