Analytical CRM, when done right, involves large amounts of cross-functional data. This data is often stored on a data warehouses repository of corporate data from various sources intended to facilitate business analysis.

Data warehouses continue to deliver critical knowledge in a range of industries, generating returns on investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the practice of doing data warehouses to analysis business performance is known as business intelligence. Data warehouse is not CRM, and neither is business intelligence.

Although this might seem obvious, even heretical to some , read a magazine article or attend a conference presentation on CRM and you’ll likely hear at least one of the following claims:

1. We’re using data mining to execute our corporate-wide CRM initiative, it allows us to predict what customers might buy next!


2. Our new CRM system allows us to analyze customer behavior and to give our salespeople global customer information, rather than select bits and pieces like they had before.

3. Once we start doing CRM, we could access all of our customers from one system.

4. Customers relationship management allows the company to analyze claims data to better understand which type of claims are most prevalent for a given customer segment.

5. Hallelujah! We finally know which customers are buying which products!


Valuable as they are, none of these capabilities require a CRM product. In fact companies from brokerage houses to pharmaceutical firms were performing these duties long before the CRM acronym came along. The combination of data warehouses and analytical toolsets has given companies the ability to drill down into integrated data to reveal interesting – even competitively differentiating-finding.

Rather than extrapolating what type of promotion to be launch arid guessing who would respond, companies have begun relying on business intelligence analysis to provide them with to hard facts that helps them make better, more informed decisions and reap unforeseen rewards. But even the experts are confused about the differences between business intelligence and CRM, and the media often exacerbates the misunderstanding.

Publications and conference presentations routinely confuse two terms, data warehouse vendors whose markets are waning- most large companies already have at least one data warehouse are hanging out the CRM shingle without refashioning the message likewise, CRM vendors who realized too late that data analysis capabilities were vital are now pitching CRM data marts along with their core products.

One popular CRM book concentrates the majority of its text and all its case studies on decision support analysis. In august 2000, a high-profile management journal dedicated an entire issue to CRM, featuring a dozen “best practices”, most of which involved analyzing customer data rather than focusing on deployed CRM applications and there was the well-attended CRM conference presentation offering the “nine type of CRM”, four of which-database, decision support, analysis and data mining, and “rules repository”-smacked more of business intelligence than of the overarching business strategy of CRM.


Although often misrepresented, the difference between business intelligence and CRM are distinct. Yes, they both involve critical business decisions and both rely on information technology to deliver value. The example in table illustrate the distinction.

Your first impression might be that CRM is more complex than business intelligence. In fact, at most companies the number of true CRM users is a mere subset of the business population using business intelligence. However, business intelligence, when not exploited to its full potential, can result in analysis for analysis’ sake.

The major difference between BI and CRM is that CRM integrates information with business each of our examples, the CRM action will be tested and further refined. CRM combines data analysis with the development of specific business actions the ability to access the data is, by itself, immensely powerful, but many business intelligence environments simply use data to confirm already held hypotheses. The mandate of CRM is the ability to act on that data and to change fundamental business processes to become more customer centric.



Business Intelligences Reporting:

Spend more time driving your business forward, and less time with the mechanics of running reports. With Maximizer CRM business intelligence reporting, easily build on-the-fly reports according to your query and sorting criteria. Plus, access over 175 built-in business report templates that consolidate and present real-time data on everything from sales forecasts and marketing campaigns to account activities and phone logs.

Benefits of Business Intelligence Reporting:


(a) Get the right information with on-the-fly CRM reports that enable you to sort and display data and results in charts or lists

(b) Instantly export reports to Microsoft Excel® for further analysis and data manipulation

(c) Share reports with colleagues in various formats including PDF, Word®, HTML and XML

(d) Out-of-the box reports include templates in Crystal Reports and Microsoft SQL Reporting Services (SRS)


(e) Formula-driven User-Defined Fields allow calculations from multiple fields for more ro­bust profiling and reporting

(f) Get the visibility you need right away with pre-built reports including:

I. Pipeline report

II. Win/Loss/Abandon analysis


III. Forecast analysis

IV. Lead summary

V. Campaign summary

VI. Customer service case analysis

VII. Workload by customer service representative

VIII. Day timer schedule print-outs


IX. CRM system administration reports

Objectives for a BI and CRM Integration Project:

Each organization has a different set of challenges and customized systems.

However, there are some typical overarching objectives for a BI and CRM integration project that can be categorized as follows:

i. Collecting and consolidating data:

Keeping everyone focused on the tasks at hand and avoiding data collection overload.


ii. Missing data:

Storing data in a central location for marketing, sales and customer service. By integrating BI and CRM, the right information can be captured and added to the central repository.

iii. Duplicate data:

This is a common challenge with CRM applications. Many organizations consider integrating BI tools with CRM tools to reduce duplication.

Overcoming BI and CRM Integration Challenges:

Companies see the greatest benefit from integrating BI tools with their CRM system when they create dashboards to display and analyze information for finance and HR, partner relations, customer service, executives, sales, and marketing.


Since each company has significantly different needs when it comes to integrating BI tools with a CRM system, there is no turnkey solution or commercial, off-the-shelf software that can be used as a plug-and-play component for integration. Therefore, it’s all about employing a methodology that will ensure a “rapid” trip to the endgame: creating dashboards. We have developed our “RAPID” methodology.