Although customer relationship management (CRM) is a mature market from an enterprise perspective, many organizations across all sectors and regions of the world continue to invest in CRM systems, says global analyst firm Ovum. Some organizations are already into their third or even fourth deployments.
In its latest evaluation of CRM solutions, Ovum found that organizations that have made great strides in creating a seamless customer experience are now looking further ahead to what Ovum refers to as the customer-adaptive enterprise (CAE). Such an organization has highly acute peripheral vision and can sense and respond rapidly to changes in customer demand and adapt at the right frequency to remain persistently relevant to its customers.
“Continuous, timely, and relevant innovation is the hallmark of such an organization,” explains Jeremy Cox, principal analyst of Software – Enterprise Solutions at Ovum. “Any transformational CRM vision, whether focused on the customer experience or CAE, requires a portfolio of applications that work seamlessly together to enable anyone in contact with the customer to deliver context-aware, relevant information.”
Ovum identifies Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Siebel CRM, Salesforce.com, and SAP CRM as the market leaders. These solutions are comprehensive, suitable for a broad range of large enterprise requirements, and are widely recognized and successful in the CRM market. Two of the solutions in the leader category – Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com – are eminently suitable for the mid-market. Meanwhile, Oracle Siebel CRM features a deep industry sector-specific expertise (e.g. pharmaceutical organizations where specific sales processes are supported, such as e-detailing).
The market challengers were identified as NetSuite CRM+, Oracle CRM On Demand, Sage CRM, SAP Business All-in-One, Sugar Enterprise, and Swiftpage Saleslogix. These solutions cover the breadth of features across three CRM disciplines, either on their own or through another solution from the same vendor. Oracle CRM On Demand, along with Sugar Enterprise, focus on large enterprises, whereas the other challengers are focused on the mid-market, where they are more likely to compete with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com solutions.
“Given the maturity of the CRM software market, it is perhaps not surprising that we see only leaders and those in hot pursuit with broadly similar capabilities, but which either are more suited to narrower segments of the market by either size or industry, or are relative newcomers, as could be said for Sugar Enterprise,” says Cox.
“The relative importance of CRM software functionality diminishes as the customer vision widens to the customer experience or beyond to a customer-adaptive enterprise. However, the more holistic the customer vision, the greater the importance of the vendor’s portfolio of pre-integrated offerings or its ecosystem of ISVs and implementation partners to do the heavy lifting required for more enterprise-wide and complex projects,” concludes Cox.