Although analysts agree that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) packages are a devil to make work, it looks like the market for them will grow strongly.
Butler Group, a Hull based IT market analyst, says CRM has a long way to go before it lives up to its industry hype, while research firm Business-Intelligence claims many companies are struggling to make CRM packages work. And, although research firm IDC (International Data Corporation) admits many CRM systems have been difficult to implement, it still predicts growth rates of over 26%, of revenues derived from CRM software sales.
London-based research company Datamonitor expects that much of that growth to be for mobile CRM (mCRM) for use in business-to-employee systems. "The pervasiveness of mobile devices like phones and PDAs, and the increasing bandwith available to these second and a half and third generation devices means that the mobile/wireless channel is one that businesses, and CRM suppliers, cannot afford to ignore." It expects global spend on mCRM products to grow from $70m (£49m) in 2000, to $1.3bn in 2005 in the business-to-employee segment.
IDC expects the CRM market in Europe to grow by 26% over the next five years, to reach a value of $50bn, globally, by 2005. But European eCRM analyst Rasika Verslejien-Pradhan says they must deliver value to customers. "The emphasis lies in being able to develop strong CRM strategies, while clearly defining the business proposition for clients."
Butler Group's senior research analyst Andrew Kellett puts it more strongly: "CRM should provide quantifiable benefits to organisations and their customers, and it should help improve the quality and relevance of customer relationships, but so far it has failed to achieve these key objectives."
David Harvey, director of the European Centre for Customer Strategies comments: "There is plenty of evidence that companies are still struggling to overcome the practical difficulties involved in planning and implementing CRM."