• May 3, 2004

Hot Seat: Will Analytics Remain a Stand-alone Product or Become Yet Another CRM Module?

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Companies have expended a great deal of effort gathering customer information and business intelligence. To help their customers make that data actionable, CRM vendors are increasingly embedding analytics into their offerings. So CRM magazine asks, Will analytics software continue to be a separate market segment or will its functionality be absorbed into traditional CRM suites in the future?
Robb Eklund, vice president of CRM marketing, Oracle: "Analytics are gaining in popularity and customers are realizing that gathering data isn't valuable unless that data can be analyzed. As more users see the benefits of that analysis in making better-informed business decisions, analytics will become part and parcel of the basic CRM functionality." Ian Jacobs, principal CRM analyst, Current Analysis: "Analytics can be applied to internal processes and transactions, as well as to customer-facing ones. There will always be a need for analytics to judge tests of clickstreams, to analyze accounts receivables performance, or to analyze A/B testing on Web sites. Therefore, analytics as a stand-alone technology will never completely disappear. With that said, CRM suites will continue to stir analytics into all of their modules--sales, service, marketing, partner relationship management, e-service, guided selling/configuration, etc. This will eventually lead to fewer CRM vendors offering distinct analytics packages with their own licenses and SKUs." Dana Fisher, business solutions manager, National Instruments: "Hopefully analytics will become mainstream and be included in mainstream CRM offerings." James Goodnight, Ph.D., president and CEO, SAS Institute: "We believe other vendors--like ERP vendors, whose growth is relatively flat, because no one wants to spend that much on ERP--should clearly get into some analytical areas. We anticipate some additional competition." Jay Coleman, professor of operations management, University of North Florida: "Long term it will be a disadvantage if vendors are not doing this. Analytics are everywhere and customers will see the value and not want to be left behind." Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research Group: "The trend over the past several years has been to make analytics easier to use by embedding this technology into more line-of-business applications that enable regular users to gain instant insights into their businesses and make tactical decisions. The result for vendors is more seats deployed and more profits." Core [analytics] technology has been used at a strategic level by advanced users for quite some time, and this advanced use to gain deep insights into the market is still important and ongoing. So if anything, what's going on is that the technology is finding new niches and delivering value in additional ways, and it will continue to do so." Allen Lynch, associate professor of economics, Mercer University: "I think for large vendors with a broad array of products and services analytics will absolutely be part of their packages."
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