During the past five years, the customer service capabilities of CRM suite solutions have matured as vendors have focused on solidifying the foundational building blocks of customer support capabilities. Vendors have folded new technologies such as social computing, business process management, decisioning, business intelligence, and mobility into their solutions to allow organizations to offer more-personalized customer service experiences. This maturation makes it, in a way, increasingly challenging to be confident of your technology choice. In The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suite Customer Service Solutions, Q3 2012, we pinpoint the strengths of 18 leading vendors. Here are some of our key findings:

  • Oracle Siebel CRM, salesforce.com, SAP CRM, and Microsoft battle for the lead. Although Oracle Seibel CRM and SAP CRM are better suited for large customer service deployments that demand high levels of customization and integration and salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM offer faster deployment times with a greater ease of use, you have to dig deep to find differences in their core customer service capabilities.
  • Pega CRM and Sword Ciboodle support process guidance for the front office. Not all enterprises have simple, interaction-centric customer service requirements. There is a set of enterprises where agents must follow complex yet reproducible processes that cut across functional silos and need to access data from both front- and back-office applications to answer customer requests. Sword Ciboodle has pushed into the CRM market with its focus on the intersection of business process modeling, customer service, and customer interaction management. Pegasystems offers robust BPM capabilities to support multichannel customer-facing processes with a clear focus on customer service.
  • Oracle has expanded its portfolio of customer service solutions. Oracle benefits, and at the same time suffers from, a portfolio of strong and competing CRM customer service solutions. Although Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) CRM and Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM are losing ground in the market (they are targeted primarily to their respective suite user bases), Oracle Siebel CRM and Oracle CRM On Demand remain leaders in the overall CRM market. With its acquisition of RightNow Technologies, Oracle has now added another customer service leader to its stable.
  • NetSuite, Oracle PeopleSoft CRM, Oracle EBS CRM, and SAP offer ERP integration. The integration of front-office CRM and back-office enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems provides organizations with a unified approach to managing customer interactions across multiple channels, departments, lines of business, and geographies. More importantly, it makes the preservation of data quality easier.
  • Sage, SugarCRM, and FrontRange Solutions offer basic customer service capabilities. Sage SalesLogix, Sage CRM, SugarCRM, and FrontRange offer a breadth, although not depth, of customer service capabilities at a lower price point than many of the market leaders that focus primarily on the needs of large enterprises. SugarCRM, with its commercial open source development approach, is increasingly catching the interest of larger organizations in addition to its traditional base of smaller companies and individuals.