The CRM Vendors Arms Race

The competition among CRM vendors sometimes has all the characteristics of an arms race. Software and Cloud providers like Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce seem to be showing off with the number versions and features that they can bring to the market and they try to win in the time needed to bring new functionality to the market. The result of this feature-race, however, is that the customers of these vendors, the users of their applications, are confronted with major costs for upgrades and consultancy and are being overwhelmed with functions that they definitely won’t be using n the near future.

This week Microsoft even announced that they will add online learning and ‘what-is-new’ discovery tools to their 2016 release of CRM, herewith acknowledging the fact that customers and partners are tired of adopting new versions that are released and thrown out to the market just like that.

Being in arm race is very costly, so I don’t think the vendors actually gain a lot by the current situation. The ones who are monetizing on the confusion and on the overkill of available features are the consultancy organizations. And then of course especially the ones billing by the hour. They make tons of money on every undesired but necessary upgrade on research projects looking into the options to implement new features and on change management projects.

Personally I do believe that the time is right for more simple software solutions. Solutions capable of supporting relationship management and streamlining sales and marketing processes, but not having the burden of an arm-race that the software supplier happens to be trapped in.

I am convinced that today there is a huge market for down-to- earth CRM tools. That hardly require any consultancy to implement. Applications with the Keep-It-Simple (KIS) approach in mind. Applications that are there to serve the customers, and not to overcome the competition.

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