CIOs ranked customer relationship management (CRM) as their No. 8 technology priority for 2012, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.'s Executive Programs. CRM moved up from the No. 18-ranked technology in 2011.
Additionally, Gartner’s 2012 CEO Survey found that CEOs cited CRM as their most important area of investment to improve their business over the next five years.
“The focus on the customer is increasingly important for business leaders, despite times of continued economic uncertainty and government austerity,” said Jim Davies, research director at Gartner. “Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience regardless of the economic environment, and they see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and operational efficiency in 2012. They also understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends.”
“In 2012, CRM executives are faced with the challenge of taking ‘social’ more seriously — not as ‘just another channel,’ but as a whole new way of doing business,” said Ed Thompson, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful to the relationship as ignoring their emails or phone calls is today.
“Our discussions with service providers and end users indicate that CRM services are shifting from a focus on point solution deployment centered on application suites, to a ‘customer experience’ that brings together customer information, analytics, workflows, mobility and social CRM disciplines into a richer, multichannel access to capture the entire customer journey,” Mr. Thompson said.
Gartner said worldwide CRM software revenue reached $12 billion in 2011, a 13.5 percent increase from 2010, and it is forecast to grow 7 percent in 2012. Gartner analysts added that a growing percentage of this revenue is accrued through software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing.In 2011, SaaS accounted for 32 percent of the CRM software market and is expected to grow 16 percent in 2012.
As competition intensifies, service providers will either have to grow their own CRM practice to incorporate cloud computing, social CRM, digital media and mobility – or they will have to form partnerships with specialist vendors. Service providers that are still focusing on traditional on-premises CRM solutions today will gradually lose out to the competition during the next one to two years.
“We recommend organizations view 2012 as a year to revisit their CRM strategy. The potentially disruptive impact of cloud, big data, social and mobile cannot be overlooked,” said Mr. Davies.
Gartner analysts will further discuss the development of customer experience and service, mobile and social CRM at the Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit 2012, held from June 11 to 12 in London, U.K. For further information about Summit, please visit www.gartner.com/eu/crm.