2012 seems to be quickly becoming the year of not just cloud planning, but for some reason the year of “Customer Focus”. It’s like every enterprise, and SMB for that matter, has realized that as social media becomes more important as part of the marketing process, the need to improve customer focus is even more critical. As a result, CRM is suddenly ranking within the top 10 list of things that CIOs are focusing on from an investment perspective.
The great thing is that CRM is one of the best uses of cloud SaaS, and even more so when there is a weakened economy. Many leaders see that one of the key areas of investment when it comes to strengthening or growing their market is through focusing on improving customer experience. In fact, social media has become a key part of business strategy due to the accessibility for customers to interact with the public much easier than ever before. This is most important in highly commoditized markets where the only real room for a new market leader to emerge is to attract customers away from the competition.
So how can cloud help in this arena? Well, when you look at CRM, the service itself is morphing into a whole customer service ecosystem that looks at customer information, workflows, mobility and social CRM disciplines into a single view to give an end-to-end view of the entire customer interaction. The natural extension of this is cloud, big data, social and mobile strategies, of which can be delivered through a SaaS offering.
In 2011, SaaS accounted for roughly a third of the CRM software market according to a Gartner CRM software survey. This is expected to grow around 16 percent in 2012. From a service provider perspective, they will have to either create their own CRM offering to incorporate cloud computing, social CRM, digital media and mobility or partner with an established CRM vendor. This is because traditional on-premise CRM deployments will be quickly outpaced as new cloud technologies emerge and replace them.