News in Brief

In a recent Aberdeen Group survey of small and midsize companies, nearly 42 percent of the respondents indicated that CRM is a valuable tool for their customers, 29 percent thought CRM is valuable but difficult to sell and install, and 16 percent said that CRM is something they need to carry just to be competitive. "It's clear to me that the midmarket has always been buying, but they buy a little differently, which means vendors have to sell differently," says Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director of Aberdeen's CRM practice. "They are looking for more training, complete product sets, and vendors who can hit time and delivery objectives. These smaller customers do not have the luxury of extra resources to cover a shortfall." Business with integrated sales, marketing, and customer service operations saw a 28 percent increase in customer satisfaction through CRM initiatives, according to market intelligence and advisory firm IDC. Companies with non-integrated operations saw a 22 percent increase in customer satisfaction through their CRM programs. In addition, IDC says, integrated businesses saw cross-selling and upselling revenue increase from 13 percent to 16 percent of sales revenue.
IDC also says the pure-play analytics market enjoyed robust growth of 15.4 percent in 2002, and projects that the market will grow to $417.9 million by the end of 2007. The number of Web self-service transactions has grown 116.8 percent from 2002, and these transactions now account for three quarters of all support transactions, according to a recent study by the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA). The SSPA warns that although self-service is up, the number of support cases resolved on first contact is on the decline, which indicates a continued need for skilled, live agents in the call center. Seventy-one percent of companies surveyed increased spending on applications that improve interactions with customers, suppliers, and service providers during 2003, compared to 2002, according to a Yankee Group study. Spending on edge-of-the-enterprise technology rose more than 75 percent in 2003, the firm says. By 2009 CRM investment in the Asia Pacific region is expected to reach $408 million, an 8 percent growth rate, according to research from Frost & Sullivan. Japan will continue to see most of the investments in CRM software, but Korea and China will also make more investments in CRM over the period. The firm also posits that like in other regions, analytics capabilities will be key drivers of CRM investment.
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