A report from independent market analyst Datamonitor reveals that analytical customer relationship management (aCRM) technology is being adopted by enterprises on a broader global scale, but some remain confused about it.
According to the report, 'Analytical CRM', global enterprise investment in aCRM (considered to be the logical evolution of the CRM lifecycle) will grow from an estimated US$2.3 billion today to over US$3 billion in 2009.
Analytical CRM, a sub-section of the wider business intelligence market, is the active collection, concentration and analysis of data gathered about customers and their interactions with the business. This analysis is then used to generate value, both for the enterprise and its customers. By employing aCRM analytics, businesses stand to gain a more complete understanding of their customers and so can serve them better, and thus increase their customer lifetime and generate more profit. The report considers the role of the technology, the uses of customer analysis, and the ways in which it is currently being deployed.
Datamonitor considers there to be six key user groups in aCRM output:
- Power users:
This is usually the smallest group but by far the most advanced. They require the full flexibility that Business Intelligence tools can supply, and often provide other areas of the business with information from their own analyses.
- Senior Executives:
Their interest in aCRM is often limited to "dashboards" detailing performance against key performance indicators. The breadth of this information, however, can be significant, with executives across different parts of the business having different priorities. While appearing simple, the technology behind the dashboard is often complex.
- Marketing organisations:
This is one of the larger groups, and potentially one of the most advanced. They are in a position to become advanced users of aCRM, a process currently only just getting under way in most adopting businesses.
- Sales organisations:
This is a potentially significant user group. Their needs are often found in the output of other areas' analysis. Examples are the use of leads generated through marketing campaigns and timely information delivery, especially during closing periods when targets are either hit or missed.
- Customer-facing organisations:
These are mainly in the call centre but also in retail environments. These users are dependent on timely and accurate delivery of information relating to the customers with whom they are dealing.
Offering customers intelligence about the way they use products purchased from that company can be a competitive differentiator. Simple, pre-defined queries and easy to understand delivery are key.
The report reveals that the clear lead adopters are to be found in the financial services, retail, manufacturing and communications industries around the globe. However the confusion and lack of understanding among end users that surrounds aCRM and its uses make it imperative for vendors to educate enterprises, across all verticals, about the function, working, uses and benefits of aCRM.
According to Tom Pringle, Technology Analyst at Datamonitor and author of the study, "High and stable growth reflects the value businesses place on understanding more about their customers. However, vendors will need to make every effort to educate enterprises. Many are still confused by the concepts and technologies that constitute business intelligence."
The report defines the market as both a technology and a concept. It simplifies the technologies, the uses and the user groups found in the aCRM market. The full range of technologies in the aCRM market are covered, including ETL, data quality, data warehousing and BI tools. The report can be purchased directly from Datamonitor's web site.