Diverse Options Are Still Available in SFA

Though the CRM and ERP markets have seen vendor consolidation in the past two years with the larger consolidated companies trying to offer comprehensive solutions, buyers still see diverse options for improving their selling processes, according to "Predicts 2007: Diversity Persists in the CRM SFA Market," a new report from Gartner. "Best-of-breed vendors will benefit from increased revenue opportunities in the sales force automation market," says coauthor Robert DeSisto, who predicts a 13.1 percent compound annual growth rate through 2010. "By 2009, more than 50 percent of new SFA deployments will be based on software as a service delivery models." Small and large organizations alike are trending toward SaaS models, because these models are addressing varied and complex requirements of different buyers, including incentive compensation and sales configuration. DeSisto recommends that companies involve the IT organization in the application selection in order to obtain strong service level agreements in vendor contracts. But even with such agreements, buyers should expect that the more complex their needs the longer the implementation will take. Some implementations have taken as little as a month, but those were for simple systems, according to DeSisto. Report coauthor William Clark adds that best-of-breed SFA mobile extensions will grow at twice the rate of those offered by Oracle and SAP, with wireless demand remaining high during the next three to five years. Many of the early adopters will be upgrading, sometimes to broaden or deepen their capabilities. Multichannel gateway vendors grew 30 to 40 percent between 2004 and 2006, according to Gartner, which predicts that this strong growth will continue at least through 2009. The popularity of these systems is clear, according to Gartner. Enterprises with successful multichannel access gateway implementations will be able to innovate mobile sales processes, platforms and solutions, as well as enable IT departments to implement mobile solutions more quickly through prepackaged devices, network support and configurable user interfaces. Six percent of these vendors also offer mobile sales force automation in the software as a service model. Gartner expects this to grow with the broader adoption of software as a service across other applications. Some successful implementations have used a combination of on-demand applications to develop a complete sales automation solution, DeSisto adds, recommending that potential buyers "reassess software portfolios and technologies of application suite vendors, as well as the costs and benefits of pursuing best-of-breed solutions to realize greater sales effectiveness." Related articles The Cost of Live-ing
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