Gartner: CRM will be at the heart of most digital initiatives

25th Feb 2014

The drive for enhanced customer experience is putting CRM technologies “at the heart of digital initiatives” in most organisations, according to a report from global research specialists, Gartner.

In a two-pronged statement supplementing the new research document, ‘Market Trends: CRM Digital Initiatives Focus on Sales, Marketing, Support and E-Commerce’, Gartner states that not only are businesses becoming increasingly reliant on CRM tools to build better multi-channel customer interactions, but they are also focusing more attention on the Internet of Things as a component for fully realising the CRM dream.

"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," says Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner.

"Hot areas for CRM investment include mobility, social media and technologies, web analytics and ecommerce."    

The research forecasts that CRM market growth is likely to stay moderate through 2014, following recent years of increased investment. CRM software revenue is expected to reach $23.9bn, with cloud-based, SaaS technologies accounting for roughly 49% of this revenue, an expected increase from 40% of CRM deployments in 2013.  

"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," says Ed Thompson, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “All these industries are also increasing investment in emerging economies, further driving spend."

With e-commerce still the key driver for customer experience and CRM investment, data analytics tools are becoming a vital addition to the marketing department’s toolkit.

However, within this mix Gartner believes the Internet of Things (IoT) - where sensors connecting everything to the internet create new services - will help transform the level of understanding marketers will be able to derive from data analytics.

Described as the fifth element in the “nexus of forces for CRM”, Gartner sees IoT joining social, mobile, Big Data and Cloud Computing as a future driver in the implementation of CRM technologies:   

“As cars, buildings, bodies and chairs are connected to the internet and as the price of sensors and communications drops down toward $1, the automotive, construction, healthcare and hospitality industries, among many others, will be transformed,” the report states.

“At the forefront of this shift will be sales, marketing and customer service departments in promoting, selling and supporting the new services.”

Joanne Correia added, "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.”

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