The Data Integration Challenge: Can Semantic Integration Improve Success
By Donna Fluss
Integration is the bane of existence for most chief information officers (CIOs) and business managers. Integrating diverse applications is very expensive, but the cost of not doing it is even higher. Customer relationship management (CRM) suites and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications were supposed to solve the ìintegration problemî for front-end customer systems and back-end infrastructure systems (finance, administration, R&D, etc.) but the majority of companies have achieved only partial success.
Many companies that invested heavily in CRM suites and other related (and expensive) applications like analytics and data warehouses are very frustrated by the systemsí continued inability to provide a comprehensive view of customers. From the late 1990ís into the early 2000ís, ìholistic customer viewî was a mantra of the CRM movement. Yet, six-plus years and millions of dollars later, most companies are still struggling for a basic but strategically important understanding of who their customers are, what they want and what these customers are contributing to or costing the company.