CRM rollouts marred by bad data

Customer relationship management (CRM) has become a hot-button topic, with companies deploying systems with hopes of providing better service and, in turn, boosting revenues.

But many CRM deployments are thwarted by faulty, inconsistent data sets that prevent user sites from having a clear, unified profile of each customer. Software companies are beginning to tackle the problem, with Evoke Software and Metagenix selling wares intended to profile data and help clean it up.

“It’s massive,” said Derek Strauss, CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based business

intelligence applications host Assurenet, of the problems of data quality in CRM applications.

“One of the biggest issues with CRM is obviously to get to know your customer,” Strauss said. “You have to have accurate information, and most of the front-end systems which deal with customers do not have accurate information about the customers. There’s disjointed [data], there’s a lot of blanks in some

of the critical fields.”

In a July 2001 report, Gartner wrote that more than 75 per cent of enterprises engaged in CRM initiatives cannot combine a comprehensive view of a customer with actionable, personalized advice to customer service and sales agents. A key challenge in implementing a CRM platform is “an information crisis resulting from inconsistent, inaccessible, in-correct, or out-of-synch data sources,” according to Gartner.