Those who say history never repeats itself are wrong – particularly when it comes to enterprise software.
The Customer Relationship Management software sector is evolving in exactly the same way that every other software technology has over the past 25 years. Thats good news for customers, because more mature and battle-tested software is now available. But the rules have changed – new approaches to CRM implementation can save your company time and money.
Where is CRM now? It has matured beyond the explosive early stage of investment and development, and into consolidation and contraction.
Many of the CRM companies that bloomed during the Internet boom years -- including Broadvision, Blue Martini and E.piphany and are now pleased to report revenue of $10 million to $25 million in revenue per quarter. Thats a lot less than their heady late nineties stock valuation would have implied, but its pretty decent for today.
A few, such as NetPerceptions, have either faded away or been merged out of existence. More weaklings will follow. Even some of the industry leaders, such as SAP, IBM, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, IBM and Seibel Systems, have suffered from slowing sales over the past two years. The days of automatic IT implementations are over. Today most companies ask probing questions about what sort of return they can expect from the money spent on CRM.
Customers are now concerned not only about the cost of CRM systems but also about anecdotal stories of CRM implementation failures. Theres just no stomach any more for scrapping and rebuilding CRM mistakes. Its just too expensive.
Theres good news, though, in the CRM market. After a sharp cutback in 2001 and 2002, IT managers modestly increased their CRM investment in 2003. And the prospects for even bigger increases next year look bright.
Turn the page for my two key strategies for successful CRM implementation.