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The CRM applications market is overcrowded, especially in major European and North American countries.

Enterprise vendors with weak marketing functionality need to partner analytics vendors or face losing market share to traditional analytics vendors from data warehousing backgrounds.

In 2002, the worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) applications market actually shrunk 25% from 2001, and major vendors like Siebel and Oracle suffered precipitous declines in license revenues. By 2005, the market is expected to have barely recovered to 2001 levels.

Many vendors are likely to go to the wall, as the market is too crowded, especially at the high-end and in the most developed countries of North America and Western Europe. At the top-end of the market, vendors whose solutions extend beyond CRM to incorporate whole business processes, which sometimes involve supply chain or financials functionality, are likely to have the upper hand.

Traditional sales force automation (SFA) applications, typically adopted early in the CRM lifecycle, focus on management and control of the sales process, rather than on the analysis and intelligent use of customer data. Meanwhile, the first 'bridges' between the worlds of analytical and operational CRM have been built in the realm of marketing automation (MA), where campaign analysis and targeting can result in demonstrable revenue generation.

In the near future, process-oriented CRM applications will stagnate. The emergence of enterprise-class analytics specifically focused on customer data and the front-office marketing function will continue to drive MA growth, at the expense of SFA. For example in North America, SFA applications will only grow at an average annual rate of 1% between 2002-05, whereas MA applications will grow at an average 6% per year over the same period. Similar trends exist in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The effects of analytics on the operational CRM (oCRM) competitive landscape will also be dramatic. Expect enterprise vendors with weak marketing functionality to aggressively partner with analytics vendors to add depth to their solutions. The alternative for the large oCRM vendors is to watch the MA space become dominated by traditional analytics vendors from data warehousing backgrounds.

© Datamonitor

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