Forrester Research has released the latest Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Large Organizations report, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of 17 CRM suite solutions for the enterprise (organizations with more than 1,000 employees), followed by a Forrester Wave report for the midmarket (organizations with 250 to 999 employees), out tomorrow.
Led by Forrester vice president and principal analyst Bill Band, with research assistance from Stephen Powers, Kate Leggett, Boris Evelson, Brian Walker, Reedwan Iqbal, and Rowan Curran, the report grades vendors across 414 points of criteria, which were grouped by the breadth of current offering, product strategy, and market presence.
As an applications sector, CRM is alive and well, Band says. “When we survey enterprise-class companies, over 50 percent have a CRM solution and 25 percent or more are planning to implement or upgrade the one they have,” he points out. “Delivering a good customer experience is important. People are still investing in this area.” Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com SaaS solutions are growing rapidly because buyers like the speed-to-value and low up-front costs. But the Forrester report finds that larger organizations have some trepidation, which ranges from data integration and security to total cost of ownership.
A second major takeaway from the report is that consolidation reigns amongst enterprise solutions providers. Major players like Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAP “have been pulling in smaller players primarily because of the desire by companies (their buyers) to address multichannel, cross-functional customer interactions,” Band says. Others want to put out “a more complete offering in the marketplace.” You’re also seeing specialty vendors join the acquisitions spree, evidenced by Verint’s acquisition of Vovici and Marketo’s snapping up Crowd Factory.
Here is a breakdown of Forrester enterprise “Leaders”:
Oracle: The good news, according to Band, is that “they see opportunity in the marketplace, and they’re pulling together a more broad-ranging portfolio.” The market has witnessed Oracle bulk up with its acquisition of ecommerce company ATG in early 2011, unstructured data management company Endeca in early 2012, customer service solutions provider RightNow Technologies last fall, and social media marketing and analytics platforms Vitrue and Collective Intellect as of late. In the Forrester Wave, Oracle is positioned as a leader in terms of features and functionality, but Band points out that “it’s not very clear how these [separate point solutions] will work together. From a buyer point of view, it can be very confusing.”
Salesforce.com: This is a company “that’s made a dramatic change in strategy 18 months ago when they started to do acquisitions,” Band explains. “The key part is that they’re making a very big bet on social. That’s their proposition going forward.” Salesforce.com’s string of “social” acquisitions range from social media monitoring firm Radian 6 to social and mobile customer “help desk” Assistly (now Desk.com) and social marketing platform Buddy Media.
SAP: SAP has also revved up its acquisitions engine, picking up Syclo and Sybase to deepen mobility, human capital management company SuccessFactors, cloud-based business commerce network Ariba, and has entered into partnerships with eGain to enhance knowledge management capabilities, as well as NetBase for social media analysis. Band makes mention of SAP’s Business All-in-One solution (BAiO), which the vendor is positioning for the midmarket. Leveraging SAP CRM functionality, this solution enables integrated, industry-specific processes (for 25 industries) to support customer-facing departments, according to the Forrester report. “They have a very special set of pricing for smaller companies along with pre-packaged services that go with it,” Band adds.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Forrester describes Microsoft’s robust marketing, business intelligence, customer data management capabilities, architecture, and platform as contributing to its “gaining market share,” according to Band. Forrester makes mention of the “power of choice” in Dynamics CRM, namely that customers can opt for on-demand, on-premise, or partner-hosted deployments. While the report makes mention that Microsoft provides solid functionality for customer service and partner channel management, it is not as strong in field service or ecommerce. However, compared to other vendors, the report touts Microsoft’s strong support for mobile CRM. “I think Microsoft’s next challenge is how they’re going to handle verticals because they sell primarily through partners,” Band notes.
Pegasystems: Pega CRM, along with Sword Ciboodle and CDC’s Pivotal CRM (both of which placed in the Strong Performers category), have all benefited from increased interest in business process management, the report indicates. Pega’s aim “to provide software for customer centricity” can be illustrated by the vendor’s unifying predictive and adaptive analytics, with support for social and mobile. A process-centric, rules-based approach differentiates Pega CRM for users that need to tame customer-facing issues or processes in large, complex organizations, the report indicates.
RightNow: RightNow will likely serve as a “linchpin of Oracle’s emerging on-demand solutions portfolio,” but how the delivery of upgrades and integrations will mesh with Oracle solutions remains to be seen. The Oracle RightNow CX Cloud Service solution is a match for “B2C organizations that need a customer-service-centric CRM suite with rapid time-to-value,” the report indicates.
Making the Forrester Wave “Strong Performers” list, in addition to Sword Ciboodle and Pivotal CRM, was Sage CRM and Sage SalesLogix. “SalesLogix is a good, sound, well-proven sales force automation tool,” Band says, but points out that they’re “best positioned to midmarket.” NetSuite also came in as a Strong Performer, due partly to a “subtle set of criteria [we] expanded in this analysis from past [Wave reports] with more of a focus on ecommerce capabilities.” Although NetSuite functionality spans ERP, accounting, ecommerce, and CRM, its limited support for mobile CRM is mentioned. SugarCRM also made the Strong Performers list for the enterprise, as well as “Leaders” for midmarket, which Band says “proves open source as a development strategy has a place in the market.”