Tip

CRM Questions for Your IT Organization

When you go about starting up a CRM implementation, there are many, many questions that you should be asking just to make sure you get it right. In particular, you have to know and understand the capabilities of your IS infrastructure so you can figure out whether it will sustain the application you have in mind. If you're not a bits-and-bytes person, but more a technology generalist, you may not know the questions to ask. But this tip, excerpted from

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Accelerating Customer Relationships, by Ronald S. Swift, from Prentice Hall, gives you the first of many questions to ask.

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IS people can give you a great deal of solid background information, but, remember, it is highly unlikely that they know the answer to the two most important questions: "How does the system meet the business requirements?" and "How much of a contribution to the business has the system provided?"

IT Question 1: How Big Is the System?

Look here for the number of processors, the amount of memory, the amount of disk storage (also known as total disk space), and the number of processing nodes (there may be dozens of hundreds in a parallel processing system). Please note that the answer to this question by itself is of extremely limited value. Once you understand how big the system is, you must also understand what type of environment it's supporting. This will give you good indication of how large a system you can expect to need.

Let's follow a real-life example. The vendor has told you about a 1.4 Terabyte site for a data warehouse. The reference's [a reference could be, for example, a company similar to yours that has implemented a system like the one you want] answer to question 1 is ONE Terabyte. OK, so what's 400 Gigabytes between friends? No big deal, [because] we need to bring up 500 Gigabytes, or half the reference size.

Be specific in understanding size, real data, used data, historical data, index data, standard reporting data, multi-dimensional data in a cube/file/database, and also differentiate the data that is in summaries or summary tables (which are accessed easily, but provide little or minimum value).

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To learn more about Accelerating Customer Relationships, or to buy this book, click here.


This was first published in December 2000

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