With all the discussion around customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience management (CXM), it is hard to believe that one of the major issues facing enterprises is defining CRM strategies. According to Forrester’s William Band, this problem is compounded by a shifting CRM landscape.

Band sat down with CMSWire late last week to have a look at his new "TechRadar for AD&D Pros: The Extended CRM Technology Ecosystem, Q1 2013" playbook, to tease out some of its findings and to find out what exactly is going on here.

For those who haven't come across Forrester playbooks before, they offer practical research and recommendations to help enterprises navigate their way through difficult technology-based landscapes -- in this case the CRM landscape.

Deep Customer Engagement

The first thing to note, he says, is that the way of the future for enterprises is deep customer engagement. This isn't exactly new, but needs to be underlined constantly. In the current CRM space, this means evolving to find new solutions that will engage with social consumers and enrich the customer experience through community based interactions.

Enterprises must evolve to find innovative new solutions to engage with emerging social consumers and enrich the customer experience through community-based interactions across multiple channels. Firms need to take an “outside-in” approach, where deep engagement with customers is the key to success.

Extended CRM Ecosystem

The report itself covers the lifecycle of 20 technologies that constitute the extended CRM ecosystem, and remains key for organizations, even if new capabilities like social engagement, BPM, loyalty management and advanced customer data management and analytics are enabling cross-channel interactions.

While traditional technologies will continue to be used for the benefit of the organization -- what Band describes as an “inside-out” approach -- the enterprises that have an edge will be those that develop outside-in approaches for their clients -- described as an approach that enables strong intra-organizational and customer collaboration between enterprises and their clients.

Enterprises also have to enable customer interactions across an increasing number of touchpoints. While they use existing CRM technology to interact with customers through traditional touchpoints, they can't use traditional or legacy systems.

CRM Market Consolidation

This is all happening against a background of consolidation and turmoil across the CRM landscape itself. Some of the main points here include:

  • Oracle: You’d have to be living on a desert island not to see this one. Over the past two years, Oracle doesn't seem to have stopped buying with notable acquisition including ATG, Market2Lead’s intellectual property and InQuira, the knowledge management solution vendor. In 2012, it also snapped up Endeca and RightNow Technologies.
  • SAP: SAP has been busy with the acquisition of Sybase and SuccessFactors, the SaaS human capital management company, while it also entered into a partnership with eGain for knowledge management.
  • Salesforce.com:  It has turned into a bit of an acquisition animal as it builds out its platform with notable acquisitions of Radian6 that completed its Salesforce.com marketing cloud, and DimDim, a collaboration vendor. It also bought out Model Metrics.
  • Microsoft: In the past, Microsoft has focused on an internal development strategy for Dynamics CRM, but is now beefing up its integrated marketing capabilities with acquisitions like the Marketing Pilot buy in 2012.
  • Pegasystems and KANA: Both are bringing business process management (BPM) offerings into the CRM space. While Pegasystems announced the acquisition of CRM vendor Choridiant in 2010 to strengthen its SmartBPM suite, KANA bought Sword Ciboodle -- a BPM solution with deep capabilities to support contact center processes -- in 2012.

Of course, there are many other smaller vendors that have been buying what they need to build up and out, but the move has been towards consolidation and it remains to be seen just how long it will take before many of these smaller players are snapped up in turn by the bigger players.

TechRadar For The extended CRM Ecosystem

It is against this backdrop that Band has developed this list of what he sees as the 20 most important types of applications in the CRM ecosystem (see diagram below for the full list).

Forrester Extended CRM Ecosystem 2013 Q1.jpg

The 20 technologies that appear here are those that support all activities around the management of customer relationships, including: targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding and collaborating with customers.

In mapping the futures of these technologies, Band says, they found: