The Demand For Industry-Specific CRM Explodes

Horizontal CRM solutions — as mature as they are (and they have been around for 20+ years) — don't always do a good job at supporting industry-specific business processes. Consider these examples: CRM users in manufacturing need capabilities to track projects, schedules, time sheets, labor efficiencies, and equipment inventory in addition to core CRM attributes. Alternatively, a real estate professional would like to use CRM to track not only client contact information but also additional data elements such as properties, lease/sales comps, and stacking plans, which illustrate how healthy a property is in terms of tenants and leases.

So, over the years, CRM vendors have built vertical market software applications from the ground up for specific industries. Historic, heavyweight on-premises applications — like Oracle Siebel, with 21 built-on industry verticals — are giving way to newer, more agile software-as-a-service vertical offerings that offer scripted best practices. And other vendors have taken a different tactic and developed lighter-weight systems of engagement to consolidate and visualize data from disparate systems to drive better decision-making. This leaves a CRM buyer with three options to choose from:

CRM Type

Description

Pros

Cons

Horizontal CRM

Offers broad CRM capabilities across all industries

- Natively supports capabilities required for a particular vertical (ex policy automation, channel management)

- Can be customized and integrated with other applications to meet exact business requirements and drive adoption

- Customizations can be costly and difficult to manage over time

- User experience is hampered by superfluous features

Lightweight vertical CRM

Includes UI templates, common process flows that do not script the end-to-end process, data model extensions, and UI labels

- Offers core common standardized, industry-specific process flows.

- Shields clients from technical obsolescence with solutions built on top of a well supported CRM platforms like Oracle, Salesforce, and or Microsoft.

- Vertical solutions may not be robust enough for an industry

- Demands further technology management investment for customization to exact business requirements

Deeply vertical CRM

Provides end-to-end scripted industry processes

- Support for industry processes drive higher adoption rates

- Includes compliance to industry standards and regulations

- Fully scripted processes can be "over-verticalized" with little ability to customize to business requirements

- Vendors often lack large market – and revenue – to support the level of continuous innovation compared to horizontal CRM vendors

Comments

CRM for Financial Services

I appreciate the post Kate, the insight from your research is compelling. I believe that deep vertical CRM is important for organizations looking to leverage their best practices and extend their competitive differentiation. Industry expertise translates to more strategic solutions in most instances. Highly regulated industries, such as financial services, perhaps gain the most from a vertical solution as they can go beyond sales force automation and customer service to deliver a more engaging experience while respecting compliance and audit requirements.

Cyber Security

Enterprise software is software designed for organizational rather than personal use, and often refers to transactional systems for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and associated modules (or best of breed software) for managing finance, customer relationships, supply chain or human resources.

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