As companies rely more heavily on quality customer data, they still have a long ways to go in integrating core business systems to deliver that data to users across the enterprise. That's the finding from the latest survey from Scribe, a provider of data integration and access solutions.
Titled the State of Customer Integration 2013, the report finds that the biggest stumbling block on the path to data integration is an increasingly complex IT environment. While customer relationship management (CRM) systems are increasingly transitioning to cloud, the report found, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) systems remain in silos behind the firewall.
“Businesses are struggling to reach the connected enterprise nirvana,” noted Lou Guercia, CEO of Scribe. “With the continued move to cloud and complex hybrid environments, the lack of integration between these systems is becoming clearer and significantly slowing business value.”
Respondents also reported that almost half of budget ownership of core business systems now resides outside of IT, indicating a sea change toward chief marketing officers (CMOs) having an increasing stake in IT budget decisions in the years ahead.
Although IT continues to own a sizeable portion of the budget, sales, operations and marketing departments together are responsible for 48 percent of the planned systems investments in 2013. In addition, while almost half of business respondents (44 percent) plan to invest more in their business systems in 2013, the majority (60 percent) plan to take a cautious approach – increasing their customer-facing systems investment by no more than 20 percent compared to 2012.
Cloud has penetrated all core business systems with CRM leading the way. Some 26 percent of businesses report a pure cloud environment for CRM, while ERP and BI systems are still predominantly on-premise (with only six percent and five percent respectively reporting cloud adoption). In addition, the growing importance of hybrid environment support for customer data is clear, as 47 percent of businesses and 73 percent of third-party systems integrators point to hybrid environment support as either a top priority or "important" for their CRM strategy.
The majority of businesses (73 percent) and systems integrators (80 percent) report revenue growth as top priority, but they are also quick to note as top priorities the need for increased customer satisfaction and increased revenue per customer.
The importance of CRM and core business system integration to support customer-focused business growth is clear, said privately owned Scribe, based in Manchester, NH. In fact, businesses report measuring the success of their CRM data integration initiatives based on CRM satisfaction (at 45 percent), complete customer view (at 43 percent), and CRM system adoption (at 41 percent).
However, with the majority of respondents noting integration between CRM and business intelligence (74 percent), CRM and customer support systems (73 percent), and CRM and marketing automation (71 percent) as a top priority, only 16 percent of business respondents report full integration among their various business systems. When compared to 15 percent reporting full integration in 2012, it is evident that organizations still have a long way to go to fully integrate customer data across core business systems. While only 10 percent report a complete lack of integration, partial integration is still the norm.
Among additional findings:
- Businesses expect their CRM systems to have the ability to share data among key departments, and companies prioritize the value of CRM data integration in terms of its ability to drive accuracy and consistency of customer information
- The majority of systems integrators(84 percent) and businesses (71 percent) rate mobile CRM as either important or top priority for their CRM strategy in 2013
- The lowest levels of reported between-systems integration are between CRM and ERP (13 percent) and CRM and social (10 percent)
- Custom code continues to be the way the majority (48 percent) of businesses report integrating their systems – but that is a significant drop from 2012 when 59 percent reported doing so
- Most businesses (64 percent) still do not have a formal process for evaluating their CRM data integration progress, yet failure to integrate CRM with other critical business systems is driving 18 percent of respondents to switch to a new system in 2013.
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