Still need evidence that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology is hot? Then take a quick look at recent research from Gartner, which shows CRM spending in Europe remains strong despite continuing economic problems.

Half of the 102 businesses surveyed in 30 countries and 20 industries in the fourth quarter last year plan to increase spending an average of 2.5 percent on CRM projects this year.

Opportunity Knocks

Apart from providing considerable opportunities for CRM vendors, it also demonstrates enterprises are still putting customers at the heart of their business, at least in Europe. They are also willing to invest in technology that will not only develop customer relationships, but will also keep those relationships healthy.

The results echo a wider study on global CRM spending which was published last month. That showed that spending on CRM is being driven by five areas of technology:

  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Big Data
  • Cloud
  • Internet of Things

In that report, Gartner estimated that, globally, investment in CRM would rise to $23.9 billion this year, with cloud-based technologies accounting for 49 percent of that.

Currently, software as a service (SaaS) or cloud-based CRM deployments represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, and are likely to reach 50 percent in 2015 as more and more enterprises look for agile technologies to respond to business challenges.

The European survey, gives some more insights into those trends even if the study may be considered regional. However, the link between business in Europe and the US are so strong that, generally speaking, what applies in the US also applies in Europe, and vice versa.

"The survey findings highlight the continuing trend for organizations to commit to improving the management of their customer relationships," said Jim Davies, research director at Gartner. "We are observing an increasing number of large, transformational projects being undertaken as organizations look to embrace social and mobile interactions for sales, marketing and customer support.

CRM in 2014.jpg

European CRM in Figures

Digging a little bit deeper into those figures, the research shows Gartner is expecting the CRM market in Europe to grow by 9 percent this year reaching a market value of $5.5 billion by the end of this year.

More than 49 percent of all that technology will be through SaaS — a little ahead of the global figure where this level of spending outside of Europe will only be reached by the end of next year — a dramatic increase on the figure of 1 percent in 1999.