Next year, customer service automation will grow significantly faster than many other CRM industry segments, including Pivotal’s core business of sales force automation. This makes the mid-market vendor’s diversification into call centers a necessary move – but Pivotal will have trouble breaking into this established market.
CRM mid-market vendor Pivotal will launch its new call center module in October.
CRM mid-market vendor Pivotal is set to launch its new call center module in October. The company – a long-time sales force automation (SFA) player – is refocusing its R&D and marketing spend towards customer service automation (CSA).
SFA and CSA are the traditional pillars (and largest markets) of operational CRM. But their fortunes are set to diverge: Datamonitor expects SFA license revenues to grow at 1.9% in 2003 in Europe, while CSA software will grow at 4.4%. The difference is significant, in a market where a few deals make the difference between hitting targets and losing money.
This slowing growth is a major factor for Pivotal – and its main rival Onyx, which has taken a similar approach of increasing service automation functionality from its traditional SFA core. But is this really a recipe for success?
A mid-market call center customer service application that is fully integrated with sales and marketing applications is a compelling proposition – and enterprise giants such as Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft and Siebel have had only limited mid-market success. So there’s a definite need for lower-cost, integrated suites that appeal to the mid-market. However, Pivotal will face threats from established vendors.
Particularly at the low-end, the line between applications and telephony infrastructure is becoming blurred. Infrastructure-focused vendors like Apropos have run into trouble; giants like Avaya are moving into simple front-end applications; and Genesys has re-released its SME product, Express. The mid-market is becoming crowded.
So while Pivotal should be able to sell the call center product to its existing customers, the real test will be winning new business. Its partnership with Interactive Intelligence (I3) will not help in the larger mid-market that Pivotal is targeting – I3 has always focused on call centers with less than 40 seats.
Although increasing call center functionality is necessary for Pivotal, the company will face a challenge in breaking into this established market. Selling call center modules to existing clients is one thing; making a success of it among new clients is another.
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Related research: Datamonitor, Industry Review: Technology – September 2002 (BFTC0772)