One of the hottest segments in the IT software market today concerns software for "customer analytics." The demand for customer-analytic software is driven somewhat by the current conventional wisdom that a company will receive a considerable return on its IT investment by analyzing customer data and acting on that analysis. Achieving this benefit, however, requires several varieties of analytic software which fall into four broad categories:

THE HURWITZ TAKE: Many companies are entering a life cycle stage in which a variety of operational systems are in place (whether for CRM, e- commerce or ERP), and now it's time to enhance and leverage the sales and marketing potential of these systems by adding an analytic component. Also, many companies are finally abandoning their ancient database marketing techniques in favor of the best practices of electronic marketing campaign management. Both of these trends drive the need for customer analytics software.

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