• August 29, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Forrester Waves to Midmarket CRM

While the number of competing CRM software vendors has gone down, some things seem to have remained the same: Oracle’s Siebel CRM Professional Edition remains the most compelling choice for midmarket companies, at least as far as Forrester Research is concerned. The firm rated the Oracle-owned suite as the best combination of current capability and future direction in its recent “Forrester Wave: Midmarket CRM Suites, Q3 ’08.” But Siebel is far from the only choice.

The Oracle offering faces a number of challengers to its position -- including its corporate sibling -- and many of these challengers lay claim to a larger share of the market. Other solutions ranked as Leaders include:

  • Oracle CRM On Demand;
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM;
  • RightNow CRM; and
  • Salesforce.com.

Of these, Microsoft and Salesforce.com have the greatest market share, with Salesforce.com nearly doubling Siebel’s rating in that regard.

No fewer than nine choices crowd the next band of contention, which Forrester calls the Strong Performers. These are:

  • Entellium’s eSalesforce;
  • Maximizer CRM;
  • NetSuite;
  • Onyx CRM;
  • Pivotal CRM;
  • SageCRM;
  • Sage SalesLogix;
  • Selligent X@; and
  • Sugar Enterprise.

Clinging tenaciously to its long-standing position serving the midmarket is FrontRange GoldMine Enterprise Edition, the sole product ranked as a Contender. It also has the distinction of having the strongest market presence in Forrester’s assessment, just edging out Maximizer.

Notably absent from this Wave is SAP. According to the report, the vendor did not provide data on its midmarket solution in time for the evaluation. SAP does, however, offer a product for midmarket customers -- SAP Business All-in-One -- and has an on-demand offering, Business ByDesign, that's been in the works (and has been delayed) for some time.

Consider the multiple angles for vendors to sell CRM solutions into the midmarket, and there’s great potential for confusion. Three separate types of vendor serve the CRM software landscape between small businesses and big enterprises:

  • Enterprise CRM suites, intended for customers with revenues of $1 billion a year or more and/or 1,000 employees or more;
  • Midmarket CRM suites, targeted at firms smaller than large enterprises but bigger than small businesses; and
  • CRM specialty tools, often sourced from multiple vendors and integrated by the customer, with or without outside help.

Each type of vendor brings certain strengths and weaknesses that potential customers must carefully consider. “As technology improvements emerge due to innovations in Web technologies, service[s]-oriented architecture (SOA), and social networking apps, the solution landscape for CRM applications continues to evolve and change -- making CRM application selection as much fun as a week-long hangover,” writes Pete Marston, CRM analyst for Forrester research and report author. 

As such, this Forrester Wave should not be the final arbiter of any decision as important as which CRM system to implement. “This evaluation of the midmarket CRM suites landscape is intended to be a starting point only,” the report states. “Readers are encouraged to view detailed product evaluations and adapt the criteria weightings to fit their individual needs.”

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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