The Next Big Winner?
A close relative of CRM could emerge as the technology industry's sleeper.If bookmakers gave odds on what would be the next big thing in the technology market, one of the big favorites would have to be customer relationship management (CRM). Reasons: By one estimation, the market reached $6.4 billion last year and is growing at a 50 percent-plus compounded annual rate even in the current economic doldrums. And while most IT companies are floundering and some of the smaller CRM players such as E.pipany seem a little shaky of late, leading CRM vendors such as Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft registered strong second quarters. But dont overlook CRMs first cousin in the technology stakes, partner relationship management (PRM). Granted, by comparison the PRM businessMeta Group projects the market will hit $1 billion by 2002, while International Data Corp. only goes as high as $500 million by 2003is dwarfed by CRM. Nonetheless, there are at least three good reasons to look beyond the favorites and check out this long shot.
1) Virtually every company that sells indirectly is a candidate to use PRM software, which enables you to manage ties and work with partners, share leads, and make collaborative sales forecasts. To date, the technology has been used mainly by big technology concerns such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel, but now other industries such as manufacturing and insurance are climbing aboard the PRM trolley.