16 Most Important Features of CRM Software You Must Know

Features of CRM software.

This is one of the most important part of CRM that you must know.

Why?

Because

Multiple research reports say that 30% – 60% CRM implementation projects fail or not able to serve as expected.

And

There are 3 KEY reasons behind this failure are –

  1. Lack of Product Insight
  2. Undefined Goals
  3. Lack of User Adoption and Training

5 Best SoapUI alternative applications to test web services

I have analyzed more than 15 web services testing tools to find out SoapUI alternative applications.

Specifically I looked at 2 main aspects – product features and user friendliness.

I have learnt a lot.

And I am sure, you will too.

Here I have listed down 5 best SoapUI alternative applications that you can try.

But it is also true that…

Whenever I test web services, very first tool that comes in my mind is SoapUI.

Why?

Importance of CRM Software: 18 Powerful Reasons Why You Need CRM

Importance of CRM Software?

I am telling you:

Working as a CRM Business Analyst, this is one of the most frequently asked questions that I have faced.

And you know what?

When I tell them about benefits of CRM, very next question that comes is –

What is best CRM for my business?

In today’s super competitive age, it is really difficult to run a business without systematic approach.

And I call that approach as CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

History Of CRM Software – An Exciting Journey From Ledger To SaaS

History of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

Let me tell you, History is not always a dull, monotonous subject. (Really ?)

However I never understood – what is the point of knowing King X fought with King Y 1000 years ago! 🙁

But guess what?

Here I will talk about History of CRM Software. (I am serious!)

And,

I am telling you, History of CRM is not boring like our History subject. 

Over the past few decades, CRM has undergone sea-changes – from old ledger days to today’s Cloud/SaaS based CRM.

So, let’s start the fun!

History Of CRM:

evolution of crm customer relationship management

♦  Beginning Of Journey – The Ledger

Ledger is the oldest form of CRM.

Those days paper and pen were enough for businesses to note down basic customer details and sales information.

crm history timeline

♦  Late 1950s – The Rolodex

Remember,

A device with rotating wheel fitted with removable cards –

rolodex - history of crm

Yes, that’s a Rolodex – a rotating file device to store contact information.

Rolling + Index = Rolodex

It holds special kind of index cards that can be removed or added to the rotating spindle. Each card contains details about a person or company.

In 1956, Danish engineer Hildaur Neilsen invented Rolodex, an improved version of Wheeldex. (Source: Wikipedia).

It made life bit easier than ledger as business could easily locate customers, update details or add new customers.

♦  Early 1970s – Mainframe System

Digitization started with Mainframe system.

Mainframe digitized all manual files to save storage space, organize customer data and facilitate quick search.

But,

Mainly large organizations used it for critical applications and bulk data processing such as consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning and transaction processing.

evolution of crm customer relationship management

You may wonder,

Why 1970s when Mainframe computers were available from 1950s?

Though mainframe was invented in late 1950s, there was almost no user interface till early 1970s.

In earlier days, data was mainly uploaded in batch mode in Mainframe system using punched cards, paper tape or magnetic tape.

By early 1970s, many mainframes got interactive user interfaces. It helped users to work simultaneously along with batch processing.

IBM played a major role in producing mainframe system.

Since inception, mainframe system has gone through many ups and downs. Modern mainframe can run multiple different instances of operating systems at the same time. This technique of virtual machines enables applications to run as if they were on physically distinct computers.

Mainframe is the most secure system with low single digit vulnerabilities compared to other systems like Windows, Unix, and Linux.

Many organizations, mainly financial and airline sector, still use it for back end transaction processing.

In 2015, IBM launched its most recent generation mainframe – IBM z13.

( Want to know more about Mainframe? I would suggest you to take 2 training courses – The Complete Mainframe Professional Course of TSO/ISPF and JCL. )

♦  Early 1980s – Database Marketing

Database marketing played a major role in history of CRM software. It was the first big move to integrate customers with sales strategy.

Database marketing was improved form of direct marketing. Organizations started to collect and analyze customer details to gain better insight about customers’ behavior.

Marketing professionals used to communicate directly with customers or prospects for higher conversion. It helped business to send personalized communications to increase sales.

But,

Main drawback of database marketing is that it was more like a one way communication.

There was no way to track customers’ responses.

Mainly Robert D. Bob and Kate Kestnbaum pioneered database marketing. They developed new metrics including customer lifetime value and applying financial modelling to marketing strategies.

In 1967, they founded a consulting firm ‘Kestnbaum & Co‘. This was the training ground for many of database marketing leaders and thinkers like Robert Blattberg, Rick Courtheaux and Robert Shaw.(Source: Wikipedia).

In 1980s, Kestnbaum collaborated with Robert Shaw and developed marketing database for many big organizations like BT (20 million customers), BA (10 million), Barclays (13 million).

Shaw introduced new features into the Kestnbaum approach like

  • Telephone and field sales channel automation
  • Contact strategy optimization
  • Campaign management
  • Marketing resource management
  • Marketing accountability and analytics

(Source: Wikipedia)

Later these features have been incorporated into CRM.

♦  Late 1980s – Contact Management Software

YES!

– Acronym for ‘Yes, Everybody Sells!’.

In 1986, Mike Muhney and Pat Sullivan founded Conductor Software in Carrollton, Texas. They started a new project named as ‘YES!’. This was later known as ‘ACT!’.

history of customer relationship management software

In 1987, Conductor Software lunched first contact management software – ACT!.

Original name was Activity Control Technology and then changed to Automated Contact Tracking.

It was the first contact management software. Later Goldmine and other vendors also released CMS applications.

CMS was nothing but a digital rolodex.

It helped business to store and manage customer data efficiently. It also connected various business units like sales, marketing, service mostly by back end jobs.

To use CMS system, companies had to invest a lot in software and hardware maintenance and dedicated IT employees.

♦  Early 1990s – Sales Force Automation

In early 90s, database marketing transformed into Sales Force Automation (SFA).

It enabled companies to track leads, contacts, opportunities, quotes and many other sales related business functionalities efficiently.

Sales Force Automation = Contact Management System + Lead Tracking System

Those days, Siebel was the most popular SFA software in the market. It played an important role in evolution of Customer Relationship Management.

In 1993, Thomas Siebel and Patricia House founded Siebel Inc.

And,

In 1995, Siebel Inc. released first Siebel Sales Enterprise software for sales force automation.

Today SFA is a part of CRM beside marketing and customer service.

1995 – Birth Of CRM Acronym

In 1995, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is coined.

origin of customer relationship management

Who invented that name?

Well,

That’s a debatable matter.

Mostly credit goes to technology research company Gartner. But some point to Tom Siebel also.

Few other names were also considered like Customer Information Management (CIM), Customer Information System (CIS), Enterprise Customer Management (ECM). But CRM stood out and accepted by majority.

♦  Late 1990s – CRM On Mobile

history of crm software

In late 90s, many ERP vendors like Oracle, SAP entered into CRM market via acquisitions or in-house development.

In 1997, Siebel made two acquisitions – InterActive WorkPlace Inc.and Nomadic Systems Inc. It became the fastest growing company in United States.

In 1999, Siebel released first mobile CRM – Siebel Sales handheld.

Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft also launched mobile version of their CRM applications.

However,

Mobile adoption was not so popular those days due to lack of devices and network connectivity.

In 1999, former Oracle executive Marc Benioff and 3 others (Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez) formed Salesforce.com, a company specialized in software as a service (SaaS). (Source: Wikipedia )

A new era of CRM began…

But

♦  2000 – Y2K Strike

You know about Y2K problem, right?

Like other software applications, CRM was also hit hard by dot-com bubble.

Oracle experienced a loss in licenses of over 25%.

For the first time, Siebel reported decline in quarterly revenue.

Cloud based software industries were hit hardest as companies stopped spending on dot.com technology.

 2000s – Acquisition And Innovation

history of customer relationship management

Post Y2K, many new vendors entered into CRM market.

In 2001, Microsoft acquired Navision and released Dynamic CRM in 2003. The main benefit of this CRM is its strong integration with other Microsoft products like Outlook, MS Word.

In 2006, Oracle acquired Siebel in a deal worth $5.8 billion.

In 2007, Salesforce.com launched force.com, cloud based application development environment. This was a major step to push CRM in the cloud – Software As A Service. Force.com is a platform as a service (PaaS) that allows developers to create multi-tenant add-on applications. 

And with this a chapter started in history of CRM software.

In 2008, CRM turned into Social CRM. Companies started to track customers’ social behavior more closely to give better customer experience.

 Today’s CRM

Today’s CRM is more social and mobile friendly.

From ledger to SaaS, CRM has already completed a long journey and is still evolving.

Companies have shifted their focus from Transaction to Interaction.

Now a days, increasing customer value is more important than customer acquisition.

Customer Loyalty - Repeat business 2

Acquiring a new customer is five times costlier than retaining an existing customer. (Source: 29 Customer Loyalty Statistics )

With help of big data, CRM is now more focused on understanding customer data. Plain data has been converted to knowledge and actionable information.

It helps businesses to run targeted campaign, reduce sales time, increase customer experience and loyalty, predict accurate ROI and customer response.

In near future, CRM will be tightly integrated with Internet Of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Before I close this article, a quick look on current CRM market share and revenue.

scope of siebel crm in future

Today we have more than 100 CRM applications from different vendors.

Though Salesforce, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft collectively hold almost 50% of CRM market share, few other niche players are – 

  • Adobe
  • Zoho
  • Sugar CRM
  • Base
  • Sage
  • Netsuite

As per Gartner, worldwide CRM revenue will touch $36.5B by 2017, up from $13.9B in 2010.

Friendly Recommendations:

From the above statistics, it is clear that Salesforce.com has major CRM market share.

But surprisingly Indeed.com job trend report shows that Microsoft Dynamics CRM has more job opportunities than Salesforce.

is siebel dead

So it is your choice – you want to go with Salesforce or MS CRM. Both will give you good job opportunities.

You will find many training courses and learning materials on the web for both CRM applications.

But if you ask me to recommend JUST 3 COURSES, here it is –

  1. The Complete Salesforce Administrator Certification Course
  2. Salesforce Platform App Builder Developer 401 Certification
  3. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customisation & Config

That’s it!!

Now it is your turn. Please share what do you think about history of CRM software.

Did I miss any?

Where CRM is heading in near future?

And a difficult question – who invented CRM ? 😀

Next article: What does CRM stand for and what is CRM?

Keep in touch, follow TechOneStop on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+.

Future of Siebel CRM in 2017: Is it still a choice for building career?

Future of Siebel CRM – it is still one of the most debatable topics in CRM.

And it is more confusing when you see a small spike in Siebel job trend.

Yes! I am serious.

scope of siebel crm in future

Source: Indeed.com

But before we dig deep, let me thank you all for your overwhelming responses!

You may wonder why…

Well,

Last year I published an article about ‘Future of Siebel CRM’.

And, believe it nor not,

I have received 79 emails plus good social media responses and few comments as well.

But,

It is the time to rewrite the article with updated data and new statistics.

One question that many readers asked –

‘If there is no future of Siebel, why Oracle is still investing and releasing Innovation Pack every year?’

This is quite a valid question, isn’t it?

If there is no plan, why Oracle is still investing in innovation?

In this article we will go deeper to find answer. Also we will discuss about current CRM market trend, market share and where Siebel stands in 2017.

And yes,

I will answer – Did Oracle stop selling Siebel to new customers?

But now,

Take a look – how CRM market looks now and in near future.

CRM World Wide market

(Source: Statista)

It is expected that by 2020, CRM market will reach 24 billion U.S. dollars globally.

However,

We see different prediction by Gartner.

As per Gartner’s enterprise software forecast, worldwide CRM revenue will touch $36.5B by 2017, up from $13.9B in 2010.

Future of Siebel CRM - Revenue

Though we see 2 different predictions from 2 different sources, bottom line is that CRM market is growing day by day.

Okay,

Now question is how CRM vendors are sharing this revenue.

Company 2013 Market Share (%) 2014 Market Share (%) 2015 Market Share (%)
Salesforce 16.3 18.4 19.7
SAP 12.8 12.1 10.2
Oracle 10.1 9.1 7.8
Microsoft 5.8 6.2 4.3
IBM 3.9 3.8 3.6
Others 51.1 50.4 54.4

Source: Gartner (May 2016)

As a standalone vendor, Salesforce has maximum market share 19.7% where Oracle has 7.8%.

One thing to remember here,

Oracle has many CRM applications and 7.8% is the total market share.

My point is…

If we take only Siebel market share, it is less than 7.8%.

And here is the actual revenue vendor wise…

Company 2013 Revenue* 2014 Revenue* 2015 Revenue*
Salesforce 3,330.20 4,268.50 5,170.90
SAP 2,621.30 2,809.40 2,684.40
Oracle 2,060.80 2,115.20 2,046.50
Microsoft 1,181.80 1,438.60 1,141.50
IBM 792.1 873.1 936.8
Others 10,474.70 11,681.90 14,307.70
Total 20,460.90 23,186.70 26,287.80

* Millions of Dollars

Notice,

Except Salesforce, all other 3 big CRM providers have lost their share.

Now,

Why Siebel market is shrinking day by day?

There are many reasons and I don’t want to go into those details in this article.

But,

From above statistics, we can say that market is more inclined to SaaS based CRM application.

That means…

On premise model is one of many culprits behind Siebel market shrink.

However,

Probably you know that Siebel can be installed in cloud environment also.

To know more about Siebel on Oracle Cloud, read this, published by Oracle.  (You can also follow or subscribe in Techonestop newsletter and get update directly in your inbox when I publish next article on Siebel on Cloud)

Not only On Premise architecture,

Here are another 2 statistics that also go against Siebel. (Source: Gartner)

By 2018, 4% — and by 2020, 10% — of $1 billion-plus organizations will run all their CRM applications on SaaS.

By 2018, salesforce.com will have over 15 million end users.

Well,

That is lot about Siebel architecture.

Let’s face real situation that we bother most – Siebel job trends.

is siebel deadThis is surprising job trend!! Isn’t it?

Compare to Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics has smaller market share but job posting is quite high.

And,

siebel future 2017

Source: Indeed.com

Job opportunity in Siebel is much lesser than Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

(Want to be master in Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics? See recommendations below)

Also it is not difficult to understand that –

When customer base of any software goes down, job opportunities also go down.

But how far it will go down?

Is Oracle doing enough to improve Siebel customer base?

Answer – Yes / No / May be 🙂

There is no straight forward answer of this question.

But,

I have answer if you ask – 

Did Oracle stop selling Siebel to new customers?

Gartner 2015 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation states that “Oracle will no longer sell Siebel Sales to new customers“.But here is Oracle’s response –

‘The report states that Siebel CRM is no longer sold to new, greenfield customers which is not completely accurate. Certain customer requirements may strongly indicate that an on premise solution is necessary, for many customers, in specific industries or geographies, or with specific functional requirements and specific data regulations. We assess customer requirements to determine suitability of Siebel, along with our Oracle CX suite, to ensure we guide customers to the best fit for their needs: where applicable, this does include Siebel, including for new customers.’

(Source: Oracle’s Siebel CRM and Cloud CX Suite FAQ 2015)

Oracle answered almost similar kind of question in 2016 also.

Q: Is Siebel CRM still a General Availability product?

A:‘Yes. Oracle does review proposed solutions to ensure they are the best fit for customer needs but we do not believe one application or deployment option fits all enterprises, and we continue to recommend Siebel CRM to all customers for whom it is the right choice.’

Q: Solutions exist for Sales, Marketing, Service etc in both Siebel CRM and Oracle Cloud – should I move to Oracle Cloud?

A: ‘Solution choice is largely dependent on IT deployment strategy (on premise or cloud) and business requirements.’

Q: Is Oracle still investing in Siebel CRM?

A: ‘Yes, Oracle continues to invest significantly in Siebel CRM. Since the acquisition, Oracle has accelerated Siebel CRM releases and we currently release annual innovation packs and monthly patch sets. These releases include many new features and innovations, since acquisition over 50 new products and 750+ new features have been released. In fact, our investment in Open UI, Mobility, Business Agility and Industry solutions are a testament to significant innovation, and we openly share our roadmap on substantial enhancements going forward.’
(Source: Frequently Asked Questions About Oracle Siebel CRM)

I would suggest you to go through these FAQs.

So,

What is future of Siebel CRM?

It is really a BIG UNKNOWN area.

But,

After so many negative talks, few things still go positive for Siebel –

1. Most importantly Oracle is still investing in Siebel.

Siebel Road Map shows Oracle has plan beyond 2030. This is really good news for all Siebel lovers.

Moreover without any future plan, Oracle would not invest in Siebel innovation.
Siebel Roadmao 2017 - 2030

2. 2016 was a land mark year for big data and Internet of Things (IoT). We will see same trend in 2017 and beyond. More organizations are storing and processing data to empower end users with most valuable data.

By 2020, the number of Internet-connected things will reach or even exceed 50 billion. (Source: Forbes)

Siebel is not far behind…

Roadmap shows that IP2017/18 will focus on Big Data, IoT, real time analytics.

3. Siebel can be installed on Oracle cloud or any other third party cloud like Amazon AWS.  It is cost effective, faster and straight forward compare to physical server setup and maintenance. Already many Siebel CRM customers are taking advantage of private cloud hosting solution to reduce total cost of ownership. Oracle Managed Cloud Services provide a solution to manage Siebel as a managed cloud service.

4. Oracle has introduced many new features like IRM (Incremental Repository Merge), Siebel Open UISiebel Composer (web tools), Workspace. All these features will make Siebel development faster and easier.

Siebel Composer is the web version of traditional Siebel Tools. It is accessible in any browser using Siebel Open UI client.

Workspace is an alternative of Siebel local database. It gives a sandbox to each developer to configure application and verify changes before delivering to parent or main workspace. It allows multiple developers to work on same repository object in Siebel database simultaneously.

Workspace will be default with IP17 with enhanced features like full multi-level branching, multi-release development.

Siebel Composer and Workspace will bring better agile development in Siebel.

5. Siebel is integrated with many other Oracle applications (Like Eloqua, ATG, Sales cloud, Responsys) to deliver world class customer experience.

oracle siebel roadmap

(Source: Oracle OpenWorld 2015)

So,

Do we have enough opportunities to build career in Siebel?

This is another difficult question to answer. Probably I would like to hear from you.

But,

I would suggest you to diversify CRM knowledge. Instead of knowing Siebel or any other particular CRM, know how CRM works. It will give you more job opportunities than knowing any particular CRM application.

Friendly Recommendations:

There are many training courses and learning materials on the web for Salesforce and MS CRM.

But if you ask me to recommend ONLY 3 COURSES, then try these –

  1. The Complete Salesforce Administrator Certification Course
  2. Salesforce Platform App Builder Developer 401 Certification
  3. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customisation & Config

Now,

What do you think about future of Siebel CRM?

Please share your thought below.

To download this article ‘Future of Siebel CRM in 2017’, click here.

Keep in touch, follow TechOneStop on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+.