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Investment in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions continues apace and, despite the market already well and truly mature, some enterprises are now into their third or fourth deployments as the market moves into a new phase.

In its latest evaluation of CRM solutions, Ovum says organisations that have made “great strides in creating a seamless customer experience” are now looking further ahead to what it refers to as the “customer-adaptive enterprise (CAE).”

“Such an organisation has highly acute peripheral vision and can sense and respond rapidly to changes in customer demand and adapt at the right frequency to remain persistently relevant to its customers,” Jeremy Cox, Ovum principal analyst of Software Enterprise Solutions said.

“Continuous, timely, and relevant innovation is the hallmark of such an organisation.

“Any transformational CRM vision, whether focused on the customer experience or CAE, requires a portfolio of applications that work seamlessly together to enable anyone in contact with the customer to deliver context-aware, relevant information.”

Ovum identifies Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Siebel CRM, Salesforce.com, and SAP CRM as the market leaders, and Cox says these solutions are comprehensive, suitable for a broad range of large enterprise requirements, and are widely recognised and successful in the CRM market.

According to Ovum, two of the solutions in the leader category – Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com – are “eminently suitable for the mid-market”. Ovum also observes that Oracle Siebel CRM features a deep industry sector-specific expertise (e.g. pharmaceutical organisations where specific sales processes are supported, such as e-detailing.

The market challengers were identified by Ovum as NetSuite CRM+, Oracle CRM On Demand, Sage CRM, SAP Business All-in-One, Sugar Enterprise, and Swiftpage Saleslogix. “These solutions cover the breadth of features across three CRM disciplines, either on their own or through another solution from the same vendor. Oracle CRM On Demand, along with Sugar Enterprise, focus on large enterprises, whereas the other challengers are focused on the mid-market, where they are more likely to compete with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com solutions,” Cox says.

“Given the maturity of the CRM software market, it is perhaps not surprising that we see only leaders and those in hot pursuit with broadly similar capabilities, but which either are more suited to narrower segments of the market by either size or industry, or are relative newcomers, as could be said for Sugar Enterprise.

“The relative importance of CRM software functionality diminishes as the customer vision widens to the customer experience or beyond to a customer-adaptive enterprise. However, the more holistic the customer vision, the greater the importance of the vendor’s portfolio of pre-integrated offerings or its ecosystem of ISVs and implementation partners to do the heavy lifting required for more enterprise-wide and complex projects,” Cox concludes.

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Peter Dinham

 

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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