What Works in CRM

By Heather Baldwin

Remember the CRM horror stories of past years that seemed to be the rule rather than the exception? Today they are definitely the exception, according to Aberdeen Group’s new report, “What Works: Ten Significant CRM Implementations 2003.” In addition to naming the best CRM implementations of last year, the report identifies some positive trends in the CRM industry, including a planned increase in CRM spending this year.

Aberdeen undertook two major research efforts to create the report. First, it conducted a survey to find the most successful CRM implementations last year by asking vendors for their best CRM experiences. The company then followed up with end users to create 10 case studies Aberdeen analysts thought best showed how CRM could affect a business. Second, Aberdeen and RealMarket surveyed business executives who visited the RealMarket Website in early January about their companies’ CRM experiences and future purchasing intentions.

From these data sets Aberdeen concludes that CRM spending will pick up significantly in 2003, peaking in the second half of the year. Only 16% of respondents to the RealMarket survey said their CRM budgets would decline from last year’s levels, while 53% said their budgets would increase. The remaining 31% indicated there would be no change. To questions about satisfaction, CRM users said they hovered between somewhat satisfied and satisfied. When asked on a scale of 1 (not satisfied) to 5 (completely satisfied) about their contentment levels with various CRM modules, mean responses ranged from 2.5 to 3.0. Of the various modules, users are most satisfied with sales applications.

Aberdeen researchers say they were most surprised by the responses to questions about hosted solutions. Only 24% of respondents said they currently were using CRM delivered as a hosted service, but 52% said they would consider using a hosted solution in the future. “Most significantly,” states the report, “when prospective CRM users were asked if they would subscribe to hosted CRM services, more than 88% said they would. This finding stands in contrast to the industry-wide assumption that CRM customers in general are unhappy.”

Separately, the report examines the top 10 CRM implementations of 2002 using a case study approach. In no particular order, the companies studied are: Newell Rubbermaid (Art Technology Group), Cable & Wireless (ChannelWave Software), Arizona Department of Transportation (FrontRange Solutions), Beazer Homes USA (Online Insight), PepsiAmericas (PeopleSoft), Engage (Salesforce.com), Avnet (SalesLogix), Sovereign Bank (Salesnet), Boehringer Ingelheim (Siebel Systems) and Hitachi (Selectica). Denis Pombriant, Aberdeen CRM research vice president and the primary author of the report, observes that ROI “continues to be a major theme in the CRM industry, and 2002 was no exception. We wanted to identify cases where implementations succeeded and where the customer could point to a return they received from the implementation.”

To download the report, visit www.aberdeen.com.