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The popularity of Internet protocol (IP) call centers will jump significantly in the next few years, according to research firm Datamonitor. The migration to IP in most large organizations is likely to happen in two stages: first the corporate offices, then the call center, once the technology is tested and understood. Datamonitor predicts that the number of IP call centers in North America will grow from 1,593 in 2002 to 7,487 in 2007, a 36 percent growth rate. Growth in the EMEA region will be about 55 percent. Firms will again move away from smaller CRM implementations, returning to larger suite applications, according to recent Meta Group research. 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. According to Steve Bonadio, senior program director with Meta Group's enterprise application strategies, CRM application suites provide a "valid and compelling means of jump-starting a broad range of CRM technology initiatives. 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."
Sales organizations are seeing strong return on investment from partner relationship management (PRM) initiatives, according to a recent Gartner research study. When asked which types of IT deployments were paying off the most, 66 percent of respondents say they had received demonstrable ROI from PRM initiatives. The second-highest rating was incentive compensation management systems, with 55 percent of respondents claiming verifiable ROI from the deployment of the application. If customers are satisfied with their investment in Siebel Systems, then companies must be satisfied on the whole with their CRM solutions. That's what a recent study by Aberdeen Group tries to prove, since 95 percent of the participants, all Siebel customers, said they were satisfied with Siebel and would continue to use Siebel for their CRM. "We selected Siebel due to the fact that it has the longest installed base that we knew of, with 37 percent of users running Siebel for more than two years," says Denis Pombriant, vice president and managing director, CRM, at Aberdeen. "It was important that we surveyed customers who not only had the software installed, but had gone through the process of working out the kinks and could provide real feedback regarding ROI, which is something you need to track over a good amount of time."
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