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2018 Key CRM Marketplace Prospectives

2018 CRM Market

By John Chan

The CRM continues to evolve as new market forces are impacting the marketplace. Here is this blog post, I will discuss the current status of the CRM marketplace and a key CRM trend that will impact the industry.

The Current Status of the CRM Marketplace

At present, the CRM marketplace is one in which the main CRM vendors are competing against one another with niche vendors fulfilling vertical markets. There is also a growing number of external vendors seeking to augment existing CRM applications with plug-in packages. Competition in the cloud CRM space between CRM vendors continues to intensify as many start-ups and small-to-mid-sized organizations are adopting cloud CRM applications primarily because of its easy-to-implement advantage over server-based CRM applications.

The contemporary CRM marketplace is a mature market, which provides a substantial hinderance for additional key CRM players to enter. Rather, we project that the additional growth in the CRM marketplace will be chiefly from external CRM vendors creating products for key CRM vendor exchanges such as Salesforce’s AppExchange.

The Emergence of Intelligent Security

Many CRM researchers foresee that security applications (apps) enhanced with Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be introduced by key CRM players in 2018. The impetus for these security applications is the European Commission’s 2016 passage of its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018.

This GDPR will require CRM vendors to provide a significant increase of data protections for European citizens. Thus, there will be the introduction of new CRM AI security apps that will augment the compliance of organizations for the GDPR. These new CRM AI security apps will notify organizational management of relevant compliance actions to take. In addition, we predict that there will be an introduction of new CRM AI security apps by CRM vendors worldwide as a means to prevent the growing data breaches and hacking by increasingly sophisticated hackers.

Comments Cindy Zhou, a principal analyst for Constellation Research: “A lot of marketers are still very confused about what [GDPR] means for them. They think their CRM company will take care of it — and they will on the technology side — but there are business process changes that will come because of GDPR. GDPR is a catalyst to how AI can help with [regulation] and security.”

What ISM does foresee in 2018 as the main activities dominating the CRM marketplace are the additional AI offerings (as stated in my last blog post) and new AI security offerings.  At the same time, CRM vendors will continue to distinguish themselves with new offerings and enhancements of their existing CRM applications in the current competitive market. We thus envision organizations with having the ability to access significantly new and improved CRM tools in the forthcoming year.

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John Chan is the ISM Software Lab Director, is responsible for software testing and defining the evaluation criteria for The Guide to Mobile and Social CRM and the CRM software offered on ISM’s Reviews Online service.