The GDC Blog

Mapping data has become an essential tool for retailers and business. Whether plotting existing sales or looking for new opportunities, understanding where your customers are coming from is crucial to making strategic decisions.

Tools like the recently released PowerMap add-on for Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM system allow users to geocode the location of their customers. In the future, tools like PowerMap will not only plot customers, but identify prospects to increase business, heat map sales and recognize customers at risk for retention.

As an ever increasing number of business decisions are based on this type of data analysis, managers must evaluate the quality of their reference data. While this may be a simple exercise for domestic firms, international businesses face huge challenges in accessing quality reference data, particularly in emerging markets. Incomplete or incorrect data can impact every aspect of a business from fulfillment, to marketing, to customer service.

If today’s CRM systems are the engine of a business, quality data inputs are the fuel. When seeking a vendor to provide reference data, managers should look for someone who is able to offer both breadth and depth of coverage. Many vendors claim to offer world wide coverage, but not all data is created equal. Vendors who create a network of locally licensed data can provide more accurate data and capture the nuances of foreign postal systems and regional naming conventions that might otherwise be lost. As the saying goes, “think global, act local.”