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The CRM software market’s search for business intelligence.

by Michael Maoz  |  June 15, 2010  |  5 Comments

What a year! Software companies are on a tear of buying, and the money is flowing like Cristal at Cielo, NYC. Pegasystem bought Chordiant, Attensity grabs Biz360, NICE buys eglue, Consona takes Compiere, Pitney Bowes announces it wants Portrait Software, Twitter moves into analytics buying Smallthought, Adenyo absorbs mobile marketing intelligence software from KinetX, and now IBM adds Coremetrics to its quiver aside SPSS. But what does it mean?

In many of these cases, what I think is happening is that vendors are seeing that just owning the customer data, and pushing it around on the screen, is a failed approach for most of their customers and prospects. What businesses are looking for in the effort to improve customer processes is more intelligence, especially intelligence in understanding the customer’s intent.

Understanding the customer’s intent and matching that with the business intentions that the business / government or whatever has for the customer is the heart of business success. It is what creates trust and loyalty. Now take a look at some of these acquisitions: eglue does process optimization. Portrait does marketing and data analytics and real time advice, Chordiant has similar capabilities. Coremetrics optimizes marketing plans  and offers. This is the clear trend in CRM software.

Most of the current generation of CRM software for sales and customer service is primitive and should probably have been replaced years ago, but most of us have been augmenting it with best-of-breed bolt-ons. Maybe now we will see the chance for deeper integrations. But a truly intelligent customer service system from one code base? No. That is another four years away. Until then enjoy better stitching together of the modules needed to create intelligent customer conversations.

Do you see it otherwise?

Category: crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  sales-force-automation  sfa  social-crm  twitter  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on The CRM software market’s search for business intelligence.


  1. Nicole Miller says:

    Some of them are primitive, yes. But there are still quite a few viable choices out there for a good CRM system.

    Some great CRM options are from:

    http://www.Rightnow.Com — great online and on-premise solutions. Has been in the market for sometime.

    http://www.SuradoCRM.com — you can start with online and easily migrate to on-premise. Also has a great offline CRM product. One of the early CRM market introductions.

    http://www.SugarCRM.com — open source… only attempt this option if you are into programming.

    http://www.NetSuite.com — offers both CRM and ERP integration. May not be suitable for small business since implementation is not exactly easy. But may be a great tool for larger organizations.

    There are some great articles or white papers for small businesses looking to adopt CRM applications… one that come to mind is — Got CRM? Small Business Guide for Small Business.

    Note: CRM is not just software implementation. It requires a mindset change to put the customer at the center of the operations — absolutely needs a champion and buy in from all employees.

    -Nicole

  2. Dhruv says:

    How about a look at Spyder CRM that works from one code base?…

  3. I agree that businesses are now looking for more intelligence in understanding customers and I also feel that this is crucial for maximising ROI in a highly competitive and tough economic environment.

    Here at http://www.workbooks.com, we recently carried out research into the views of resellers on the use of CRM systems, and the survey revealed that 97 per cent of the marketing director respondents felt that having transactional details such as invoices and credit information easily accessible in the CRM system would allow for more targeted and effective campaigns

    It is not enough for organisations to hold different types of customer data in silos across their systems. Full customer transaction history details are key to ensuring CRM systems provide as much insight into customer attitudes as possible, yet many companies are unable to capture this data within their existing system as their accounting information is held in separate accounts systems unrelated to the CRM. As a result, they are unable to manage their sales and marketing operations as effectively as they would wish, and providing a solution to problems like this is perhaps what these acquisitions are about.

  4. CRM software is often confused with marketing programs, several enterprises spend in CRM tools without deep customer analysis (segmentation, demographic clusters), and nowadays indipendent firms provide research about CRM applications & project failures. CRM sw should be studied accurately and discussed – seriously – within a marketing context. The next generation of customer relationship management software should evolve, and CRM metrics too: in my opinion, CRM is still a business for sw vendor and consultants, and a trouble or a miyh for enterprises.

  5. Michael Maoz says:

    A mistake organizations make is to think narrowly of what you call “CRM data” as sales, profitability, short-term profit considerations versus melding that with insight on customer satisfaction, customer influence, and potential change in total lifetime customer value.



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