CRM: The Suite Spot

Over the next two years companies will shift away from smaller tactical CRM implementations to larger suite implementations, market research firm Meta Group claims in a recently released study. The firm's latest METAspectrum evaluation for the CRM application suite market states that continuing economic pressure has forced companies to concentrate on tactical CRM, which means implementing smaller chunks of CRM, and making incremental investments with accelerated return on investment. However, the report also asserts that "within the next couple of years CRM will reemerge as a nondiscretionary initiative, focused on business transformation and revenue attainment." During that time, CRM application suites will evolve to provide 90 percent of the required ecosystem capabilities. CRM suites typically comprise a variety of applications for managing customer-related information and data; automating front-office business processes across sales, marketing, and service; optimizing customer transactions and interactions; and understanding customer behavior patterns. Meta Group's evaluation focused on 10 enterprise CRM vendors: Amdocs, Chordiant, E.piphany, Kana, Onyx, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Pivotal, SAP, and Siebel. The study claims that CRM vendors will have to excel equally in a variety of areas including reputation, vision, strategy, and industry focus, along with having superior technology, products, financials, pricing, and execution. "CRM application suites provide a valid and compelling means of jump-starting a broad range of CRM technology initiatives," Steve Bonadio, senior program director with Meta Group's Enterprise application Strategies said in statement. "Organizations must rationalize the expanding importance of CRM suites within their CRM portfolios and to the extended enterprise at large, while gaining a clear understanding of market dynamics, economic impact, and the tumultuous vendor landscape."
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