Cloud-based CRM rising to prominence in 2013 and 2014

Corporate spending on cloud computing has been through the roof across the board for the last few years, and there’s one area in particular where the cloud has thrived – customer relationship management (CRM).

Gartner data reveals that cloud-based CRM has overtaken cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) to become the foremost priority for application software investment – office and personal productivity rank third behind CRM and ERP. Enhancing customer experience has become a major priority in global business, according to the Manila Standard.

The uptick in CRM investment coincides with a general rise in all cloud software purchases – Gartner is expecting a rapid rise in cloud spending throughout 2013 and 2014. Of IT officers polled, 69 percent in emerging regions expect new software licensing budgets to increase in 2014, and 47 percent in mature regions expect the same.

As Hai Hong Swineheart, a research analyst at Gartner, explained to the Standard, confidence in the cloud is soaring.

“Results from the survey indicate that software spending will increase modestly worldwide through the 2014 budget year, with new software sales (on-premises) and [software as a service] driving this increased spending,” Swineheart told the news source. “It’s very clear that mature regions are focusing on public cloud computing, while emerging regions are focusing on private cloud computing.”

More uses for cloud-based CRM are emerging all the time. One made headlines in late 2012 on the East Coast, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy – because many phone lines were down and consumers were thus unable to call customer service centers with their concerns, cloud-based customer care was a life saver. The New Jersey 2-1-1 service reaped the benefits, according to 1to1 Magazine – not only were the 2-1-1 service’s agents able to respond to the storm, but they were also able to use cloud technology to collect and store donations for disaster relief.

“We had been preparing for this for a long time,” executive director Laura Zink Marx said. “The one question everyone had was whether we could handle the surge, and we did.”

There are still some concerns surrounding cloud CRM – for example, security, as open connectivity with third-party businesses leaves companies open to data breach threats. As companies ramp up their cloud services, they’re also forced to increase spending on security in order to make sure their networks are secure. But despite the reservations, cloud CRM still appears to be the way of the future, and more companies are coming around each day.