The customer relationship management (CRM) services market is expected to grow 20% in 2004, according to the latest METAspectrum market evaluation from META Group, Inc. This anticipated growth follows an expected growth rate in 2003 of between 10% and 12%.
For the purpose of the evaluation, META Group defines the CRM services market as comprising both commercial businesses and non-profit organisations seeking to improve client or constituent relations (i.e. loyalty or retention) or to gain new clients or constituents.
CRM services usually include strategy formulation, software selection, software implementation, business process improvement, team and end-user training, and deployment.
"We expect more success in CRM projects through 2004, and a parallel maturation of clients' understanding of CRM," explained Michael Doane, vice president for META Group's professional services strategies advisory service. "Clients that deferred CRM in the past couple of years will be more inclined to move ahead and, in the near term, it is up to the consulting firms to capture and demonstrate business value through CRM."
According to META Group, a good CRM implementation is not based on software alone but also addresses the key issues of strategy, integration, deployment, and value measurement. The METAspectrum evaluation examined nine vendors: Accenture, BearingPoint, CGE&Y, Deloitte, EDS, Extraprise, Headstrong, IBM BCS, and Inforte. The research revealed a number of key findings, including:
- As CRM consulting services firms mature, the greatest challenge they face is client immaturity, which leads to greater importance being placed on 'known quality'.
- CRM leadership requires an ability to move beyond value measurement, and into long-term value capture for clients, while still adhering to time and cost limitations.
- There are no followers in the market, with nearly all the firms covered by the study having already refined their message and methods to leverage field experience, and to directly address client concerns. All challengers were found to be strong in terms of software implementation, and are gaining quickly in terms of organisational viewpoint.