The Inside Scoop On How The CRM Vendors Stack Up

The most frequent question I get every day is, “What is the best CRM technology solution for my company?” To respond, I worked with a team of five other Forrester analysts (Boris Evelson, Rob Karel, Jim Kobielus, Craig Le Clair, and Roy Wildeman) to evaluate 19 leading CRM solutions against more than 500 product feature, platform, and market presence criteria. Here’s a sneak peek at the key findings from two new reports: “The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites For Large Organizations”, and “The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites for Midsized Organizations”.

Oracle Siebel CRM and SAP CRM still offer the most complete solutions, with improved usability. SAP has been steadily working to fill out its CRM offering, resulting in end-to-end process integration support that no longer comes at the expense of missing CRM functionality. Meanwhile, Oracle Siebel CRM is still the most full-featured CRM solution, with a breadth and depth of functionality for many industry verticals. Both vendors have moved to address key complaints: poor usability, high cost, and long implementation times. Siebel 8.1 features the Siebel User Interface, which can be highly personalized and is task-driven. The SAP CRM 7.0 UI is flexible to support varying roles and offers drag-and-drop personalization that allows any section of any page to be rearranged by the end user. Both vendors are working to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for their customers by introducing more preintegrations with other solutions from within their respective corporate families and offering “rapid implementation” methodologies and tools to reduce upgrade costs.

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Entries For Forrester's Voice Of The Customer Awards 2010 — Wow!

We just finished judging the entries for Forrester's Voice of the Customer Awards 2010. Announcing the winners will have to wait until we’re onstage at the Customer Experience Forum in New York on June 29. But there is something I want to announce right now: I am really impressed by the entries! :-)

Because I was also a judge last year, I couldn’t help but notice some big changes from last year. Here they are in no particular order:

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Returning To Forrester

I’m delighted to return to Forrester and its Customer Experience team after eight years of running my own business and technology strategy consulting practice.  

I’m returning to the same group in which I worked before with Harley Manning and his team. It was in that group that I helped develop and implement Forrester’s Web Site Usability methodology, wrote reports like “Must Search Stink?” and “Smart Personalization,” promoted the use of customer data intelligence and CRM systems to drive proactive interactions that I called “Tier Zero Customer Service,” and reported on the uses of early community-based tools for customer service (today it's "social CRM").

A frequent question that I've been asked in the scores of phone calls over the past several weeks since my return has been: What are you going to cover? The short term answer is primarily four topic areas: 

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