CRM vendors are making some pretty bold moves to incorporate newer technologies into their existing solutions. Whether it's through acquisitions, partnerships, or innovations, the companies represented in this year's CRM Market Leader awards are betting big on technologies such as social media, mobile solutions, analytics, the cloud, and big data. Read on to see how their investments over the past year have paid off, and how they might affect your customer experience initiatives.
The editors of CRM magazine would like to extend their deepest gratitude to those who took part, in any number of ways, in evaluating this year's CRM Market Awards. This issue, and the awards themselves, would not have been possible without the contributions of the following judges, assessors, and raters. Thank you to: Raj Agnihotri, assistant professor of marketing and director of research, The Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University; Leslie Ament, senior vice president of research and principal analyst, Hypatia Research Group; Lior Arussy, founder and president, Strativity Group; Bill Band, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research; Dan Beca, director of solution design, Catalyst; Jim Dickie, managing partner, CSO Insights; Boris Evelson, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research; Michael Fauscette, group vice president, software business solutions, IDC; Joe Galvin, chief research officer and executive vice president, Miller Heiman; Paul Greenberg, president, The 56 Group; Andy Hayler, president and CEO, The Information Difference; Steve King, partner, Emergent Research; Holger Kisker, vice president and research director, analytics and data management and application development and delivery, Forrester Research; Esteban Kolsky, principal, ThinkJar; Brent Leary, cofounder and partner, CRM Essentials; Gregory Moulthrop, CEO and principal consultant, Economic Technology Systems; John Ragsdale, vice president, technology and social research, Technology Services Industry Association; Paul Selway, president and cofounder, Redpath Consulting Group; Ray Wang, CEO and principal analyst, Constellation Research; Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research, Nucleus Research.
Enterprise CRM Suite
The market for enterprise CRM is exploding. Worldwide CRM software revenue was approximately $18 billion in 2012, up 12.5 percent from the $16 billion reported for 2011, according to Gartner. Not surprisingly, as more companies move to the cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments are up also, and now constitute 40 percent of the total CRM market share.
This was a year of consolidation, as vendors continued to acquire companies and add marketing, analytics, lead quality, multichannel, mobile, and social capabilities to their core products. "With corporate cash at all-time highs, many vendors are willing to pay high premiums to acquire specific technologies and expertise in an increasingly dynamic and competitive CRM market environment," said Joanne Correia, vice president at Gartner, in a statement.
Microsoft keeps impressing analysts with its competitive pricing strategy, and saw its cost score rise from 4.0 to 4.2 this year. The company, which acquired marketing management solutions provider MarketingPilot last fall, has since released Marketing-Pilot 15, with added business intelligence, analytics, and deeper integration, to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. On the social media front, the acquisition of social media monitoring and analytics solution Netbreeze added more analytical functionality to Microsoft. It's appearing to bode well for Microsoft in customer adoption. John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research at the Technology Services Industry Association, says he's "seeing more interest in Microsoft CRM from larger companies."
NetSuite continues to place in the enterprise CRM suite category for its tight-knit connections to e-commerce and cloud ERP systems. Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, says, "NetSuite provides a good, end-to-end cloud suite that should handle eighty percent of most companies' use cases." This vendor scored equally strong, earning 4.0s in customer satisfaction and company direction, indicating that the wave of positive momentum it has been riding will continue to surge.
SAP made it onto the leaderboard for wowing analysts with the mobile and user interface advancements it made this year. Last year's score of 3.9 for depth of functionality rose to 4.2 this year. "I am impressed with the continuously significant progress SAP has made to its solution portfolio," comments Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group. "A comprehensive approach, suitable for both B2B and B2C enterprises, was very much in evidence."
SugarCRM's foray onto the leaderboard for enterprise CRM suite this year fulfilled a prediction Wang made last year—Sugar's "win with IBM puts it on the map for enterprise-class, open-source solutions." With an additional $33 million in financing to grow its footprint in the large enterprise market, the industry is now seeing "Sugar picking up large enterprise wins at Salesforce.com's expense," Wang notes. A solid cost score of 4.3 is evidence of this. During its annual user conference, SugarCon, the vendor previewed Sugar 7, a "highly scalable" open-source CRM application running on HTML5 technology, with deep visualization, forecasting, and collaboration features designed for salespeople and other enterprise users.
Salesforce.com kept up its momentum, maintaining the top spot for the enterprise CRM suite category again this year and earning a high score of 4.5 for company direction. It's been a busy 12 months for the cloud computing giant, which included one of its greatest feats—being named lead vendor in the worldwide customer relationship management software market for total software revenue that reached $2.5 billion in 2012, according to Gartner. Salesforce.com made a number of key updates to its cloud platforms, not the least of which include the integration of social media products Buddy Media and Radian6 into its Marketing Cloud. More recently, Salesforce.com added social advertising capabilities to its Marketing Cloud with Social.com, and enhanced email campaign management and marketing automation through its $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget.
One to Watch
Oracle was narrowly edged off of the enterprise CRM suite leaderboard by other contenders this year, but continues to make headway in social marketing solutions that tie back to the contact record. This is evidenced by its $871 million acquisition of marketing automation platform Eloqua and subsequent launch of Social Relationship Manager, which adds social media intelligence to Oracle Fusion CRM and Oracle CRM. Despite Oracle's absence from the leaderboard this year, it still scored a 4.5 in functionality. —Kelly Liyakasa
Midmarket CRM Suite
This year, midmarket companies prioritized a few key areas in their business strategies—improving sales and earnings and expanding their business footprints. To do so, small to midsized businesses (SMBs) are eyeing ways to become more efficient through the use of technology, specifically mobile applications and social media tools, according to the business research and forecasting service the Economic Intelligence Unit.
A number of CRM vendors are looking to meet the needs of the midmarket through two key selling points—attractive pricing options and simple administration—according to "The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organizations 2012." Vendors continued to add deeper social, mobile, and analytical capabilities to product offerings, cloud deployments, and improved support for business process management in multichannel interactions, the report indicated.
Microsoft earned one of the best cost scores this year, with a 4.0. John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research at the Technology Services Industry Association, calls Microsoft Dynamics a "great solution for smaller firms and offices," and Steve King, partner at Emergent Research, says Microsoft "provides lots of third-party support" and add-ons for users. Microsoft, according to the Forrester Wave report, offers "the power of choice" in deployment by way of on-premises, on-demand, or partner-hosted models. Forrester also identifies Microsoft as offering "very strong support for mobile CRM."
NetSuite maintained its position on the leaderboard this year. Its customer satisfaction score rose slightly, from 3.7 last year to 3.8, and analysts acknowledged the value of its features and functionality for the price, a key quality for midmarket success. "NetSuite's all-in-one integrated solution encompassing CRM, ERP, finance/accounting, and e-commerce, developed on a customer-centric information infrastructure, offers true value for a reasonable cost," comments Leslie Ament, senior vice president of research and principal analyst at Hypatia Research.
Oracle is a "good option for larger midmarket firms," as King puts it, and continued to develop mobile and social-compatible solutions throughout the year. One solution, Oracle Knowledge 8.5, connects knowledge and context about customers and interactions to the CRM contact record for sales, marketing, and support work flows. Oracle also launched CRM On Demand 20 last summer, enhancing support for industry verticals such as financial services and insurance, and including cross-industry upgrades in functionality, designed with time and savings in mind.
SugarCRM maintained its spot on the midmarket CRM suite leaderboard with a score for cost that held steady this year at 4.1. King called SugarCRM "the leader in open-source CRM" and an "excellent choice for IBM shops." With an eye on the development of Sugar 7, an open-source CRM application powered by HTML5 technology, this vendor is combining CRM capabilities with corporate activity feeds, a collaboration feed, and a visual Intelligence Panel that maps out customer contact activity in real time for sales, marketing, and customer service.
Salesforce.com, a midmarket success story again this year, earned the highest score for company direction, with a 4.1. "Salesforce.com is just plain all-around good," King says. This is "still the most popular choice for midmarket CRM." With more small to midsize enterprises expressing a willingness to invest in social and mobile technologies, Salesforce.com has not disappointed on the development side to meet the demand.
This year brought the Salesforce Touch platform, which lets companies develop and deploy native, HTML5, or hybrid apps to any mobile device. Further padding its mobile capabilities, Salesforce.com spent $70 million on cobrowsing technology start-up GoInstant, which can provide sales support in an e-commerce transaction, for instance. "This plays a big role in upping the game for customer engagement," Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, notes.—Kelly Liyakasa
One to Watch
BPMonline is recognized as our One to Watch this year for its ability to blend business process management with CRM capabilities. "One of the regular complaints you hear about CRM (or any process-oriented software) is you have to adjust how you do business to make them work effectively within your firm's work flow," King says. "This is not true for [BPMonline]. I think they will likely gain share over the next couple of years." Stealing the spotlight as winner of the industry's popular CRM Idol competition in 2011, it appears the company could be on a path of acceleration. —K.L.