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Denise Holland Gartner Customer 360 Summit Review

3 stars Average rating: 3 (from 69 votes)
 By Denise Holland

Social CRM Steals the Show

The Gartner Customer 360 Summit was held June 28 to 30 in Los Angeles (Century City), CA. This is a recurring but renamed event (it was previously called CRM) with the traditional presentations about business and IT collaboration, and an upgraded agenda toward the emerging "social" dimension of customer experience and relationships.

The new and more assertive addition of 'social' brought a new mix of enterprise software and social legitimacy that I've not seen previously. The four conference tracks, each demonstrating a synergistic integration of enterprise and social, were:

i) Creating a customer centric enterprise
ii) Understanding the customer
iii) Growing customer relationships, and
iv) Engaging customers

While Gartner may have defined the above tracks as the anchor topics, and seemingly chose topics that could nicely integrate old traditional CRM with new(er) social CRM, the theme of the conference seemed to revolve around social CRM first and foremost, followed by the topics of collaboration, customer experience management (CEM) and CRM analytics, and finally left some time for traditional enterprise discussions such as increased attention to sales and marketing alignment or understanding why CRM systems fail so often. Actually on this later point, analyst Ed Thompson did speak to the often repeated CRM implementation failure rates of the last decade, however, his discussion was largely limited to the point that CRM systems don't fail as much as sales force automation (SFA) systems; a point which I would agree but stops short of providing new or updated recommendations or mitigating strategies.

While social CRM has become the buzzword bingo front runner in most CRM-related conferences, Gartner has always been a bit different. Frankly, they have historically forecast it as something big in the future, but not quite yet in the present. This conference displayed a change in attitude. Several sessions spoke to social CRM as the here and now, included somewhat practical as well as theoretical insight, released a social CRM magic quadrant during the show, and integrated this topic with customer experience management (CEM) – another topic that is in the here and now.

Gartner states that the global CRM software market is currently allocated as 90% (traditional) CRM, 9% analytics and 1% social CRM, however, forecasts those figures will change to about 70%, 20% and 10% respectively. While I believe their forecast reallocation is on the right track, I'm suspecting that social CRM will be the 20% while CRM analytics will continue to be the tool that fails to take market share from the other categories. Frankly, I think these market allocations will become moot in a few years as the old stodgy traditional CRM vendors build or acquire, mainly acquire, many of the social CRM players and effectively merge these two segments. Perhaps this is their back door strategy to keep 90% of the market.

I had the opportunity to speak with several Gartner CRM analysts one on one – including Michael Maoz (who was attending this event for the 18th time), Rob Disisto, Kim Collins and Ed Thompson - and found the conversations interesting, but not revealing. I was looking for new research which would suggest recommendations to mitigate or improve upon long standing CRM challenges and obstacles – perhaps new incentives to improve the always present user adoption challenges, more effective approaches to change management, updated comparison points in best of breed versus suite providers now that the applications have further matured, whether open source CRM is making inroads, business case and ROI models for social CRM, better techniques in master data management, or whether CRM analytics will ever stop being the forecasted big growth category and become the actual big growth category. Unfortunately, many of my inquiries and agenda items didn't make the cut. Perhaps I'm trapped in the real world and need to somehow advance to the world of tomorrow which is full of much cooler stuff.

The vendors trade floor exhibition was a bit anemic; probably less than 20 vendors showcasing their wares. Unfortunately, several notable CRM vendors such as Salesforce.com were absent; although this example may not be so surprising as Salesforce doesn't exhibit at Gartner shows. Nonetheless, Gartner advertises that the solutions showcase allows CRM buyers to develop their short lists, which doesn't seem realistic if a top vendor isn't present. If you are making your short list by reviewing market share, one session shared the top market share leaders as follows:

1. SAP at 22%
2. Oracle at 16%
3. Salesforce.com at 12%, and
4. Microsoft at 6%.

I continue to be surprised that SAP retains more market share than the combined Oracle/PeopleSoft/Siebel customer base, but I'm sure the numbers can be debated at nausea without any illumination. While Microsoft is currently number 4, they are building what appears to be some extremely strong momentum. Watch for them to surge in the coming year.

This conference did an impressive job of bringing the enterprise software and social media crowds together and I noticed that many of the enterprise folks seemed to demonstrate real interest in understanding social media within their business contexts. The show was well done, but I would be remiss if I didn't offer some recommendations. Surprising for a Gartner event, the show was light on new research, methodologies supporting the new social CRM discussions and How To recommendations. With the exception of the new social CRM magic quadrant on the last day, with Jive and Lithium being named to the top right quadrant, there wasn't any real announcements or information releases that you would talk about later that night over dinner. Often times analysts line up multiple research releases to coincide with the annual big event. For this show, that seemed to be limited to the last day and for a single topic. Perhaps as social CRM becomes more settled, we'll see research releases beyond the product-based magic quadrant and in additional categories in future years.End

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