Dear Readers,

Beginning a new year and a new century certainly puts the pressure on me to write a profound, forward-looking publisher's letter. However, knowing that during the last few months you have probably heard enough prognostication to last a lifetime, I'll devote this letter to more practical topics.

The ability to interact effectively and efficiently with customers will undoubtedly be driving the efforts of most companies for the next few years. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist providing one prediction!) Without a Web front end, companies will be unable to offer customers the level of service and improved communication that they have come to expect as a result of dealing with the growing number of dot-com companies vying for the mind share and wallet share today.

Most companies will be forced to implement some type customer relationship management (CRM) program in order to survive. Faced with the dizzying array of products and services that will enable your organization to be CRM ready, it's difficult to determine what choices you should make in terms of technology and enterprise architecture to ensure your company's success.

Education is one of the best ways to arm yourself with the artillery you need to fight for your customers. Fortunately, our industry has many conferences aimed at just that ­ education. I'm pleased to announce that a great conference ­ The Second Coglin Mill Inter-national Data Warehousing Con-ference ­ has been scheduled for May 21-26, 2000. This year the focus of the conference is customer relationship management which Coglin Mill calls "arguably the most critical issue facing companies of all sizes as we take on the challenges of the new millennium." Focusing on the underlying strategies and technologies required to implement a first-class CRM system, Coglin Mill has organized a conference you won't want to miss. You will have an opportunity to learn from some of your favorite DM Review columnists and authors. Conference speakers include Bill Inmon, Claudia Imhoff and John Zachman. I will also be one of the featured speakers, and I look forward to seeing as many of you at the conference as possible. As a conference attendee, you will also be able to schedule one-on-one meetings with any of the speakers to discuss your specific challenges. Mark your calendars now to attend this conference in Port Douglas, Australia. The combination of great location and internationally acclaimed speakers is hard to beat. You can obtain more information about the conference by visiting www.coglinmill.com ­ or check out the ad in this issue.

Best wishes to all of you for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

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