The growing focus on deriving value from customer data has promoted customer relationship management to be the largest software market, surpassing that of database management systems.

According to research firm Gartner Inc., worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to $39.5 billion in 2017, overtaking DBMS revenue, which reached $36.8 billion in the same year.

“In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and being the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16 percent,” explained Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner.

Lending to the rapid growth of the CRM software market are segments of lead management, voice of the customer and field service management, each of which is experiencing growth at more than 20 percent.

Growth in the CRM market is also tied to rising interest in artificial intelligence.

“Organizations are keen to avoid silos of information and to obtain a 360 degree view of the customer,” Poulter says. “The 360 degree view allows better application of artificial intelligence to make the users of the CRM system more effective.”

See Also 5 common CRM mistakes and how to avoid them

The growth of the CRM software market may also boost investments in it security, especially with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation set to take effect in one month.

CRM systems typically contain vast amounts of sensitive personal data and are kept for a considerable amount of time, Poulter noted. That makes CRM systems more likely to be a source of noncompliance with GDPR than other applications.

Many organizations are likely to increase their spending on IT security, CRM and customer experience (CX) technology in the next three years, Poulter believes. Areas for investment will include marketing technology, data loss prevention, security information and event management and security consulting.

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