Sage Research, Inc., a full-service market research and consulting firm, announced it has published the findings of the November 11 Sage Technology Roundtable, "CRM Challenges and Opportunities." The session's participants – seven IT decision-makers and influencers – discussed CRM user training issues, integration with legacy systems and Web-services-based CRM, among other related topics.

"The participants in this Roundtable strongly believe that CRM vendors can greatly improve end-user training," said Chris Neal, a research director at Sage Research. "They brought up several needs in that area, including Web-based training, customized training for different user groups, such as sales vs. service and more experienced tech support people. Improvements of this type present an enormous opportunity for differentiation among CRM vendors."

Findings from "CRM Challenges and Opportunities" include:

  • Companies prefer a phased approach to CRM implementation. End-user training and integration issues deter companies from broad, cross-functional implementations.
  • End-user training is the single biggest CRM implementation challenge. Customers want training resources to be Web-based, simple to read and customized for different roles within the company (technical vs. nontechnical, etc.).
  • Companies also consider integration with disparate legacy systems to be a big implementation challenge.
  • Many participants would like mobile device access to CRM solutions. All of them had issues with current mobile CRM solutions, however, including security, bandwidth and limited functionality.
  • Java-based CRM platforms are the current norm and solutions based on Web services are the future. Most participants expressed a desire for Web services-based CRM in the future.

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