By Siobhan Kennedy in Orlando Businesses wanting to implement customer relationship management software could be forced to piece together applications from multiple suppliers and pay consultants double or three times the cost of the license fee to integrate them. Speaking to a standing-room only crowd at the Gartner Group’s user conference in Orlando yesterday, analyst […]
By Siobhan Kennedy in Orlando
Businesses wanting to implement customer relationship management software could be forced to piece together applications from multiple suppliers and pay consultants double or three times the cost of the license fee to integrate them. Speaking to a standing-room only crowd at the Gartner Group’s user conference in Orlando yesterday, analyst Michael Moaz said that most users had no choice but to pay integrators because currently there wasn’t a single front office vendor with a complete CRM suite. While all vendors offer certain pieces of the puzzle, not one can claim to offer the whole picture, he said.
For that reason, he said organizations should place as much emphasis on choosing a CRM partner/integrator as they do a supplier. Typically, consulting firms cost anywhere between one and half to three times the price of the actual software, so you need to start the selection procedure as early on as possible, he warned.
In addition, he told companies to tread carefully when selecting CRM partners as the market continues to undergo massive consolidation from the 60 or so vendors today to just eight or nine key players within the next couple of years. This week’s purchase of Vantive Corp by back office vendor PeopleSoft Inc is evidence of that and similar activity will follow, the analyst said.
Moaz said that over half of the vendors he evaluated last year had since fallen off the map. And of those remaining, about 80% to 90% of his key contacts in those companies had moved on elsewhere. In particular, he criticized the vendors for their lack of CRM planning functionality. While most have the customer interaction layer pretty much tied up (dealing with customers as they come in over the web, email, phone and fax), very few have any modules that enable companies to analyze their customer data and turn it into meaningful information, Moaz said. Most systems just give a static view of information, he said. But how do I know whether that’s a profitable customer or whether I should give that person a discount because he’s bought X amount of goods over the last few months? He added: Most do not have those on- line, real time capabilities. It’s one thing slapping a web interface in front of your applications, it’s another being able to do anything useful with it. Until that happens, between now and 2003/2004, he urged users to buy with caution and be aware that a front office suite per se is not a silver bullet for achieving CRM.
Gartner says vendors like IMA and mid-market suppliers such as Remedy, Goldmine and Saleslogix are all in danger of being wiped out amid increasing competition from the leading front office vendors and ERP suppliers, in particular Baan and Oracle. Of the large enterprise vendors, Siebel, Clarify, Vantive, Oracle and Baan, not one supplier has the leading edge, Moaz said. While he agreed that Siebel is number one in terms of market share, stock evaluation and numbers of users, he said the vendor lacks key functionality and is not able to offer users a full CRM suite.
Yes, if I’m advising investors about what stock to go out and buy, I’d say Siebel. And yes Siebel is crushing its competition in terms of market share, but I’m here to advise users and when it comes to overall functionality – CRM planning, data cleansing, fully integrated web applications. They have zilch, zilch, zilch, Moaz said. á