William Band By William Band

To make the savvy investment decisions, BP&A professionals need to know which CRM applications have the strongest track record for delivering results. I just surveyed 286 companies to understand their opinion of 19 categories solutions that comprise the Extended CRM Application Ecosystem.

Here’s a sneak peek of my findings:

  • Sales, order management, and service are the keys to your revenue engine. The business and IT executives that we surveyed feel that “core” business processes like selling, order taking, and customer service are the most critical to their success. For, example over half report that order management, customer service & support, and contract center infrastructure applications are critical solutions. Forty-eight percent say that salesforce automation is a critical app, and 42% say this is the case for eCommerce solutions.
  • Customer data management and intelligence are keystones for success. The Holy Grail for CRM professionals has long been to achieve a “360-degree” view of customers. Consequently, 44% of the companies I surveyed report that customer business intelligence and customer data management are critical solutions for their businesses.

  • Marketing solutions are viewed as moderately important. Despite the importance placed on growing sales and orders for the companies we survey, only about one-third felt that enterprise marketing management solutions were critical for success. This was true for both B2C and B2C companies.

  • Social computing solutions are not yet viewed as critical. The rapid adoption by consumers of social and Web 2.0 technologies has upended traditional thinking about how to define and to “manage” relationships with customers. However a present, the solutions associated with Social Computing are not yet viewed as critical to success compared to other “core” solutions. A low percentage of respondents evaluate market feedback management, customer forums, and customer communities as critical for success (18%, 10%, and 6%, respectively). Interest in social computing solutions is strong, however. For example, 16% are piloting customer communities, and 26% have interest in learning more and trying out these types of solutions. Mainstream companies are watching early-adopters for evidence of success.

This is not the full story, of course. We also asked the respondents about their opinion of the market reputation of each solution category, and how difficult they are to implement. Taking into account all three factors: criticality, and reputation, implementation risk — you can pick the winning technologies and avoid chancy bets.

To find out more about the findings from the research, check out my teleconference this week. And, read my TechRadar report about the Extended CRM Ecosystem for a detailed rundown on all 19 technologies that we have evaluated.