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Survey: Integration with legacy systems, custom fit are key criteria for CRM solutions

Charlotte, NC  July 19, 2001  Business executives evaluating customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are most concerned with the software's ability to integrate with existing technology and with finding a CRM solution tailored to fit their company's needs, according to a new survey out this week.

In ranking the factors that influence decisions regarding CRM solutions, 36 percent of the 250 senior-level executives in the survey put the ability to integrate with legacy systems at the top, while 25 percent said it was most important to select a solution that precisely met a company's needs. Only 8 percent of respondents indicated that the speed of deployment was the most critical factor.

Respondents to the survey, conducted in June by YOUcentric, a self-described supplier of e-business relationship management software, reported that the biggest challenges in a CRM implementation are integration to legacy data and low adoption rates by users. Other significant challenges included a perceived lack of measurable return on investment (ROI) and difficulty with modification.

Despite the finding with respect to return on investment (ROI) and the assertion by some analysts that difficulties related to quantifying ROI are a significant barrier to CRM success, survey respondents cite increases in sales and productivity as key ROI metrics, along with increased customer loyalty and retention.

In addition, the survey found that companies are setting aggressive goals for CRM projects. More than 65 percent of respondents expect CRM to increase sales revenue by more than 10 percent, while 27 percent expect an increase in sales of more than 20 percent.

Thus far, 40 percent of responding executives in the survey said their companies have seen a solid return on their CRM investment, and a total of 80 percent of respondents indicated that they have seen at least moderate ROI. Just 20 percent of respondents said they had not seen any return on investment whatsoever.

More than 65 percent of respondents said that a proven return on investment will be the most important element of CRM in the future.

Looking ahead, respondents cited proven return on investment, mobile and wireless access and multi-channel capabilities as being important elements of CRM in the future.

YOUcentric conducted the poll with WebSurveyor to explore the leading issues in CRM that are driving key decision-makers.