CRM has moved from concept to reality, but market maturity is still pretty far away, according to a study by The Data Warehousing Institute.
The study surveyed more than 1,670 business executives and IT professionals and found almost three-quarters of companies have not yet deployed a CRM solution, although most plan to do so in the near future. One-quarter of respondent companies have deployed a CRM solution to one extent or another. Most of the early adopters are large ($10 billion or more) firms in competitive industries, such as financial services, software or telecommunications.
“It is clear from the survey data that most respondents are in the planning phases of their CRM projects, right now they are looking for insight and answers about the best way to deploy CRM at their companies,” said Wayne Eckerson, director of education and research at The Data Warehousing Institute. “Companies are starting small — small budgets, low data volumes — but most have big plans.”
On average, the study indicates that the majority of CRM strategies consist of at least six cross-functional applications, including database marketing, telephone call centers, Web marketing, direct-mail campaigns, field sales and Web self-service for customers.
The study also addresses the issues business and IT professionals face when deploying a CRM system. Respondents said they face a range of organizational challenges, including managing expectations, hiring skilled personnel, and standardizing rules. On the technical side, managing project scope and maintaining data quality and consistency are the top two technical challenges.
|What aspect of CRM is most important
|360-degree view of the customer
|Source: Cutter Consortium
“CRM is challenging because it requires companies to reinvent their corporate cultures around customers and integrate disparate information systems and delivery channels,” said Eckerson.
While many vendors and pundits claim that CRM solutions aren’t working once implemented, a study by the Cutter Consortium found that CRM initiatives are not failing as often as one may think. Of the 159 companies surveyed, more than three-quarters said they are satisfied with their organization’s CRM efforts.
“There is certainly evidence here that CRM dissatisfaction rates are not as high as those touted in the industry,” said Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant Curt Hall. “Even taking into consideration how the disappointed category breaks down, these finding are not as shocking as the rates frequently voiced by vendors and others who claim that CRM initiatives are heavily prone to failure.”
The survey, conducted as part of Cutter’s new Business Intelligence practice, also found that retaining customers is the main force driving CRM initiatives.