As CRM Grows, Are CRM Users Grumbling?

Effective CRM has the potential to drive increased sales, cut down costs, and increase employee productivity. But if end users respond unfavorably to a CRM system, is it of any use? A recent survey conducted by Knoa, a provider of software measuring end-user experience and performance management, suggests that many enterprises have a difficult time getting employees to interact with CRM systems. On the flipside, a recent study from research firm Research and Markets demonstrates that, despite a cloudy economic horizon, the CRM market appears in sunny shape. The assessment reveals that the advent of hosted CRM has yielded greater adoption and has led to increased use among small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

The Research and Markets report, “CRM Market Assessment 2008,” with research from industry-analysis company Key Note, states, “The CRM industry, even in the face of an economic decline, is growing. Indeed, many of the commentators Key Note spoke to for this report suggested that the economic decline would fuel the continued growth of the CRM industry, as CRM can be the tool used to make cost savings and increase productivity.” The report continues, “Moreover, with hosted solutions ready to tap into this need, the short-term future for this sector especially looks very promising.”

Additionally, the report points to Web 2.0 as giving rise to a new generation of Internet users, and hence, an alternate path for CRM software. The report maintains that “CRM systems had already developed Web-based accessibility, enabling sales and other personnel access to the system via a Web browser, so it has been a small step for vendors to make the entire system available to the whole organization this way but by hosting it themselves.” The CRM assessment concludes by stating that the CRM market is growing at a healthy clip and that the short-term future, in particular for SMBs, appears promising.

The Knoa survey, on the other hand, criticizes the CRM industry to a degree -- mainly in the area of end-user experience. According to the results of the survey, which was conducted among information technology executives and business stakeholders at Global 1000 companies, 65 percent of respondents stated that end users in their organizations complain about the usability or response time of their CRM systems. Additionally, 60 percent respond that they think a lack of adoption leads to inaccurate or unrealistic information within CRM. Yet, 68 percent of respondents who have had CRM in place between two to five years said that it was running smoothly.

The survey, however, did make the point that few companies -- only 16 percent -- actually measure the end-user experience at all. And while Knoa, as a vendor selling software addressing the end-user experience, clearly has a vested interest in this space, the report suggests that a figure that low may indicate an area ripe for change. If true, that change may be a critical step toward the succesful growth indicated by the Research and Markets report, in order to deploy CRM to the fullest.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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