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.

CDC Pivotal, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle CRM On Demand, RightNow, and are gaining ground. These products all get high marks for ease of use and relatively fast deployment times. RightNow and, which are software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, are much faster to deploy and easier to change than traditional on-premises offerings. Oracle CRM On Demand is gaining traction in the market as a SaaS companion to Oracle Siebel CRM. Microsoft also offers a SaaS solution — Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online — and buyers value the native integration with Outlook for both the on-premises and SaaS versions. CDC’s Pivotal leverages Microsoft technology to offer a solution that is highly flexible and adaptable to complex use cases.

Oracle EBS CRM and Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM are good options for ERP customers. Oracle EBS CRM attracts customers by providing ease of integration into the rest of the Oracle EBS suite and offering strengths in field service and sales compensation management. ERP integration is also a strength of PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM, which has unique functionality to meet the relationship management needs of the higher-education sector and offers new solutions to support human resources professionals.

Chordiant Software, Pegasystems, and Sword Ciboodle fill business process gaps. As enterprises begin to understand the importance of truly integrating end-to-end customer-facing processes from front office to back office, they turn to solutions with native business process management (BPM) capabilities that can support highly unique — and flexible — process flows. Sword Ciboodle has pushed into the CRM market with its focus on the intersection of business process modeling, customer service, and customer interaction management. Pegasystems offers robust BPM capabilities and is building out a pre-templated set of solutions to support customer-facing processes — with a focus on customer service. Chordiant also offers a process-centric platform combined with advanced decisioning tools to orchestrate multichannel interactions. In April 2010, Pegasystems acquired Chordiant in a move that will result in an even more robust process-centric solution approach for the CRM market.

Seven vendors offer sound solutions for midsized firms at lower price points. Solutions from FrontRange Solutions, Maximizer Software, NetSuite, SageCRM, Sage SalesLogix, the CRM functionality in SAP Business-All-in-One, and SugarCRM target the midsized and small organization market, but they continue to be improved and find a home in smaller divisions of large enterprises. These vendors offer a breadth (although not depth) of CRM capability at a lower price point than many of the more well-known solutions that cater to the needs of larger enterprises.


Usability of CRM Applications

For CRM implementations, usability of the CRM system plays a crucial role in forming initial opinions about the system and whether it will be able to deliver the vision. While most CRM providers are aware of this and some have invested heavily on usability related research, I have seen multiple issues with the usability of CRM systems. CRM vendors as well as System Integrators need to understand their direct and end customers better in terms of demographics, psychographics etc to make systems that are in tune with their individual needs and backgrounds.
This is an excerpt from the topic Culture Change to enhance CRM Acceptance at

Thanks for discussing the big

Thanks for discussing the big names on CRM. I also found this reference which can also be usable to your readers looking for CRM comparison

Microsoft best in startegy !!!

I am still unable to digest this finding. Even after the fact (a few of many) that MS's latest version is 30 month old! Product and development platform tightly coupled with MS technology, don't see even a move that they are thinking anything about Social CRM, treats CRM as an absolute horizontal with no vertical flavor. Also it's difficult to accept the functional rating where MS has got more than Siebel or even in ‘Sales’ functionality!

Another CRM solution

Another CRM solution targeting Small and Medium sized businesses worth having a look into is intelecrm. It is a web based CRM that follows a unique model that charges subscribers according to the quantity of records and data storage used.

Why SaaS deployments of CRM are still faster, easier

Hi Bill,

Thanks for highlighting that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors in your report are providing easier to change, faster to deploy solutions (than traditional on-premises offerings). The #RNOW CX suite scored high marks for easy of use and relatively fast deployment times. I'm looking forward to reading the Customer Service Wave when it's published in August and learning more about the various vendors, a sub-set of who you included in the CRM Waves.

Now, let's check out the infographics on readership and the Inquiries these reports are generating from your clients.


Isn't it amusing that Oracle...

has 4 different products in the CRM wave! Is there any real investment happening to enhance any of these solutions? I find it hard to believe that Oracle continues to be a leader as is portrayed in the report.

Great overview of today’s

Great overview of today’s solutions. The comments are also very helpful in providing even more information for anyone who’s currently doing their homework on which CRM solution to select. I would advocate as well that the solution isn’t the only thing that should be evaluated. While it’s imperative to know what your needs are from the beginning, it is also important to know how much budget you have (and in turn, what you can afford), plans are in place for implementation, on-going training, future ‘potential’ projection plans based on growth. Another key factor to investigate is the CRM solutions provider. Finding the right CRM consultant is perhaps as—or in some cases, more—important than the solution itself. Sure you need a solution that will produce end-results, while meeting all your needs; but you’ll never get there if you don’t have a seasoned consultant telling you how to get there and helping you along the way. Assistance with fine-tuning a plan, a budget, a timeline, identifying all the options on the market- all of which can’t be done just by reading up on a solutions’ bells and whistles.