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August 22, 2007

Top vendors in the CRM solutions market revealed

Global enterprise spend on customer relationship management application licenses is predicted to hit $6.6 billion by the end of 2012. Clearly, for vendors operating in this space, the stakes for the license revenues alone are high. However, despite numerous players operating in this highly competitive space, just two names should be on IT decision makers' shortlists.

By CBR Staff Writer

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business methodology focusing on the interactions between a customer and an enterprise and a class of enterprise applications that support CRM processes. The CRM solution architecture typically consists of applications that support sales and marketing and/or service functions with additional analytics, data management and communication capabilities included.

Oracle and SAP clear leaders

Although the CRM applications market is very competitive and there are plenty of players that can challenge the current leaders in specific circumstances, only two vendors, Oracle and SAP, can be considered as market leaders.

Datamonitor has developed its Decision Matrix to help businesses select vendors based on their technology strength, reputation among customers and impact in the market. Conclusions are based on a quantitative assessment of end-user sentiment, the capabilities of the business intelligence solutions on offer and technology features.

Oracle and SAP are the leading solution providers deserving the place on most procurement shortlists. Both vendors provide complete solutions replete with functionality, integrate CRM with new communication technologies and offer full flexibility of deployment options, from conventional on-premise, through to variations of hosted and on-demand solutions.

Nevertheless, Oracle should be considered as a clear leader in the CRM application market. Having augmented its CRM product line through the acquisition of Siebel and PeopleSoft, Oracle now commands an incredible portfolio of CRM solutions. Datamonitor’s analysis reveals that Oracle Siebel CRM sets quality standards in terms of technology and execution although Oracle E-Business Suite CRM and Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM may be more suitable, depending on the functional requirements, specific sector demands and the deployment environment required.

If executed well, Oracle’s ambitious maintenance and development roadmap should ensure a market leadership position. Oracle’s CRM offering will be improved both through incremental best-of-breed feature cross-fertilization and its ambitious project of re-engineering completely new solution based on its Fusion platform.

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Market challengers

Currently, the principal challengers to the leaders, including Chordiant, Infor and Salesforce.com, all offer very good solutions but lack certain elements to compete consistently with the leading duo. More importantly, this group of the market will become more competitive if Microsoft’s forthcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release is a success or if vendors such as RightNow Technologies and Consona improve their standing.

Given the increasing competitiveness in the second tier of the market and the advances of the market leaders, it is safe to assume that market leadership will continue with Oracle, and probably SAP. The rest of the field will produce some very good alternatives, but not an outright market leader.

The evolving CRM strategies now demand CRM application solutions that can provide well-rounded suites covering all CRM modules, present a single analytical view of customers across multiple customer interaction channels and that can be rapidly deployed in a variety of deployment methods.

CRM vendors whose solutions can support a long-term strategic approach to customer relationship strategies based on nurturing relationships with the customer, instead on focusing on the transaction itself, will be in a strong position.

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