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What does the future hold for the CRM industry?

We know that CRM has grown exponentially since 2013. According to Gartner, CRM is the fastest growing market in Enterprise software, and will be the largest market in Enterprise Software by 2017.  With another boom year predicted for CRM, let’s take a look at why it’s still growing.

  • Consumer meets enterprise

Throughout 2014, we saw an acceleration of consumer technology bleeding into the enterprise. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has expanded to Bring Your Own Application (BYOA), a trend that will gather pace in 2015. According to a multi-market survey by Ovum, almost 57 percent of full-time employees are using a personal smartphone or tablet to access corporate data in some way, whether such usage is approved by corporate IT or not. Of employees surveyed, 25.6 percent have found their own enterprise social networks to use, 22.1 percent use their own file sync and share applications (i.e. Dropbox), and 30.7 percent use their own IM/VoIP services. This indicates that businesses have been slow to embrace this new wave of productivity applications. In 2015 IT departments and line of business leaders will be under increased pressure from their employees to update corporate productivity solutions to the latest generation of consumer-inspired applications.  This will drive continued spend by businesses on newer, more agile consumer-inspired business productivity applications.

  • More CRM investment

Analysts are keeping a keen eye on the CRM industry. Since 2013, it has grown exponentially and that’s not about to stop. Gartner states that CRM is expected to grow to a $36.5 billion market worldwide within the next three years.This type of growth is already attracting big interest from large companies and VCs, who are keen to reap the rewards of the fast-growing, innovative industry. Startup database Crunchbase lists 26 new CRM startups in the last 4 years.  Why this spurt of investment in an industry that 10 years ago many thought was old and tired?  There are many reasons, but a major one is that the Internet has enabled a new level of communications among consumers, and this is forcing companies to become more customer centric.

  • Cloud enabled innovation

The ubiquitous availability of low-cost cloud computing resources is lowering the cost of innovation for businesses everywhere.  In eight years Amazon has cut AWS (Amazon Web Services) prices 42 times.  Prices are roughly one fifth of what they were when the service first launched.  That means businesses can cheaply experiment with new applications built on a scalable cloud infrastructure.  There are no up-front infrastructure costs that could create a barrier to innovation. According to a global survey by Enquinix, the majority (77 percent) of business applications will be deployed to not just one, but multiple cloud services across several geographies over the next 12 months. Seventy-four percent expect cloud services to command a larger budget in 2015.

  • Social, mobile, big data driving new use cases and new customer demand

The big topics of 2014 — such as big data, mobile and social — are driving customer adoption of new products, and will continue to play a large part in how enterprises are influenced during this year. All are changing the way consumers interact with vendors, and forcing vendors to support new businesses processes around the customer.  Customer journey mapping, the process of documenting the stages a customer moves through a buying cycle, will become widespread as businesses try to understand these new use cases.  Related, companies will need to ensure that they deliver a consistent quality experience across the full customer lifecycle.  This will require a new generation of CRM applications, focusing on individual needs, wants and productivity.

  • The rise of the CCO

The social era and the multiple channels available to the customer have greatly influenced what the customer journey looks like today. In fact, instead of a “journey,” it appears to more closely resemble a cycle — a constantly adapting and two-way conversation between the brands and their customers. This is having a knock on effect on today’s corporate agenda, which is fed by the CRM initiatives that now offer deep, detailed insight into the wants and needs of a brand’s customer. From this we are seeing a combined C-level role develop. CIOs and CMOs are now merging into a hybrid role — a chief customer officer — changing businesses into customer-centric organisations.

The rise in customer-centric organisations means that modern CRM tools will be integral to enabling enterprises to compete. We are set to see enterprises transform and adapt to customers’ individual needs during this year and beyond. The CRM market will become bigger, more exciting and ultimately enable this change.