A new report from research firm Datamonitor suggests firms should look no further than Oracle and SAP for their CRM needs. Microsoft et al might have something to say about that.
By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor
There are only two players who should be on IT decision makers shortlists when it comes to CRM according to a new report from research firm Datamonitor.
“Although the CRM applications market is very competitive and there are plenty of players who can challenge the current leaders in specific circumstances, only two vendors, Oracle and SAP, can be considered as market leaders,” says Vuk Trifkoviæ, technology analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report.
Datamonitor concludes that Oracle is a clear market leader with an impressively versatile and highly competitive CRM portfolio while SAP is also recommended as an automatic shortlist choice due to the excellence of its CRM modules and dominant impact on the market.
Having augmented its CRM product line through the acquisition of Siebel and PeopleSoft, Oracle now commands an incredible portfolio of CRM solutions, according to Datamonitor analysis. The firm argues that Oracle Siebel CRM sets quality standards in terms of technology and execution although Oracle E-Business Suite CRM and Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM may be more suitable, depending on the functional requirements, specific sector demands and the deployment environment required.
According to Datamonitor, if executed well, Oracle’s ambitious maintenance and development roadmap should ensure a market leadership position. “Oracle’s CRM offering will be improved both through incremental best-of-breed feature cross-fertilisation and its ambitious project of re-engineering completely new solution based on its Fusion platform,” says Trifkoviæ.
“Given the increasing competitiveness in the second tier of the market and the advances of the market leaders, it is safe to assume that market leadership will continue with Oracle, and probably SAP.”
There are possible alternatives in the form of Chordiant, Infor and Salesforce.com, but these have to remain competitive if they are to continue to be considered as market leadership challengers. Other possilble contenders include Consona, Microsoft and RightNow Technologies if they enhance their profile among end-users or deliver on the considerable promise of their forthcoming releases.
“CRM vendors, whose solutions can support a long-term strategic approach to customer relationship strategies based on nurturing relationships with the customer instead on focusing on the transaction itself, will be in a strong position,” notes Trifkoviæ.
"Microsoft Dynamics CRM had traditionally targeted the mid market where we have a great solution for mid market," comments Jason Nash, Microsoft Dynamics CRM product manager. "I would argue that although SAP and Oracle continue to make improvements in this space, their solutions are overkill for most companies in the mid market.
"Increasingly we are finding our Enterprise customers are interested in Microsoft CRM, our integration with the Office system, price point combined with additional features in the next release namely multi lingual support and multi currency support and increased scalability, make it attractive to the enterprise."
The rate of investment in CRM is not abating. Much to the contrary, the proportion of enterprises planning to invest in CRM is set to increase within the next two years. Datamonitor forecasts that the CRM application market will expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10 percent through to year end 2012.
The SME market will grow faster. Enterprises with fewer than 100 employees and those with 100 to 1,000 employees, are set to grow even faster, reaching a CAGR of 14 to 16 percent. Commoditisation of generic CRM functionality, improved integration with office productivity suites and innovative modes of deployment have all rendered CRM more attractive prospect to SMEs.
On-demand CRM is also fuelling SME take-up and enabling tactical ad-hoc installations. Datamonitor sees this as prompting vendors to offer a portfolio of options ranging from traditional on-site deployments, to hosted solutions and single- or multi-tenant subscription-based models and the increasingly seamless migration paths between those models.
The research firm also identifies a move toward embedding analytical insight directly into transactional applications, including CRM as organisations realise that business intelligence can be effective only if it is embedded directly into transactional applications.