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TECHNOLOGY NEWS: Gartner says social CRM spending will exceed traditional CRM

Gartner says it has added social CRM platforms to its Magic Quadrant research reports in recognition of its growing importance.

The research and advisory firm says the addition is in response to "the growing interest and investment in social applications to support sales, marketing and customer service business processes."
Gartner says the social CRM market will go through major changes such as mergers and acquisitions, new entrants and exits over the next year or so.

According to Gartner social CRM vendors differentiate themselves by the services they offer, their ease of use and the quality of their professional services, but Gartner believes it's going to get harder for vendors be successful offering these core functions and sees the market moving towards social CRM suites.

Gartner also suggests that much this capability will be integrated into traditional CRM solutions by 2014 - especially with the larger CRM vendors.

According to its research, B2C customers account for over 90 per cent of spending on Social CRM. This is expected to change through 2015 as more B2B vendors starting using it.

Social CRM Leaders

  • Jive Software: Not really surprising to see Jive in a leader position, they are one of the most well known social software vendors (social business software) and have a number of very large corporate customers. We've covered a lot of their offerings over the past year or more that are strongly focused on marketers. The cautions for Jive include its low sales and support presence in EMEA and Asia/Pacific, and its lack of prebuilt integration with packaged CRM solutions.
  • Lithium: Offering primarily hosted private-label social networks to both B2C and B2B, one of Lithium's strengths is its ability to measure ROI and the health of a customer's community. Weaknesses include no interoperability with popular social networks (although they indicate they have recently launched a Facebook app), and lack of integration with CRM solutions.

Social CRM Visionaries

  • KickApps: A hosted platform for B2C communities, KickApps makes the Visionaries list for a platform that is flexible, highly configurable and easy to implement. Cautions are related to its only recent focus on marketers and its limited integration with packaged CRM solutions.
  • Mzinga: A hosted platform that can be standalone or integrated into an existing website, Mzinga's focus is on sales, marketing and customer service. It has one of the widest ranges of applications, but has been slow to integrate with public social networks or traditional CRM solutions.
  • Chatter, Ideas and Jigsaw all contribute to helping Salesforce bring social into their CRM processes. Viability is an obvious strength, and they are a leading proponent of social in CRM applications. Cautions include a lack of B2C focus, and the maturity of their social solutions.

The bulk of the quadrant is filled with niche players who focus in specialized areas of Social CRM. Some of these include Leverage Software, Visible Technologies, Radian 6, Oracle CRM on Demand and Overtone.

Gartner lists no vendor as a 'challenger', which shows the room there is for growth within this market.
No vendor listed in this report has tight integration with traditional CRM solutions (other than This is an area Gartner expects to see real growth in over the next couple of years, although it's likely that many of these vendors need to work on the social aspects of their solutions before they take it to the next level.

Gartner's criteria to appear in the Magic Quadrant include:

  • Offer a social application, supporting one or more of internal sales, marketing, customer service users, customers, prospects and partners outside the enterprise.
  • Appear on at list 25 per cent of Gartner's Social CRM shortlists
  • Have at least eight accessible client references for the product