The latest report from Gartner reveals that worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to US$39.5 billion in 2017, overtaking DBMS revenue, which reached US$36.8 billion in the same year.
"In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16%," said Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner.
Poulter says that the strong growth rate of CRM software revenue is driven in particular by the segments of lead management, voice of the customer and field service management, each of which is achieving more than 20% growth.
And, Gartner says the major vendors offering CRM suites covering sales, commerce and service are showing stronger than average growth and are successful at cross-selling additional modules to existing customers.
"Organisations are keen to avoid silos of information and to obtain a 360 degree view of the customer, said Poulter.
"The 360 degree view allows better application of artificial intelligence to make the users of the CRM system more effective."
Gartner also says that the cost of General Data Protection Regulation compliance is expected to increase budgets for information security, CRM and customer experience.
According to Gartner, CRM systems typically contain vast amounts of (sensitive) personal data and are kept for a considerable amount of time, making them a more likely source of noncompliance with the GDPR than other applications.
The research firms says the cost of GDPR compliance is expected to increase the existing budget for information security, CRM and CX in the next three years and areas for technology investment include marketing technology, data loss prevention, security information and event management, and security consulting, especially in Western Europe.
"It is critical that organisations are compliant with GDPR as soon as possible, or at the very latest by 25 May, because when customers don't trust an organisation's customer data protection, they put their own safeguards in place, like providing false data or closing accounts," Bart Willemsen, research director at Gartner, warned.
Willemsen says this reduces an organisation's chances of reaching the right customers with the right offers at the right time.
"Poor CRM will lead to a privacy violation and a GDPR sanction. Application leaders need to enhance control over personal data usage throughout the data life cycle and safeguard processed personal data so that it is not used beyond the context of pre-defined and documented use cases.”