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CIOs ranked customer relationship management (CRM) as a major technology priority for 2012, according to market analyst Gartner. Gartner’s 2012 CEO survey also found CEOs cited CRM as their important area of investment over the next five years.



 “The focus on the customer is important for business leaders, despite times of continued economic uncertainty,” says Jim Davies, research director at Gartner.Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience. They see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends.” In 2012, CRM executives are faced with the challenge of taking ‘social’ more seriously — not as ‘just another channel,’ but as a whole new way of doing business.


Gartner predicts by 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful to the relationship as ignoring their emails or phone calls is today. Service providers and end users indicate CRM services are shifting from a focus on point solution deployment centered on application suites, to a ‘customer experience’.


This brings together customer information, analytics, workflows, mobility and social CRM disciplines into multichannel access to capture the customer journey. The worldwide CRM software revenue reached US$12 billion in 2011 and it is forecast to grow 7 percent in 2012. According to Gartner, a growing percentage of this revenue is accrued through software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing.


In 2011, SaaS accounted for 32 percent of the CRM software market and is expected to grow 16 percent in 2012. As competition intensifies, service providers will either have to grow their own CRM practice to incorporate cloud computing, social CRM, digital media and mobility – or they will have to form partnerships with specialist vendors.


Service providers that are still focusing on traditional on-premises CRM solutions today will gradually lose out to the competition during the next one to two years. The analyst suggests organisations view 2012 as a year to revisit their CRM strategy. The potentially disruptive impact of cloud, big data, social and mobile cannot be overlooked.


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