In my last column, I talked about combining the operational and analytical sides of customer relationship management (CRM) to complete the customer-centric vision. This month's column continues the discussion by describing the use of online analytics for online operations.

One of the key promises of the Web is the granular tracking of customer behavior. The idea that we can assess the type of design that most appeals to Web visitors is a graphic designer's dream. Detailed clickstream information in the hands of experienced analysts can help designers understand if the site has been effective at leading customers and potential customers to the desired outcome - be it a purchase, a registration, a sweepstakes entry or an acceptance of an offer.

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