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January 06, 2011

Trends Emerge for CRM Solutions in 2011

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


The last few years of the recession have proven that if a business can survive the downturn, slower times can allow for a company to rebuild its competitive infrastructure. This is especially true for companies focused on leveraging their CRM solutions. This focus on leveraging key customer data has allowed the technology sector to do quite well in the last six months, according to this CRM Buyer report


CRM solutions providers such as Microsoft, Oracle (News - Alert), Salesforce.com, RightNow and NetSuite were all gaining in the second half of the year.Interestingly, the report also highlighted that while these gains were in place, the drivers for software acquisition remain the same as they have always been: to improve processes, save money or make money. Companies that can produce products to do one or more of these things well will prosper in the marketplace as customers are seeking to implement a structure that provides a competitive advantage. 

There are definitely a few trends that could easily emerge in 2011 in the CRM solutions space. For one thing, companies are searching for CRM systems as new business processes and better economics prove to be significant business cases for implementation. Conventional vendors such as Oracle and SAP will still play a role, yet this market will provide considerable opportunity for players such as NetSuite (News - Alert), RightNow, Salesforce.com and others. The CRM solutions space will also enjoy growth in cloud computing. 

Customers have more choices than ever before and small companies can finally compete on the same level as their large competitors with access to high functionality in the cloud. The economic benefits of running software in the cloud to support CRM initiatives are significant and nearly every front- and back-office vendor has at least one or two cloud offerings. 

Customer analytics is another hot area to watch. While this solution set has been in the background for a number of years, there are new demands as companies try to make sense of the data brought in daily by social applications. Analytics solutions are readily available and will extend the value of CRM solutions in the marketplace. Collaboration and integration are also on the move in the CRM space.

 This is evident in the adoption rate of Salesforce.com’s (News - Alert) Chatter and collaboration continues to be key to advancing in the market. Integration will be a focus as no one vendor can promise – and deliver on – the world. Innovative companies will look for deep integration that allows them to gain as much value as possible from their CRM solutions. 


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny




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