DCI Attendance and CRM on the Rise
Industry growth is measured by those who buy in, not by vendor consolidation.
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Tom Siebel is usually good for an inflammatory remark. And he delivered recently at DCI's combined Customer Relationship Management and Employee Relationship Management Conference & Exposition, held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York. In his keynote address Siebel predicted more industry consolidation. "In the next two years 80 percent of the companies here [at DCI] will not exist," he said. But according to Barton Goldenberg, cochairman of DCI's CRM conference, Siebel's remark is limited to his portion of the market. "Tom pointed out that technology spending over the next twelve months is likely to remain flat. I'm of the belief that that is his market he is talking about--the mid- and upper market. The small and medium-size enterprise will remain considerably more buoyant, and as a result its spending will not stay flat," he says. Validating his more optimistic outlook Goldenberg refers to the conference attendance numbers as a growth indicator for the CRM industry. The New York DCI CRM event is the most popular of all four DCI-sponsored CRM events in the United States. Approximately 5,700 people preregistered and more than 4,000 hit the show floor on the first day. The preregistration number represents a 30 percent jump over last year's New York DCI show. With the New York audience also comes an advanced level of understanding among show-goers, which encourages a forum for forward-thinking strategies for both show-goers and presenters. "The New York market is without a doubt the most sophisticated market in the U.S. for the CRM show. I appreciate the level of competence and knowledge of CRM [in New York] along with the pragmatic and provocative questions they ask," Goldenberg says. One of the forward-thinking strategies of the show underscores the importance of people and process and not just technology when implementing a CRM system. In Goldenberg's most popular breakout session, "Overview CRM Masterplan-- Step 1: People, Process, and Technology; Why the Right Mix is Critical," he states that the technology component is requiring less focus from customers, whereas the people component is gaining more attention. Of the three components required for a successful CRM implementation (people, process, and technology), Goldenberg says the process requires 30 percent of the project focus, the focus on people should be as high as 60 percent, and the technology focus could be as low as 10 percent. "Technology is an enabler. It is overhyped. It's the sexy piece of the trio and we get excited about it, but it is not what makes us successful," he says. "The people component is the most difficult component given the sensitivities of users to change. You had best be ready to convince people that CRM is something they want to do." Well-known industry consultant Patricia Seybold agrees that often people put too much focus on the technology. In her speech, entitled "Achieving the Holy Grail of CRM: Making It Easy for Your Customers to Do Business With You," she suggests that focusing on the customer is an important early step when implementing CRM. "You have to get everyone to understand that no one owns the customer. The customer owns the customer. It's dysfunctional to think otherwise," Seybold says. -- David Myron
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