In my last post, I highlighted the top five ways that CRM suites are evolving today. CRM suites today (1) support different business models and organizational sizes; (2) operationalize intelligence to impact outcomes; (3) offer vertical editions; (4) expose platform services; and (5) invest in ecosystems of value (AKA, application exchanges). Read more about this point of view here.

We identified the 11 most significant ones — Aptean, bpm’online, CRMNEXT, Infor, Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle, Pegasystems, Salesforce, SAP, and SugarCRM — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. You can see the results of the Forrester Wave™ here.

What we saw is that CRM suites fall into two categories:

  1. Vendors such as Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP have best-of-breed, discrete applications suitable for enterprise deployments. These vendors have composed their CRM suites via acquisition, and much of their energy today is dedicated to unifying these acquisitions.
  2. Vendors such as bpm’online, Microsoft, NetSuite, and SugarCRM offer CRM applications on a singular, unified platform. These vendors typically have streamlined capabilities more suitable for midsize organizations, yet many of them are pushing into the enterprise. A majority of their customers use more than one application of the CRM suite and oftentimes deploy the entire application suite.

In all cases, what is top of mind for vendors is how their CRM is positioned to support end-to-end business transformation that crosses the front, middle, and back office. Some vendors offer full front- and back-office business suites that include CRM; others offer industry editions; and yet others offer packaged adapters and integration frameworks to back-office applications.