The impact of the recession has thoroughly shaken many companies to the core—even traditionally stable companies. Microsoft, for example, announced its first drop in year-over-year revenue as a publicly traded company. But, despite the worldwide economic challenges, the CRM industry continues its climb.
According to Gartner, the CRM industry grew 12.5 percent in 2008 to $9.15 billion. Even the financially stunted Microsoft has noticed gains in its CRM division, with annual revenue for Microsoft Dynamics CRM growing 75 percent in 2008, according to the article “Microsoft’s Million-Member March” (page 14), by Associate Editor Jessica Tsai.
Largely contributing to the industry’s growth is software-as-a-service (SaaS), which enables organizations to enjoy the benefits of CRM solutions at a lower cost than on-premises solutions. In a difficult economy, cutting costs, increasing productivity, improving revenue, and bolstering customer satisfaction are not only essential to stay ahead of the competition, but critical to a company’s survival. Many organizations know this, which is why they’re rewarding SaaS CRM vendors with their business. Salesforce.com, for instance, reached $1 billion in annual revenue this year—an astonishing run rate for a company that’s only been around a decade.
The analysts participating in this year’s CRM Market Awards (beginning on page 21) are impressed, as well, as they consistently gave Salesforce.com high marks, enabling it to win four categories this year, including, for the first time ever, the Enterprise Suite CRM category. With one-third of Salesforce.com’s revenue coming from large enterprises, it’s now hard to ignore the SaaS model as a viable solution for companies of that size.
In addition to the SaaS model, other developments are driving the industry’s growth. Mobile solutions are more robust, empowering field forces to take advantage of essential CRM solutions on the road. “All of [the vendors] have started looking at mobile again in a big way,” says one analyst in the Enterprise Suite CRM category (page 34), as reported by Assistant Editor Lauren McKay.
If you’ve been ignoring the whole social media phenomenon, then, for your own job security, you’ll need to dive back under that rock you’ve been hiding behind. Social media, according to one industry pundit in the Sales Force Automation category (on page 37), “will change the way we sell.” The editors of CRM magazine recognize this as well, as many of this year’s Influential Leaders (page 22) and Rising Stars (page 27) are deeply rooted in either social media or collaboration tools.
Many of the winners of this year's Market Awards have one thing in common—innovation. The companies that continue to innovate will increase their chances of thriving and earning a CRM Market Award in 2010. In the meantime, congratulations to this year’s winners.
While I’m on the topic of awards, I’m pleased to share that CRM has won some of its own. We received seven American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards this year for editorial and design excellence, topping last year’s total of five. It’s an honor to win such prestigious recognition, especially when we’re competing against well-known publications in the Northeast region, including BusinessWeek, Computerworld, and Fortune Small Business. I’m also proud to announce that this year marks the first time CRM has won a national ASBPE award. And, in grand style, we won two of them. I’m fortunate and grateful to collaborate with such a hardworking and talented team. I look forward to continuing to bring this level of excellence to our readers.
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