CRM Software & Analytics

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business strategy intended to understand, anticipate and satisfy customers. CRM analytics deliver the intelligence to achieve the CRM strategy. For our Spanish friends, el Guía de Aplicación CRM.

CRM and customer analytics, sometimes called business intelligence (BI), deliver timely and insightful trends, patterns, notifications or other data driven insight about an company's customers and their customer behaviors, which enable them to better anticipate, predict and respond to customers for business growth opportunities, customer retention and other important goals. In a not so simple way, CRM analytics and Business Intelligence help decision makers and customer facing staff make better and more timely decisions.

While there is clear upside from better and more timely information, few companies have implemented customer analytics as part of their customer relationship management software system. To help make this transition, senior executives should educate themselves with market research, product reviews, case studies and recommended approaches used by peers for maximizing CRM software ROI and customer-centric business objectives.

Business Intelligence (BI)

CRM and customer analytics software tools are often part of a broader business intelligence suite, which may or may not include small data marts, larger data warehouses, data mining, online analytical processing (OLAP) and predictive analytics. The suite of BI tools aggregate, categorize (usually by measures and dimensions), model and deliver the high volumes of customer data and transactions and activities in easy to consume and visual views so that decision makers can learn from the data and take action to improve business performance.

According to research and analyst firm Gartner, global BI software sales are forecast to reach more than $11.3 billion by 2012, up from just over $9.7 billion in 2010. Analyst firm IDC is even more optimistic, forecasting a global market for BI and analytics software to grow from $25.5 billion in 2010 to $34 billion by the end of 2014.