While conducting some market research this morning, I came across a Gartner study that speaks to the recent news surrounding the Bear Stearns collapse and plight our economy is entering, if it hasn’t already done so.
The survey found that 44 percent of respondents expect their budget for CRM initiatives to increase this year, while another 30 percent expect their budgets to hold steady. Despite the talk of an impending recession, CRM initiatives remain a high priority among technology projects, driven by the move to become more customer-centric, according to the report. The main challenge facing companies: how to integrate CRM systems with other business applications and with customer-interaction channels.
The study speaks to two key lessons that vendors and businesses have learned in the past 10 years, and as a result, the reason why the market is a far cry from the conditions it faced at the turn of the millennia, when the industry took a nosedive thanks to a technology-spending downturn following the dotcom/tech bubble burst.
Since then, companies have learned that CRM is a business strategy/process first; the technology that vendors like ourselves sell are simply meant to help execute those processes. Being able to customize and integrate CRM solutions with other business apps is one fallout of that realization, and one that CRM vendors have learned to build their product offerings around. Thankfully, both corporate IT departments and vendors like SugarCRM are better off because of it.