| By David Sims
The Australia CRM Software Market—A Microcosm of the Western Market
The fact is, the CRM market in Australia tracks that of the rest of the developed world pretty closely. Aussie business people want the same thing other countries want from their CRM, they use the same ROI metrics used elsewhere and they want to use the latest social media advancements to provide real-time information to mobile employees.
Take a look at these CRM priorities listed for Australian firms in a report produced a couple years ago. Written specifically for Australian lending brokers working off commission, the report, was titled "CRM Shopping List: Twelve Things You Should Expect In A Good CRM." Here are the top three recommendations specifically for The Desert of Oz, mind you (I can say that since I'm married to a Kiwi and currently live in New Zealand):
Find CRM that is industry specific. "A CRM system designed for industrial selling, or car sales, or a garden centre won't know about lenders, LVR's, settlement dates, securities or all the other details that lending specialists need."
Find one that uses local knowledge. "Is it produced in Australia? Lending overseas is substantially different to Australia. US and UK systems use US and UK terminology and confuse more than clarify."
Find one with a simple setup. "You shouldn't need to pay a tech to install your new CRM system. A good system should be just plug and play."
There you go. Substitute whatever proper nouns you want in the second one, spell "centre" correctly and it's advice that applies anywhere in America. Oh, and here are seven popular CRM offerings down here, according to Crocodile Marketing. See if you recognize any of the names here: Act by Sage, Infusionsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Oracle, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM.
The only thing particularly Aussie there is the name of the marketing company, right? The fact is, the CRM software market down here in Australasia would be comfortable and familiar to the rest of the West -- Aussies and Kiwis consider themselves geographically dispersed Westerners, not Asians or Pacificans. Business norms and styles are user-friendly for North Americans and Europeans, not Chinese or Indonesians.
April is the cruelest month to use yearly projections made before January 1 — are they still looking ahead at the year by April, or should they be judged by the year's reality at this point? At any rate, SugarCRM's Australia country manager, Tony Hughes, told CIO Australia in predicting the CRM market that the next year "will be the year when customer relationship management (CRM) software becomes truly customer centric and based on an open, cloud-oriented model," and that "a second generation of CRM tools," particularly social media, will emerge this year.
Which as this writer recalls was a prediction made by many in North America as well, right?
That "second generation" will include integrating social media, Hughes said, adding that he thinks this "will be a year defined by CRM systems that don't cause vendor lock-in." He also sees a shift away from "inflexible, non-customer centric" ERP systems in favor of providing real time information for mobile workers via CRM tools.
Not that Australia's been a laggard in this. In 2008 industry observer Stan Beer noted that Australia is leading in CRM adoption, and that according to an IDC study, Australia was at the forefront of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies, particularly offerings with "no vendor lock-in, access to the source code and Open Source network support."
And in 2011, according to an Ovum study cited by industry journal Enterprise Innovation, at least 55 percent of Australian executives said their outsourcing CRM budgets would increase, as well as their overall CRM software budgets, "owing to the general positivity of the Australian economy."
The Ovum study found that 65 percent of Australian businesses surveyed rated increasing revenue as the most important goal, 60 percent put customer satisfaction second, and stuff like "cost control" and "improving internal processes" were lower in priority. Not that different from the rest of the world at that point.
Ovum analyst Jens Butler said Aussie executives want "the ability to grow business and a base of satisfied end users" as the goal of their CRM outsourcing strategy," and that they have "an overwhelming preference for dealing with locally-based CRM outsourcers." How different is that from other regional CRM goals and preferences?
In fact, the Ovum study found Australian businesses' top criteria for outsourcer selection focus on "a high degree of agent language capabilities," due to the Aussies' "strong end-user interactions facilitating cross-selling and up selling."
Categories: Australia CRM
Tags: ANZ CRM, Australia New Zealand CRM
Author: David Sims