April 17, 2001, 10:47 AM —
CRM (customer relationship management) solutions can directly affect a company's prosperity by strengthening customer interaction, improving the purchasing experience, and creating repeat buyers. Since CRM solutions sprouted Web-based wings a year ago, the notion of implementing a CRM strategy as a service has begun to gain viability. Service-based CRM is especially compelling because, unlike an in-house solution, it can be quickly deployed without added infrastructure costs. But you should also carefully consider the downsides before committing to outsourcing your CRM.
The market for CRM services reached $19.9 million last year, according to the Dataquest division of Gartner, in Stamford, Conn. The research firm estimates that service-based CRM spending this year will more than double last year's figures.
The InfoWorld CRM Survey bears out this projected increase in service-based CRM spending: 38 percent of our 500 respondents indicated that they will often or always look outside for advice with CRM implementations in the next 12 months. The majority, 77.8 percent, indicated that they will at least sometimes seek outside advice on CRM implementations. (See our related illustration, "What types of CRM services are you likely to use during the next 6 months?" at the end of this article.)