CRM is one of the largest and fastest-growing application software categories — forecasted at an $80 billion market size in 2023 according to Forrester data. SaaS sprawl can be an ugly result of such market penetration success.

In the last decade, CRM vendors have done the industry a disservice by decomposing CRM’s application footprint and selling discrete point solutions into departments (for example, selling SFA into sales organizations or customer service applications into contact centers). This means that, today, enterprises have dozens of islands — or more — of disconnected CRM applications with overlapping capabilities. They struggle to create a single view of their customers, to unify processes and to get insights from their CRM that helps drive decision-making.

Organizations are pressured to reduce tech debt in recessionary economic climates. This exercise also improves the hygiene of CRM operations by standardizing on strategic vendor suites. It helps reduce the headcount needed to manage CRMs and unifies cross-departmental processes as well as objectives and key business results (OKRs).

How To Reduce Tech Debt In CRM Operations

Forrester has developed a framework to address opportunities to reduce tech debt with five guiding principles:

1) Build the right business case driven by an “outside-in” approach. This means understanding what your customers expect from interacting or transacting with your company at every stage of their journey. This gets the entire enterprise aligned to key objectives and results.

2) Put value first. Understand the available technology capabilities and emerging features of CRM software in the market with a value-based approach.

3) Understand the levels of capabilities within CRM product offerings to reduce redundancy.

4) Assess the state of your CRM operations to identify capability gaps and key areas of opportunities for best results.

5) Conduct a broader audit to document remediation and integration dependency projects before rationalizing or moving to a formal RFP technology selection process.

Read Reduce Technical Debt By Understanding CRM Capabilities Before RFP for deeper guidance. And please let me know your feedback — and perhaps different approaches. Connect with me via inquiry or briefings at Forrester.