This week is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry conference, CRM Evolution 2010. This annual gathering of all those with a passion for the management of customer relations comes not a moment too soon. A regular coming-together of greybeards and newcomers alike is called for in order to properly sort wheat from chaff, in this vibrant, ever-evolving industry.
This year’s version of the event, which takes place at the New York Marriott Marquis from August 2nd to 4th, hosts CRM users, vendors, analysts and consultants, all in pursuit of intelligence on how technologies and economic forces are changing the software segment.
As in years past, it purports to cover a range of CRM-related areas over the course of its crowded agenda. This includes those that promise wisdom on streamlining business processes, those that improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, and those that leverage technologies that will forever change the engine at the centre of every successful corporation: customer relationships.
Several keynote speeches are planned, including one by Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research, a CRM analyst firm based in Massachusetts. His research touches on everything from the ascent of the global middle class, to the impact of rising costs of business travel. But he centers particularly on the role CRM software has to play in servicing changing the consumer landscape that seems—increasingly—to value experiences over things.
The advent of so-called “social CRM” is another key theme planned for the event. The newly proactive customer who’s more likely to seek answers from her peers via the Internet than contact the company directly will be discussed at length. As will be the notion that the CRM industry might have lost sight of that for which the customer might be expressing a desire, and instead, gotten caught up in the provision of the technology that will facilitate its expression.
451 Group’s analyst China Martens recently explained, “the 2010 convention will also make time for the subject of how the market will be affected by the sudden presence of vendors like Adobe and IBM, which are embarking on strategies that blur the category’s lines, including those demonstrated by the former’s recent acquisitions of Web analytics provider Omniture and Web content management vendor Day Software”.
Finally, the trend of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), or the concept of a business being able to access data wherever it resides, will find play at this year’s event. Customer Relationship Management is poised for marriage with DaaS, at least in some form. This topic will spark a spirited discussion on whether the relationship will work out, which will no doubt occupy a swath of time at CRM Evolution 2010.
I appreciate such conversation and activity around topics such as CRM. It’s only by engaging industry participants in conversation and by exposing the lot of us to the innovation that’s been unfolding in far-flung silos around the world that we can hope to lend even further improvements to a business area as promising and dynamic as this one.d for fastest growing cloud provider in North America.