Information Integration for Relationship Management
Robert S. Moore (Mississippi State University, USA), Merrill Warkentin (Mississippi State University, USA) and Melissa Moore (Mississippi State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
In the past 20 years, an explosion in the ability of firms to acquire and integrate vast amounts of electronic customer information has occurred. For example, in the early 1990s, Lotus Development Corporation introduced, then withdrew a software product called MarketPlace: Households from the market after widespread public concern. The $695 product had a searchable database of 120 million Americans, containing their names, addresses, estimated incomes, consumer preferences, and other personal details. Fast forward to 2005, and companies like ChoicePoint Inc. hold personal information on virtually every single American and sell it over the Internet. Though the ability to technologically acquire and manage information has been possible since the mid 1960s, it was not until the 1990s that the Internet allowed even the smallest of firms to collect, purchase, and integrate information about potential customers. This “interactive information integration” capability is a process of consolidating and managing customer information from all available sources. The recent proliferation of affordable client devices such as desktop computing combined with advances in telecommunication (broadband, mobile devices, etc.) in the early part of the 21st century has enabled this trend to continue and grow. Optimally, marketplace information is used to develop need-based offerings generated from specific individual-level data. These customized solutions can lead to long-term profitable relationships for both customers and firms. However, the level of acceptance of the collection and use of personal information varies among consumers, and the human and technological ability of firms to properly secure information is not perfect. Miscues, such as ChoicePoint’s report that personal data for more than 140,000 people had been stolen and Time Warner’s report that data tapes containing information on more than 600,000 past and present employees was lost (Perez & Brooks 2005), affect attitudes toward the collection and use of personal information, particularly in marketing communications.