The customer relationship management (CRM) software market is expected to grow tremendously as these applications contribute to the bottom line, and as enterprises adopt increasingly customer-centric strategies to identify and retain high-potential customers, according to business growth consultancy Frost & Sullivan.
Frost & Sullivan's study of the market suggests that vendors that help enterprises establish a clear, tailored CRM strategy are the most likely to see greater success rates and faster return on investment (ROI). The firm's analysis report, Asia Pacific Customer Relationship Management Software Market, predicts that the total market value is likely to reach some US$406.8 million in 2009.
"With vendors internally assessing the value proposition and experience they provide to clients, CRM is gradually being redefined as an enterprise-wide software solution with back-end integration, rather than just a stand-alone software module," said Frost & Sullivan's industry manager, Moaiyad Hoosenally. One way in which vendors are tackling this shift in the CRM concept is by getting involved in the client's sales strategy earlier on in the process. Through close interaction during sales cycles and follow-ups, vendors are able to customise CRM strategies to suit each company's structure, corporate goals, and operations.
Education also key
And educating the client's customer is an equally important step, according to the report. Software vendors are playing a key role in boosting awareness, and this in turn is increasing CRM software revenues.
"Large enterprise customers are looking to consolidate a host of point solutions and upgrade CRM functions across multiple departments and channels," said Hoosenally. Providing integration components as part of a CRM solution can help attract end users by offering them a one-stop shopping experience while achieving a completely integrated CRM management suite.
CRM vendors are now also trying to develop solutions using open standards such as JAVA to provide scalability. Robust solutions are required to handle the growing web traffic across multiple domains, databases, geographies, time zones, product store keeping units, and viewers.
Analytic CRM or business intelligence is expected to be the biggest value-addition for clients, as it enables a wide range of intelligent planning and decision-making with the segmentation of customers, campaign management, market modelling, and crafting better value propositions.
"Customer companies stand to gain more through analytical CRM than merely automating the transaction flow for their clients, and vendors that cater to this need will reap benefits," predicted Hoosenally.
The report, a part of Frost & Sullivan's CRM subscription, offers a number of insights about CRM software, including sales, marketing, service, and analytic applications in the thirteen Asia Pacific countries. Based on technology architecture for CRM, the study covers three specific areas: interaction CRM, operational CRM, and analytical CRM.