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CRM Trends – A Guest Article by Wolfgang Schwetz

The market for CRM solutions continues to grow. However, competition among CRM providers seems to be gaining momentum if the turbulences of recent years are interpreted correctly. Various takeovers and insolvencies speak for the increasing consolidation in the CRM market.

The trend topics for CRM are still Cloud Computing and Mobile CRM. Cloud computing has been a CRM trend for years. However, high growth rates tend to be found only in the English-speaking market. In the DACH market, B2B medium-sized companies are currently opting for the classic in-house solution, the so-called on- premise procedure, according to market observations for CRM selection procedures. In contrast, with its new SaaS solution Cloud for Customer, SAP has set signals and defied the world market leader Salesforce.com.

Medium-Sized Companies Prefer in-House Solution

However, a recent survey of CRM vendors confirmed that customers consistently insisted on the in-house installation of CRM systems. The reason given for the restraint was mainly the uncertain legal situation regarding data protection. Providers of browser-based software are also affected by this reluctance of users to operate in the cloud. Accordingly, they also offer an in-house installation as an alternative. The American CRM provider Sugar points out that 87 percent of customers in German-speaking countries have opted for on-premise or private cloud solutions.

About half of the 160 CRM solutions in the D-A-CH market are offered both as on-premise (in-house installation) and cloud solutions. On the other hand, it is noticeable that only nine of these CRM systems, i.e. only around six percent, are available exclusively as SaaS or cloud solutions.

The trend in B2B SMEs towards the classic in-house solution is also supported by a survey conducted by IT Matchmaker, the online platform for neutral software selection. It shows that only 15.2 percent of companies opt for CRM software based on SaaS (Software as a Service) as an operating model.

Cloud Solutions Convince in Global Use and among SMEs

The technical and economic advantages of cloud solutions lie primarily with globally active companies, because worldwide customer relationship networks can only be successfully implemented with a CRM solution from the cloud and can be supported during operation with little effort. Regardless of this, the concerns that have been under discussion for years regarding compliance with data protection and data security in the data centers of CRM providers remain. German data protection regulations should be observed here, which cannot always be proven plausibly. After all, every company should be able to explain to its customers without hesitation how secure and where their data is stored.

Among the positive voices for cloud computing are also small and medium-sized enterprises. Here it becomes clear that cloud applications have special advantages especially for SMEs such as start-ups because of the low entry hurdles. This includes savings in investments in IT infrastructure and IT personnel as well as time advantages in rollout through rapid implementation, even at distributed locations.

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