META Group, Inc. announced the availability of its newest METAspectrum evaluation for the CRM application suite market – comprising operational, analytical and collaborative applications that help organizations manage and optimize their customer relationships.

CRM suites enable users to manage customer-related information and data; automate front-office business processes across sales, marketing and service; optimize customer transactions and interactions; and understand customer behavior patterns.

"CRM application suites provide a valid and compelling means of jump- starting a broad range of CRM technology initiatives," says Steve Bonadio, senior program director with META Group's Enterprise Application Strategies. "Organizations must rationalize the expanding importance of CRM suites within their CRM portfolios and to the extended enterprise at large, while gaining a clear understanding of market dynamics, economic impact and the tumultuous vendor landscape."

This year, continued economic pressure will force organizations to refocus CRM programs on "tactical" strategy, which entails smaller, incremental investments with accelerated time to value. Concurrently, technical and budgetary challenges will impede CRM upgrades and efforts to consolidate disparate CRM applications and information. However, within the next couple of years, CRM will reemerge as a non-discretionary initiative, focused on business transformation and revenue attainment, while CRM application suites will evolve to provide 90 percent of required ecosystem capabilities.

Despite a challenging 2002 for the CRM sector, CRM excellence continues to require close consideration of people, process, information and technology. CRM application suites provide a broad range of technologies to support implementation of customer life cycle patterns and CRM processes across the organization. However, organizations must understand their unique requirements relative to the customer life cycle and tailor the CRM technology decision accordingly. Value to the organization continues to be the currency by which CRM success must be judged.

To learn more about the METAspectrum methodology, visit www.metagroup.com/metaspectrum or call (800) 945-META (6382).

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