CRM faces customer backlash

A backlash against increased personalisation through Net-based data analysis threatens the progress of customer relationship management (CRM) systems....

A backlash against increased personalisation through Net-based data analysis threatens the progress of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Tom Willmott, president and chief executive officer of Aberdeen Group, issued a stark warning to supply industry leaders. "A huge clashpoint is coming soon," he said.

The enormous capability for analysing personal data will exacerbate concerns about data privacy, and lead to increased government involvement and regulation, he said.

Speaking at the CSSA conference, Willmott also listed the six key issues facing the IT industry this year. Of these, he believes the most critical for the development of e-business is the need for suppliers to abandon proprietary activities and work with common standards.

Although many commentators have mooted XML as an integration silver bullet, Willmott warned that users cannot expect it to solve all their standardisation issues in the short-term.

He was responding to concerns raised by early user adopters of e-procurement and other e-business-related systems, who are increasingly concerned about which version of XML to back.

Although XML is a global standard, agreed by the World-Wide Web Consortium, there is no industry consensus on standard nitty-gritty schemas for defining the meaning of the data eg how accounting records are formatted. These are essential for transferring data using XML. Various vertical sectors are looking at ways of defining schemas, and products such as Biztalk to define industry templates.

Drawing on feedback from his US-based interest groups, Willmott said, "People don't believe XML will solve everyone's requirements by the end of 2000, but other companies are building their versions of XML optimised for specific types of application.

"In the long-term, however, standards for processing will be based on the XML environment," he said.

Aberdeen's key trends for 2000

  • Inter-enterprise collaboration, which is moving centre stage this year. It is essential for improving e-business productivity

  • Customer relationship management, which comes of age this year but which will also bring privacy issues to the fore

  • A continuing explosion in bandwidth demand fuelled by increased use of streaming media, Internet telephony and larger transaction volumes

  • Resurgence of high-end mainframe systems to manage disc farms and other high-performance processing applications.

  • Need for wide range management, security, network, and other common standards for e-business take off

  • A continued trend for the digital economy to shape financial markets and for stock to fund research and development

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