When it comes to customer relationship management systems and technologies, companies need to stay flexible and make data the cornerstone of their program, Scott Nelson, vice president and research director, Gartner Group, told attendees Monday, Aug. 13, during his keynote presentation "Data Warehousing and CRM: Fad or Future of the Industry" at The Data Warehousing Institute World Conference – Summer 2001 in Anaheim, Calif. Over the next five years, 80 percent of all companies will choose third-party integrators to help create their CRM architectures. But CRM will change rapidly by 2006 and businesses need a flexible plan to keep up with shifting technology and sources of information. To stay current, Nelson advises businesses to:

"Enterprises must explore sophisticated tools and techniques to enable a broad range of non-technical users to analyze and understand complex data," Nelson says. "Data mining, visualization and geographic information systems will enable marketers to interact through natural interfaces and leverage innate human pattern recognition capabilities."

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