Three Key CRM Trends
Reservoir Partners has released three research reports on key trends affecting CRM strategies and technologies. The reports reveal Reservoir Partners' findings on the impact of Web services, vendor consolidation, and self-service technologies. The findings are based on in-depth interviews, surveys, case studies, and analysis. Each report also provides advice and recommendations.
The first report, "Beyond the Hype: The Impact of Web Services on CRM," discusses why CRM is likely to be a driver in Web-services adoption. The report analyzes the underlying technologies and business issues, describes Web-services technologies, and examines the market for integration technology. According to Chris Selland, Reservoir Partners' founder and managing director, everybody that is a major player has a least some level of XML. The question is how deep it goes: Is it simply an interface or is it built into the fabric of the product? Building it in takes re-architecting the product, so it could take a couple of years before most vendors are truly Web-services compliant, he says.
The second report, "CRM Consolidation--Enterprise Software RIP?" scrutinizes the causes of the enterprise software market consolidation and report predicts who the long-term CRM market leaders will be. The report reveals the underlying factors driving CRM market consolidation. The findings are based largely on Reservoir Partners' CRM Survivability Index, which predicts leading providers' ability to survive in a consolidating market. CRM Survivability Index comprises five weighted criteria: financial strength, breadth of functionality, integration ability, vision, and management team.
Selland sees a two-tier market unfolding, made up of the key enterprise vendors and mid-market players that leverage channel partners. "The channel reemerging in the SMB market as critical," he says. "Mid-market companies trying to sell direct against enterprise are just outgunned." The report predicts that there might be a third tier for hosted CRM applications. Selland expects to update the report in six months.
"Next-Generation Self-Service," the third report, examines the drivers of self-service adoption in customer support operations and evaluates self-service technologies. The report also provides support models and ROI benchmarks designed to help companies evaluate the value of self-service for their organization, and how and when it fits their support models.
The customer defines self-service, Selland says, so self-service can mean a lot of different things, from billing solutions to search capability to IVRs. "Before you go out and look for technology, you must decide what you specifically want to accomplish with self-service," Selland advises. "You must understand why [you would use a specific type of self-service], then the technology decisions are easier to make."
Reservoir Partners is currently researching such topics as hosted CRM, marketing technology, and outbound marketing services, the results of which will be presented in upcoming reports.