AMR Research has released market statistics that customer management applications rebounded in 2003, growing 4 percent, and is projected to grow by 6 percent in 2004, faster than any other enterprise application category. The report also shows the emergence of SAP as a new market leader.

For the Customer Management Applications Report, 2003-2008, AMR Research surveyed more than 100 companies with revenues ranging up to $5 billion about their customer management budgets, investments, priorities and goals in 2004 and 2005. AMR Research defines the customer management market as the business processes touching sales, marketing, customer service, price management and customer analytics.

"The overall customer management market will experience incremental growth through 2008 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent," said Laura Preslan, research director at AMR Research and lead analyst for the report. "Customer analytics, price management, systems integratio and application service provider (ASP)-based hosted applications (e.g., "CRM software as a service") will account for the bulk of growth."

Many of the major solutions providers saw customer management market growth last year, including PeopleSoft (61 percent; based on increased PeopleSoft customer management sales as well as the acquisition of J.D. Edwards' customer base), and Microsoft CRM, which topped the growth chart with 94 percent improvement, leaping to number 10 from number 18 a year ago.

Well-known for delivering enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to large, global manufacturers, SAP's growing position as the industry leader in customer management demonstrates the company's abilities to scale the functionality of its products, sales and footprint, according to Preslan.

Additional report findings include that companies with less than $1 billion in revenue represent the largest growth segment for customer management; PeopleSoft, Siebel and SAP are the top three most widely used customer management application providers among survey respondents; Web self-service is the highest priority overall among decision-makers looking to improve business processes; adoption challenges and defining ROI continue to be a struggle, with two-thirds of companies citing issues; and companies using a CRM application are more likely to upgrade their existing system than companies which have deployed an ERP solution.

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