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The growing interest in customer relationship management will have
a radical effect on the business applications vendor landscape, says
independent research and consulting company Ovum in a report published today.

CRM Strategies: Technology Choices for the Customer-focused
Business explains how the demands CRM makes on the vendor community will
result in a move towards Universal Business Applications (UBA): linked suites
encompassing front-office, business intelligence and ERP
processes, able to support CRM strategies as well as a wide range of other business functions and initiatives.

But UBAs will not be complete enough to fully support CRM
implementation for at least a year, and in the meantime the alternative - integrating a complex mix of different kinds of software - is not straightforward.

"The reasons for doing CRM aren't rocket science but as all
project managers know, the devil is in the detail," said Cassandra Millhouse,
senior analyst at Ovum and author of the report.

As Millhouse explains, the combination of technologies at both
planning and execution stages of CRM can be complex. Business intelligence,
front office software, call centre software, CTI, IVR, web-enabled call
centres, e-commerce, ERP software, billing and customer care software and
specialist packages may all have a role to play, with heavy integration work
vital to the success of any project. The market for CRM software is
therefore extremely complex, with different parts developing at different
speeds and in different ways.

Ovum believes that these markets will converge around the UBA
during the next few years, and that today's ERP players are currently best
positioned to evolve into tomorrow's UBA providers. The UBA will be the
principal point of integration and will also contain the most critical business
applications - ERP, front office and business intelligence. Ovum predicts that
in five years' time there will be a maximum of six players competing in
the UBA market - other applications vendors will be niche players and must
partner wisely to survive.

But companies ambitious to harness the full power of CRM today
cannot afford to wait. They are faced with the task of integrating existing
best-of-breed products, possibly with help from the vendors, enterprise
application integration (EAI) or data warehousing tools.

"Ambitious IT users will take on this challenging task, and many
will convert it into significant competitive advantage by being the
first to adopt," says Millhouse. "The high costs of integration will be
worth while for these early adopters - and they may also end up with systems
which are better tailored to their individual needs. But the UBA will be a
good solution for the later majority of users, who will find more
benefit in off-the-shelf integration."

About CRM Strategies: Technology Choices for the Customer-focused
Business
CRM Strategies: Technology Choices for the Customer-focused
Business is available from Ovum immediately, costing £1495, US$2775, A$3595 or
E2395.
Authored by analyst Cassandra Millhouse, who tracks the CRM market
continuously, the report is a concise guide to planning and
implementing a CRM technology strategy. It contains sections on formulating
strategy, the main technologies which make up CRM and their associated vendors,plus market scenarios and 5-year forecasts. For further product or
sales information, please visit <http://www.ovum.com/>
http://www.ovum.com.

About Ovum

Ovum is an independent research and consulting company, offering
expert advice on IT and telecoms. Our mission is to help you make
successful decisions, and our analysis of key developments is highly
respected worldwide for its authority, quality and clarity.

Established in 1985, Ovum has a dynamic growth record of 25% per
annum, and offices in London, Boston and Melbourne. Our 80 consultants
provide reports, advisory services and strategic consultancy to over 10,000 senior executives worldwide.

Note to editors:

A white paper offering further information on the report's
findings is available to accredited members of the press only. You can request
a copy from your local press relations contact (see below).

For more press information please contact:

In the UK or Europe:
Laura Parker, Press Officer (Europe)
Tel +44 (0)171 312 7238 (direct line)
Fax +44 (0)171 255 1995
Email lmp@ovum.com

Jessica Figueras, PR Manager (Europe)
Tel +44 (0)171 312 7312
Fax +44 (0)171 255 1995
Email jmf@ovum.com

In North America:
Mark Kirkham, PR Manager (USA)
Tel +1 781 272 6414 (x19)
Fax +1 781 272 7446
Email mck@ovum.com

Or in the Pacific Rim:
Kelly Treacy, PR Co-ordinator (Asia)
Tel + 61 3 9606 0499
Fax + 61 3 9699 1346
Email kat@ovum.com

Laura Parker
Press Officer
Ovum has moved to:
Cardinal Tower, 12 Farringdon Road
London EC1M 3HS, England
S/board: +44 (0) 207 551 9000
Direct: +44 (0) 207 551 9238
Fax: +44 (0) 207 551 9090/1
Web: http://www.ovum.com <http://www.ovum.com/>

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Ovum (formerly known as Informa Telecoms & Media Research) in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.