The latest forecast for the coming year from analyst Gartner sees CRM continuing to grow in importance as the market hits $23.9bn this year, with cloud revenues forecast to be almost half of that (49 percent).
But the coming year will be a period of consolidation, Gartner analysts believe, "as market growth [stays] moderate in 2014, following three strong years of investment".
Helping power the investment will be a new branch of CRM, the Internet of Things (IoT) which will join social, mobile, big data and cloud to become one of the five main branches of CRM — although, according to Gartner vice-president Ed Thompson, it will be remain a smaller area for now.
"The key area at the moment is mobile," Thompson said. "Large organisations especially have their hands full with trying to understand how to make the most out if mobile technology."
Social networking he sees as next in importance with big data third. For now, Thompson thinks the IoT will remain a smaller area, but one that he and Garner believe will become increasingly important.
"Mobile is becoming much more important in all sorts of ways that we do not really understand yet," Thompson said. "I was talking to a supermarket and they are finding that mobile phone can help them with shopping trolleys. They lose thousands of them but if they have a chip in them then the supermarket can track them down and get them back.
"It was uneconomic to do this, but now it is possible. When chips costs hundreds of pound it was uneconomic but when they cost pennies..."
While the IoT will remain a relatively small area, Thompson said there were all kinds of interesting areas opening up. "A big growth are is industrial LEDs for lighting, especially intelligent lighting," he said. "This is followed by cars, alarms and security and then music systems and speakers."
Gartner expects CRM market growth to stay moderate in 2014, following three strong years of investment. CRM software revenue is forecast to reach $23.9m in 2014, with cloud revenue accounting for 49 percent. SaaS- or cloud-based CRM deployments currently represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, and look set to reach 50 percent during 2015.
"These drivers are spurring a critical need for more traditional operational CRM as CRM continues to top software investment priorities," said Gartner’s Joanne Correia. "This further validates businesses' focus on enhancing customer experience and consistent investment in CRM software, especially in CSS, marketing and sales software."
For more see the Gartner report, Market Trends: CRM Digital Initiatives Focus on Sales, Marketing, Support and E-Commerce.