The following is a quick response to a Linked In Answers question relating to the evolution of CRM technology over the next five years. It’s something of a crude thumbnail sketch – I’ll perhaps create a more considered response in due course – but it was a thought-provoking question and it would be interesting to get some comments on how people see things moving forward. Anyway, my response was as follows:
There’s always a danger in expecting too much to change in five years. Looking back five years its been a case of steady evolution rather than radical transformation. What I think we will see is some commoditisation of CRM. I suspect this will be through a commercial cloud based application rather than through open source.
In terms of the CRM mid-market, I would expect to see Salesforce maintain its leadership position in hosted, and Microsoft CRM in on premise. I suspect we will see someone – perhaps Zoho – grab the low cost end of the market, to end up with three major players covering this space.
In terms of functionality I think we will see advances in mobile access, workflow, data management and improvement tools, and the functionality to monitor and manage social networks.
I also think there will be increasing awareness that the technology dimension of CRM is not that important, and the key battleground will be getting the right CRM strategy, setting up the processes within the technology to support the strategy, and getting people to use the system in a structured and systematic way.
I would also expect to see a significant shift in the amount of resources that are devoted to getting CRM right, in line with what we’ve see as the ERP market has evolved.