The race to dominate the CRM market is on, and it's pitting traditional CRM vendors against the non-traditional companies. New reports from Cahners In-Stat Group reveal that traditional CRM companies still have the lead on non-traditional vendors, but the gap is closing as non-traditional vendors add more contact channels to their offerings.
In-Stat surveyed 38 CRM vendors and divided them into two groups: traditional CRM vendors and non-traditional vendors. The traditional vendors have contact center experience and have marketed voice products, while non-traditional vendors are defined as the new incarnation of CRM companies that have entered the market on the Internet and host-based technologies side.
"We're starting to see a trend in CRM that vendors need to be able to provide [companies] with the ability to surround their customers," said Kirsten Cloninger, industry analyst for In-Stat's Internet Commerce Service.
According to Cloninger, CRM vendors, whether traditional or non-traditional, need to address three major areas in order to succeed in the CRM space. First of all, they need to include "anytime, anywhere" access for consumers, whether it's by voice, the Web or other channels. Ease of integration is also an issue, and CRM vendors should offer products that easily integrate into systems that a customer already uses. Lastly, the ease of use of the systems is important for administration purposes.
Success in the CRM market means "providing customers with the ability to interact with their consumers, enabling merchants to deal with their customers in an integrated fashion across all contact points, and integrating with legacy systems and back-end systems so you don't have those silos of information," Cloninger said.
Traditional vendors still have the lead in the market. Currently, they also offer more contact methods. They have developed voice-based systems, and for them to offer Web-based capabilities in an update of existing software is one of the simplest ways to retain their customers, according to Cloninger.
Non-traditional vendors are rounding out their portfolios to compete. Right now, they are faster to integrate and offer more flexibility. As the non-traditional vendors enhance their offerings, they will become more competitive in the market. For example, Kana is moving away from just offering e-mail response software and is now provisioning voice, Cloninger said. "They're embracing the ideology of being able to provide a full range of interaction points."
The top five CRM vendors, according to In-Stat, are Quintus, Kana, Oracle, Aspect and Siemens, in that order.
"The fact that Kana ranked second out of all 38 was something significant," Cloninger said. The ranking "demonstrates that Web-based vendors are really the force of change."
For more information visit Cahners In-Stat Group.
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