Early this year a host of inquires were coming in about data quality challenges in CRM systems. This led to a number of joint inquires between myself and CRM expert Kate Legget, VP and Principal Analyst in our application development and delivery team. Seems that the expectations that CRM systems could provide a single trusted view of the customer was starting to hit a reality check. There is more to collecting customer data and activities, you need validation, cleansing, standardization, consolidation, enrichment and hierarchies. CRM applications only get you so far, even with more and more functionality being added to reduce duplicate records and enforce classifications and groups. So, what should companies do?

Thus, the genesis of a new Forrester report that gets beyond the other silver bullet answer to fix customer data - data quality tools and master data management. Kate and I wanted to lay out when and how to leverage data quality and business services provided by CRM applications and when to know it is time for more robust capabilities. We looked closely at tipping points within CRM, business processes and roles, and the wider data ecosystem that influences the ability to deliver trusted customer information. This mile high view demonstrated there is a framework for customer data architecture than just throwing more technology at a problem. It gets underneath how to implement functionality and solutions that tighten the connection between business process and data process. In our report, "Better Customer Relationships Require Trusted Data" we provided the frameworks that allow companies to get the most out of their CRM investments to avoid customer risk and deliver on better customer interactions that drive revenue.

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