Special Report

The top 10 CRM news headlines of 2008

As we look back at the top CRM news in 2008, issues like CRM 2.0, on-demand and mobile CRM made big headlines. Companies also began looking for ways to cut costs on technology and become more customer-centric as the U.S. economy went into a recession, which made on-demand CRM applications and Web 2.0 tools popular choices for those looking to invest in CRM. In this special report, we've collected our most popular headlines from the past year to give you an overview of the CRM market in 2008.


  Top 10 CRM news headlines of 2008  


10. On-demand CRM products dominate software rankings -- As the economy weakened in 2008, many organizations began to look at on-demand CRM offerings to help cut technology costs. Forrester's customer service software rankings put vendors with on-demand products -- like NetSuite, Salesforce.com and Oracle -- on top, and Gartner's sales force automation (SFA) software rankings made it clear that vendors need an on-demand offering to remain competitive in the SFA market.

9. Vendors move towards CRM 2.0 -- Web 2.0 technology grew in popularity in 2007, but in 2008 CRM vendors caught on, releasing their own CRM 2.0 offerings as experts touted social CRM applications and Web 2.0 technology as the future of CRM. Oracle, for example, released two new CRM applications for the iPhone, stressing the social aspects of its CRM platform. But as the economy weakened as the year went on, many worried what a recession would mean for CRM and Web 2.0, and some companies worried about investing in the new, unproven technology.

8. Google and Salesforce.com team up -- It came as no surprise when Salesforce.com and Google announced that they would team up to bring Google apps to Salesforce.com CRM applications. The partnership highlighted the goal of many major CRM vendors -- to increase the collaboration and productivity aspects of their CRM offerings.

7. CRM market leaders take aim at Salesforce.com -- Salesforce.com was a strong leader in the on-demand CRM market in 2008, but other CRM vendors worked hard to keep up. Microsoft launched CRM Online, its first on-demand offering, after Salesforce.com partnered with Google, providing an alternative to Microsoft Office. Oracle released a pre-built Siebel and CRM On Demand integration feature, a move that many experts felt was made in part to fend of Salesforce.com. Perhaps the boldest move was made by NetSuite -- the company offered existing Salesforce.com customers the chance to replace their current Salesforce.com implementations with NetSuite CRM+ for half the price.

6. CRM vendors focus on mobility -- Mobility was on the minds of both users and vendors in 2008, as more and more people looked for the ability to access CRM applications regardless of their location. In the beginning of the year Oracle added mobility to CRM On Demand, leveraging Web 2.0 technology such as mash-ups. Soon after, SAP and Research in Motion (RIM) announced a partnership to natively integrate SAP CRM and the BlackBerry, allowing mobile sales professionals complete mobile access to CRM information.

5. Microsoft grows CRM -- At the Microsoft Convergence conference in March, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made it a point to stress the company's commitment to enterprise CRM and Software as a Service (SaaS), stating that Microsoft CRM's customizability is "unparalleled" and its price and flexibility are a huge advantage. Microsoft released CRM Online later in the year, putting the company in direct competition with Salesforce.com.

4. The era of big CRM acquisitions ends -- According to a report put out by Forrester Research in February, 2008 may mark the end of the big acquisitions in the enterprise CRM market. However, software acquisitions are far from over. According to Forrester, the larger CRM vendors will now begin looking towards smaller, niche providers, such as Web 2.0 technology vendors, in order to extend their capabilities.

3. A renewed focus on business process and CRM -- As the challenges associated with CRM have shifted from technology to processes, more and more CRM vendors are beginning to offer business process management (BPM) capabilities, merging CRM and BPM. According to Gartner, BPM is now the key to improving the customer experience.

2. Marketing technology vendors work on usability -- In 2008, Forrester's Wave report on Enterprise Marketing Platforms showed that marketing technology vendors are now focusing on usability, finally recognizing the average marketer's desire for a simple, user-friendly interface. Siebel recently revamped its user interface (UI), while Aprimo rewrote much of its UI entirely.

1. Looking towards 2009 -- According to Gartner's Scott Nelson, rumors that CRM is dead are far from true, and Web 2.0 technology and customer experience management are now taking a central role in the way companies look at CRM.


This was first published in December 2008

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