Some CRM companies are still seeing exponential growth.
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Despite a rough economy and ambivalent corporate attitudes towards CRM initiatives, several CRM companies found their way onto the latest Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500 list.
The list ranks the top-500 fastest-growing companies over the past five years on the following criteria: The company must own proprietary technology; devote a significant amount of revenue to research and development; have base-year income of $50,000 to $75,000, and current-year revenue of at least $1 million; have been in business for a minimum of five years; and must be headquartered in North America.
One area of CRM that has proved profitable is Web-based commerce solutions. Companies like Selectica Inc. and Edocs Inc. saw 97,982 percent and 48,277 percent growth, respectively. Data asset management companies like Interwoven Inc., which saw an impressive 120,567 percent growth, also flourished over the past five years.
The smallest growth percentages came from CRM enterprise players like Siebel Systems Inc., and from purveyors of mid-market CRM suites like Pivotal Corp. Siebel, which made its Fast 500 debut in 1999 in the number one spot with the highest percentage growth ever, has since dropped to a 248 ranking.
According to Claudio Marcus, research director of CRM and business technology at Gartner Inc., many large companies have already implemented CRM packages, so sales at enterprise vendors will inevitably slump over time. "Companies are now looking to get more out of their initial investment, and the companies that can increase the effectiveness of a CRM implementation will do well now and in the near future," Marcus says.
Stacey Wueste, a spokesperson for Siebel, says the company has remained among the Fast 500 because it does just that: "We believe that our continued success, even in this difficult economy, is due to our sustained focus on helping customers achieve their own success," she says.
Other CRM companies that made the list include BroadVision, Chordiant Software Inc., Envision Telephony Inc., Informatica Corp., Interactive Intelligence Inc., LivePerson Inc., WebSideStory, and Witness Systems Inc.
"Making the Fast 500 is a testament to a company's leadership, commitment to technology, and ability to deliver the right solution at the right time," says Mark Evans, managing director, Deloitte & Touche Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group.
Says Stephen Kelly, CEO of Chordiant: "It's a vindication of our building the company around our customers, meeting their specific needs, and driving costs out of the company--and providing a speedy return on investment." Kelly says that in the CRM space the companies that will continue to grow even in shaky economic times are those that specialize in a few targeted verticals, not those trying to be "all things to all people."
Dave Gould, president and CEO of Witness Systems, credits his company's expansion over the past five years to its "market leadership position, solid financial resources, and global expansion." He also attributes the company's success to technology innovations and an expanding worldwide customer base.
John Hentrich, president and CEO of WebSideStory, says of being named to the Fast 500, "This latest recognition from Deloitte & Touche concludes a great third quarter for us. To be recognized as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the nation is a testament to the hard work of our employees and our ability to optimize the e-marketing and e-commerce initiatives of our customers."
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