Wheelhouse to put spin on CRM data integration

CRM (customer relationship management) infrastructure vendor Wheelhouse Corp. in early 2002 plans to offer a tool intended to integrate disparate data sources to present a unified view of customers.

Currently, enterprises must cope with an abstract concept of customers in which information about them is scattered in multiple, disparate applications, according to Burlington, Massachusetts-based Wheelhouse. The company's client-side modeling tool will help IT managers examine and design customer relationship information objects that the company terms "CRM objects," according to Barry Briggs, vice president of engineering, chief technology officer at Wheelhouse.

The tool helps catalog metadata -- or information about the origin of data -- that companies have on customers, households, products, and other entities. Information is catalogued such as a customer's phone number and shipping address.

Once a company has a handle on whom exactly its customer is, it will be easier to integrate systems and bring new ones online, Briggs said.

Later on next year, Wheelhouse plans to utilize these objects to coordinate systems in real time. For example, a bank customer who was moving would be presented mortgage information. These systems would communicate via CRM objects flowing over a Web services backbone, he said.

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