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Study predicts bump-up for CRM services

A study by research firm Dataquest finds that the market for customer relationship management services should grow 15 percent this year.

The market for customer relationship management (CRM) services should grow 15 percent this year, according to a new study.

The CRM services market totaled $22 billion in 2001, up 10.6 percent from the year before, according to Dataquest, a unit of market researcher Gartner. Dataquest thinks that number will grow to $25.3 billion this year and reach $47 billion by 2006.

CRM software promises to help streamline customer service, support sales staff and aid companies in finding new customers and managing current ones. The main growth drivers for the future should be IT management services and business management services, according to the report.

Although CRM software and services have become increasingly popular, at least some people are starting to question their efficacy, with recent reports finding that a large number of such projects fail to deliver on stated goals.

According to Dataquest, it will be important for CRM vendors to make sure their business goes beyond just selling and installing the software.

"Continued success in this market will depend on the vendors' ability to look beyond implementation services and focus on developing CRM strategy and architectures that map with specific process expectations," said Debashish Sinha, principal Dataquest IT services analyst, in a release.

Though the market is growing, it may not be growing as fast at big companies, which are likely to begin to reevaluate their CRM strategies, Dataquest said. The biggest growth is expected to come from the small and midsize business market.