Gartner Predicts CRM Will Be A $36B Market By 2017

The latest enterprise software forecast from Gartner shows Customer Relationship Management (CRM) increasing to a $36.5B worldwide market by 2017, a significant increase from the $20.6B forecasted in Q1 of this year. CRM also leads all enterprise software categories in projected growth, showing a 15.1% CAGR from 2012 to 2017, also revised up from 9.7% in the Q1 forecast.

The latest round of forecasts published in the report, Gartner Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2012-2017, 2Q13 Update shows CRM eclipsing ERP in worldwide market size in 2017.

The following graph compares the relative growth of CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence (BI), Supply Chain Management and Web Conferencing, Collaboration/Social Software Suites.

Key Take-Aways
•Comparing Gartner’s Q1 and Q2 CRM forecasts shows just how fast CRM growth is accelerating, netting a 56% increase in CAGR in the forecast period (2012 – 2017) from 9.7% in the Q1 forecast to 15.1% in the latest Q2 forecast.

•Worldwide enterprise software spending is projected to be $304B in 2013 in the latest forecast, up from $279B in the Q1 forecast. Gartner claims stronger demand for CRM, supply chain management and security are leading to accelerating market growth.
•ERP spending worldwide is projected to grow from $26.03B in 2013 to $34.3B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 7%.
•Business Intelligence (BI) worldwide is projected to grow from $14B in 2013 to $18.6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 7.3%.
•Supply Chain Management (SCM) worldwide is projected to grow from $9.16B in 2013 to $13.6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 10.4%.
•Data Integration Tools and Data Quality Tools worldwide are projected to grow from $4B in 2013 to $6B in 2017, attaining a CAGR in the forecast period 2012 – 2017 of 10.3%.

Bottom Line: Gartner’s latest forecasts show that enterprises are realizing the most valuable assets they have are solid, long-term customer relationships. Trust really is the new currency, as my friend Michael Krigsman often says.


Microsoft brings new AI-powered features to Office 365 and Dynamics 365

microsoftMicrosoft’s Ignite conference is bringing 23,000 IT professionals to Atlanta, Georgia this week and the company is using this opportunity to talk about how it plans to bring more intelligence to its tools and platforms.

As companies gather more and more data, Microsoft argues, it’s becoming imperative that the tools these companies use also become smarter. This means bringing better analytics to the workplace to help individual employees become more productive, but also bringing machine learning-powered tools to services like its CRM service Dynamics 365.

One thing the company’s representatives stressed repeatedly during a small press event ahead of the conference was that Microsoft doesn’t believe AI technologies will replace humans but instead empower them. We’ll see how that works out in the long run.

In concrete — and more immediate — terms, this means Microsoft is bringing more cloud-powered intelligence services to Office 365 in the near future, for example. The upcoming QuickStarter for PowerPoint and Sway will be able to give you curated outlines for any topic — including text and Creative Commons-licensed images — to provide you with the foundation of you presentation. In addition, Excel will also soon allow you to easily transform geographic data into Bing-powered maps and Tap for Word and Outlook will help you find existing content inside your company that could be relevant to a document you are working on.

Office 365 is also about to get a built-in tool that lets you track your productivity with the help of Microsoft MyAnalytics (previously known as Delve Analytics). The service allows you to compare your personal analytics (how much time to you spent answering emails, making Skype calls, editing documents, etc.) with those of your other team members (all without your manager ever seeing the data, though, Microsoft promises).

The company says Dynamics 365, too, will soon get smarter thanks to built-in AI assistants that will help surface actionable data and even help sales teams find the best next action as they are trying to close a deal. This new Relationships Assistant for Dynamics 365 for Sales is based on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015.

Most of these new features are now available for Office 365 customers, though some — like the PowerPoint QuickStarter and maps for Excel — are only coming later this year.

Internally, Microsoft is also currently using a new AI-powered virtual agent across its U.S. call centers to help its employees better answer its customers questions.

Microsoft’s definition of “intelligence” is still pretty vague, of course, but it’s clear that the company believes its work in machine learning, when combined with its cloud platform, can give it a leg up over its competitors.

In the world of CRM tools, Salesforce recently introduced its Einstein platform, which also promises to bring more smarts to its services. Google, which often leads the way in terms of deep learning research and applying it to consumer products, doesn’t currently play in this field, but that company, too, is starting to leverage some of this research across its productivity tools, too.


Microsoft Dynamics 365, An ERP CRM Cloud Workflow Combo


Smartphones to control combine harvesters? Not quite, more a case of electronic loans for the agricultural sector of Mexico — Image credit: Microsoft

Business transformation and (positive) digital disruption is everywhere. Yawn, yes we know, you’ve already gone to sleep. These terms have been over-used, over-hyped and hackneyed into a clichéd quagmire of unimaginative hogwash.

What transformation really means

Is it possible to talk about business transformation and stay awake? Possibly, but only if we can uncover what transformation really means today in 2016. So deep breathe then…

Business transformation describes the operational steps a firm takes to apply modern connected web, cloud, mobile, social, data analytics etc. technologies to do what it used to do before, but in a new faster and more efficient way. Essentially, this is a case of using new digital technologies to perform old business functions.

Business transformation can also describes the operational steps a firm takes to enter completely new markets. This act is sometimes (but not always) facilitated by the actual presence of digitization. Intel switched from memory chips to microprocessors, IBM switched from desktops to services, supermarkets starting to offer credit card services and so on.

It is not of course an a) and b) or 1. And 2. Conversation. There is a c) and most of the rest of the alphabet to finesse this argument in more complete terms, but this is a start.

Why the clarification here? Because Microsoft is getting ready to release it’s oh so ‘transformative-centric’ Microsoft Dynamics 365 product this fall — and to talk about it without some tangible grounding in business transformation feels like surrender to the hogwash quagmire. That’s why.

Microsoft corporate VP for cloud and enterprise Takeshi Numoto suggests that Redmond wants a world with applications where you don’t have to pay extra for capabilities like visualization, workflow automation and predictive insights. So how is Microsoft going to give us those functions, inside our apps, some of which we already use?

Connecting structured & unstructured workflow

Reflecting Alex Konrad’s report here on Forbes, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is essentially a piece of software that aims to unify both current CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions such as financials, sales, operations and customer service. The technology will integrate with Office 365 to connect the ‘structured workflow’ of business apps with the ‘unstructured workflow’ of collaboration and productivity.

“For example, a sales person receives an email and can respond directly in Office with a quote that is created based on information from both finance and sales apps, stored back to the right app, with right pricing, discounting etc. All without the user having to leave Outlook,” explains Numoto.

Microsoft is also working to natively embed its Power BI and Cortana Intelligence technologies to provide analytics insights and prescriptive advice to users. For example, Cortana Intelligence will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer will need.

“Access to IoT data inside Dynamics 365 for Field Service will enable preemptive action from field service agents by connecting asset monitoring and anomaly detection so they can take action before failures occur, avoiding customer service issues,” said Microsoft, in a press statement.

Redmond is rolling out Dynamics 365 this fall 2016 — it will sit alongside its Microsoft AppSource offering which is available already. This is positioned as Microsoft’s new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and its partners. At launch AppSource contains more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs.

One transformation tool to rule them all?

Is this one tool (or one software suite) to rule them all? Microsoft might have given its product a 365 every-day-of-the-year nametag, but it faces perennial market competition in this space from Salesforce, Oracle and (with ERP in mind specifically) SAP and a clutch of others. It will also have to work hard to make sure there is connected integrated compatibility throughout the evolution of Dynamics 365.

No, it seems we’re all going to be talking about business transformation and digital disruption for some time to come.

We will do this while also leveraging innovative better-empowered actionable embedded end-to-end user-centric mobile-first insight experiences, obviously. I hope you are well.



A New World: Cisco Holding Hands With Microsoft

After years of battling it out for collaboration supremacy, the ice between Cisco and Microsoft is thawing. Cisco Monday launched a new offering wrapped in channel incentives that allows interoperability between Cisco collaboration products and Microsoft’s Skype for Business.

Five Ways CRM Can Help You Get to Know Your Customers Better

For a while now, we’ve all heard that technology is driving people apart. Rather than shopping at the local store, we order online. Instead of playing sports, we play video games. Many of us don’t even go out to movies anymore, opting to wait until we can stream them at home. In fact, our lack of human connection has become so prevalent that online dating is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud. As technology pushes us apart, so too can it draw us together. People are now used to others knowing their personal data and accessing their public profiles. This single change in our way of thinking makes it possible for you to know your customers better than ever before. Here are five ways today’s technology is making these surprisingly close relationships a reality.

1. Customer profiles. Just like the profiles customers create for themselves on social media, we can now generate individual profiles for both potential and existing customers. These profiles start with each client’s social network data, their web searches related to your products, and their visits to your website. Every time a customer comments on your social profiles, views your products online, or engages with customer service, your knowledge of who they are grows.

2. New opportunities. Another benefit of customer profiles is their ability to generate new leads for your sales and marketing teams. Profiles that are less fleshed out than those of your return clients are really potential customers waiting to be won over. If you notice an individual who’s viewed your website a number of times and hovered over an item or two, it might be the right time to drop them a line or offer a discount on an item they’re interested in. Personalize their journey a bit and they just might become your newest return customer.

3. Social engagement. Individual customer profiles are fantastic when approaching people one on one, but when you want to speak to your entire audience you need a broader perspective. Social listening and engagement allows you to monitor sentiment at a glance across multiple channels and languages. This way, you’ll know how people feel about, say, pumpkins, right when you need to. Share that knowledge with your development and advertising teams and you could clean up come next fall.

4. Cloud-based knowledge. Speaking of sharing data, by housing your customer profiles and sentiment metrics in the cloud, you empower your entire team. Customer service can detect wavering sentiment on individual networks like Twitter or Pinterest and reach out. Sales can gauge an individual customer’s interest level and contact them when they’re ready to buy. Even your retail locations benefit, allowing your staff to greet customers by name and show them items their purchase history indicates they may be interested in.

5. Social selling. When you’re meeting with a new customer, it’s great to be introduced by a mutual friend. Identify potential customers that you share a contact with, and you’ll be starting your new relationship on that same strong foundation. Just like the clients you have profiles on already, you’ll want to learn everything you can about these new prospects. If you gather the proper insights into your new customers, their needs, and their routines, you’ll be perfectly set up to become that new friend they feel like they’ve known for years.

Strong connections don’t form themselves these days, but with the right technology at your back you just might find that you can create closer customer relationships than you have before. You can even start today.


Microsoft’s New Dynamics 365 Combines CRM, ERP In The Cloud, Enticing Channel Partners To Expand Practices

Microsoft’s introduction Wednesday of Dynamics 365, a cloud offering that combines the company’s Dynamics CRM and ERP products while incorporating deep integration with Office 365 productivity apps, could prove to be a catalyst for encouraging channel partners to expand their Microsoft practices. 

Salesforce Made An Offer For LinkedIn, But Got Outbid By Microsoft, Bloomberg Reports

Salesforce not only was trying to secure a deal to acquire LinkedIn, but drove up the price in a bidding war that forced Microsoft to pay an almost 50 percent premium on the social network’s market capitalization, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The San Francisco-based customer relationship management vendor saw the potential benefits of adding the professional networking site to its portfolio of cloud-based sales, marketing and service management products, but ultimately couldn’t top the $26.2 billion offered by the world’s largest software company.

Earlier this week, partners implementing Microsoft’s Dynamics customer relationship management told CRN that LinkedIn’s products and unrivaled store of business professional data would give them a potent weapon in battling Salesforce, the CRM leader.

Goldman Sachs advised Salesforce in negotiations, the business news site reported, and LinkedIn Executive Chairman Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner reached out to Microsoft to get the talks rolling, telling CEO Satya Nadella they had engaged financial advisers to shepherd a sale.

Once Microsoft integrates LinkedIn’s network — embedding contextual professional data directly into its sales management platforms — users would be able to seamlessly access a resource in a way no other CRM vendor could hope to match, Microsoft partners said.

Todd Schwartz, co-CEO of SkyKick, a Microsoft technology partner that offers a popular tool for on-boarding business customers to Microsoft’s cloud-based office productivity suite, illustrated to CRN what a potential integration of LinkedIn with Dynamics and other products could look like, and why it would enhance the experience of sales agents and marketers using those products.

“You’ll have more information about the people you do business with, having that social context, directly on an email,” Schwartz explained. “We could have a much more productive conversation based on the things we know about each other.”

That accessibility to potential buyers’ professional information directly through the Dynamics CRM would set Microsoft’s product apart in the ultra-competitive market, he said.

“If that experience can be differentiated because of a network we have in common, you’re much more likely to make the sale,” Schwartz said. “We use Dynamics internally. Having that at your fingertips, pre-integrated, would be super, super helpful.”