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Learning guide: Customer data integration

Welcome to's learning guide on customer data integration. Here you'll find articles, white papers, advice and resources to help you better integrate and leverage your customers' data at every touchpoint.

Welcome to's learning guide on customer data integration (CDI). Here you'll find articles, white papers, advice and resources to help you better integrate and leverage your customers' data across the enterprise. From an introduction to CDI-related terms to understanding the innovations in CDI tools and technology, this is your best resource for getting started on the right foot with your customer data integration initiative. Drop us an e-mail to let us know what other learning guides you'd like to see on


Introduction to customer data integration
Key terms and definitions
Building a CDI strategy
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Advice, reports and white papers on CDI
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  Introduction to customer data integration by Jill Dyche  Return to Table of Contents

Jill DycheThe question's become routine on almost every project we do: "What's your system of record for customer data?"

More often than not, the answer to the question is: "Which one do you want to know about?" Which means there's more than one customer system of record. Which really means that there is no customer system of record. Which means there's a lot of hard work ahead.

A few years back, most companies were deep into implementing operational CRM, focusing on their business processes and automating their workflows. Nowadays, analytical CRM projects promise companies nothing less than strategic differentiation. But reconciling data from heterogeneous and often geographically disparate systems remains one of the biggest challenges.

Customer Data Integration will change all this. By applying rigor to the way companies locate, define, match, model, transform, and store their customer data, CDI solutions streamline heretofore labor-intensive, specialized, and manual data integration activities. CDI introduces the concept of a centralized customer data "hub" -- a single repository that can serve as the company's de-facto customer system of record, thereby addressing a wide array of business needs.

CDI is not only a boon to companies struggling to deploy CRM, it offers a single source for customer data that's leverage-able across applications, systems, and knowledge workers. I liken it to the change machine at a grocery store. It takes the loose data jangling around the pockets of your organization and, for a relatively small fee, converts it to hard currency.

If our CRM projects have taught us anything, it's that we've underestimated the complexity, accessibility, and quality of our customer data. Customer Data Integration promises to not only automate these tasks, but instill the processes and rigor necessary to make them repeatable for a range of different business initiatives—including CRM. And not a moment too soon.

Jill Dyche is a partner with Baseline Consulting, a business analytics and data integration services firm. In addition to advising Baseline clients on the strategic use of technology, she is an author of e-Data (Addison Wesley, 2000) and The CRM Handbook (Addison Wesley, 2002). Her forthcoming CDI book will be out in 2006.


Key terms and definitions  Return to Table of Contents

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