The year ahead appears strong for CRM solutions, in categories from marketing and sales to customer service applications.
to the latest Forrester Forrsights Software Survey of 556 North
American and European enterprises, 50 percent have a CRM solution in
place and plan to upgrade it in the future. Another 23 percent plan to
deploy a CRM solution this year or beyond.
Among small and
midsized businesses (SMBs), 41 percent of companies reported having
deployed a CRM system, and another 25 percent plan to do so in the next
year or later.
"The [software-as-a-service (SaaS)] solutions that
have come on strong in the last four or five years have definitely
encouraged late adopters, because it's a lot easier to consume, to use,
and to deploy," explains Bill Band, vice president and principal analyst
at Forrester Research.
In the Asia-Pacific region alone, SMBs
will invest an estimated $16.5 billion in cloud computing technologies
in 2012 as part of their growth and innovation strategies, according to
research from AMI-Partners.
The "increasing maturity of cloud
offerings, as well as rising customer demand for mobile business
scenarios supported by increasing tablet and smartphone penetration,
will continue to drive demand and investment for SaaS and
infrastructure-as-a-service solutions," said Stefan Haas, consulting
director for Asia-Pacific at AMI-Partners, in the research findings.
Though SaaS offerings are a strong driver of CRM
adoption, the multichannel touch points that companies now rely on to
reach their customers are also fueling adoption.
thinking about the need to adopt e-business and e-commerce and Web sites
and social technologies and mobile, all of which broadly fall into the
CRM domain," Band says. "The core issue is [that] it's hard to keep
customers, so you need to be more efficient. SaaS is driving [adoption],
but I also think it's an interest in this broader set of technologies."
the forecast of CRM growth, an organizational barrier to adoption
remains: aligning business strategy and processes to foster a true
customer-facing strategy. In "Navigate the Future of CRM," a Forrester
Research report authored by Band, some of the hindrances companies
reported facing when implementing a CRM strategy included inadequate
deployment methodologies (40 percent); poorly defined business
requirements (25 percent); failure to achieve organizational alignment
of objectives (18 percent); and inadequate management of program costs
Band says any time a new technology or process is
introduced to an organization, a training and support program must also
be in place to sustain the momentum that change brings. "A common
pitfall is not planning for an ongoing sustaining of the effort."
to the Forrester report, the discrepancy between IT objectives and
business strategies can hinder a CRM strategy from moving forward and
reaching its full potential.
"It's not always obvious for people
who will be involved [in a new strategy] what's in it for them unless
you really make it clear what the value is, find something to rally
around, and provide a reason why change has to happen in the first
place," Band says.