According to a Gartner report, the CRM software market grew from $20.4 billion in 2013 to $23.2 billion in 2014 (representing 13.3 percent growth). An ongoing trend among enterprises is the movement from pure on-premises solutions to cloud-based solutions. Increasingly, large companies are seeking easy deployments and quick ways to improve upon legacy systems with complementary functionality. In the report, Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner, noted that the demand for software-as-a-service continues, "with SaaS accounting for almost 47 percent of total CRM software revenue in 2014."
According to analysts, NetSuite has the right steps in mind, evidenced by its high score in company direction (4.1). Jim Dickie, managing director at CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global, notes that though the solution is "not seen often for large enterprises," the company has its sights set on larger outfits. "We've been moving upmarket ever since we've gone public [in 2007]," CEO Zach Nelson said at SuiteWorld, the company's annual user conference, this May. The company also garnered a respectable customer satisfaction score (3.8). Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, says that "the strength of NetSuite still lies in its single database and ability for sales and other users to see not just CRM but order and other data."
Like last year, Oracle scored the second highest in depth of functionality (4.1). Wettemann notes that the company's offerings, which include the Sales Cloud, Eloqua, CPQ, analytics, and mobile functionality, "are…solid capabilities enterprises need," but that Oracle "still needs some improvement in setup." She suggests changes are on the way, however, as the company "has made significant advances in usability." Cost continues to be an issue for Oracle; the company had its lowest score in that area (3.3).
Salesforce.com stands out for its company direction and customer satisfaction, two areas where it scored a 4.2. Analysts attribute this largely to the company's focus on an improved user interface. Wettemann says she expects that "the investments it is making in UI and in-app analytics will really pay off and make [Salesforce’s offerings] even more attractive to customers in the near term." John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research for the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), agrees, saying that the solutions are becoming more usable and that the company's focus on its Customer Success platform "is paying off with strong adoption and consumption by customers."
SAP scored lowest in cost (3.4) and highest in depth of functionality (nearly 4.0). Ragsdale suggests that SAP's embedded analytics "offer tremendous value" to buyers, who are "increasingly demanding sophisticated analytics and dashboards." Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group, notes that the company has improved its customer engagement and journey tracking capabilities. "Encompassing sales, marketing, customer service, and commerce, SAP has delivered an enterprise-class CRM solution," she told CRM magazine via email. Despite this praise, it is notable that of the leaders, SAP ranked the lowest in company direction (3.6). Wettemann says that "SAP seems to have lost its way in CRM and doesn't have a clear story on how it delivers value or how it can catch up on product road maps."
Microsoft takes the title this year from longtime defending champion Salesforce.com. Analysts gave the company high marks in company direction (4.5). Ragsdale notes that "Microsoft is heavily investing in [its] CRM platform, adding sophistication across sales, marketing, and service, and as a result is seeing increased adoption by large enterprises." Wettemann singles out as strengths the "Parature service capabilities and knowledge base" as well as "integration with Office 365 and PowerBI," and Ament lauded the company's improved suite of integrated customer engagement products. Its software enables companies to reach customers "via multiple touch points and to do so with enterprise-wide intelligence, supported by Microsoft's Business Analytics platform (PowerBI and Azure Data Services)," Ament said via email.
ONE TO WATCH
Infor stepped up as One to Watch this year—and nearly made it onto the leaderboard. The company's acquisition of SalesLogix in August has bolstered its sales functionality, the category in which it scored the highest (3.8). "Infor has long had strong marketing capabilities with Epiphany and continues to build out its CRM offering with…SalesLogix," Wettemann says.
[Editor's note: The overall award rating is based on a composite score of analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost. For the cost score, analysts gave the highest marks to vendors with the lowest expected costs. Company revenues were also factored into the overall score, but these numbers are not included in the chart above.]