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Gartner: CRM to be nucleus of digital initiatives

imagesCRMGartner’s latest report has indicated that organisations are leveraging CRM technologies as a major part of their digital initiatives to enhance the customer experience. It said that demand for modern technology customer relationships is driving refreshed or expanded integration and usage of all areas of CRM software. The outlook continues to be positive for CRM as buyers focus on technologies that enable more-targeted customer interactions in multichannel environments.

 “CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years. This is one technology area that will definitely get funding as digital business is crucial to remaining competitive,” said Joanne Correia, Research Vice President, Gartner. “Hot areas for CRM investment include mobility, social media and technologies, web analytics and e-commerce.”

Gartner expects CRM market growth to stay moderate in 2014, following three strong years of investment. CRM software revenue is forecast to reach $23.9 million in this year, with cloud revenue accounting for 49 percent. SaaS- or cloud-based CRM deployments currently represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, and look set to reach 50 percent during 2015.

 “Unsurprisingly, high-tech, banking, insurance, securities, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, IT manufacturing and IT services vertical industries will continue to be the largest spenders on CRM as they have the widest use of different types of CRM applications and technologies,” said Ed Thompson, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner. “All these industries are also increasing investment in emerging economies, further driving spend.”

Customer support and service (CSS) has IT leaders, vice presidents and directors of customer service involved in customer support/relationship initiatives and are looking at the targeted use of Big Data analytics, peer-to-peer communities and the evolving customer engagement centre (CEC), which is the next generation of the customer service contact centre, for critical processes and technologies. A central focus of the CSS organisation is on how to engineer consistent, differentiated, cross-channel customer experiences, while supporting the need for increased use of customer self-service.

E-commerce is top of mind for CEOs, chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior executives as they seek the ability to improve overall customer experience, profitability and sales. At the same time, marketing technology is a hot area for IT investment, but solution decisions are increasingly being driven by CMOs and the marketing organisation, with little to no IT involvement. CIOs will need to work more closely with CMOs and marketing leaders to adapt to the increasing technology demands emanating across the marketing organisation. Mounting pressure on CMOs to drive growth, improve accountability and reduce costs is pushing marketing organisations to make significant marketing technology investments across a broad set of applications and functionality.

The main drivers behind the hot topics in CRM — cloud, social, mobile and big data — are being joined by a fifth driver: the Internet of Things, where sensors connecting things to the Internet create new services previously not thought of.

“These drivers are spurring a critical need for more traditional operational CRM as CRM continues to top software investment priorities. This further validates businesses’ focus on enhancing customer experience and consistent investment in CRM software, especially in CSS, marketing and sales software,” said Correia.

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