The worldwide sales configuration application market is expected to more than double its revenue, soaring to $425.9 million by 2005, according to IDC. As consumers accept ecommerce as a permanent feature rather than a passing fad, sales configuration applications are quickly becoming a fundamental part of effective sales solutions, and moving away from a tool orientation toward a more user-friendly application focus.

"Vendors are now incorporating features that allow for easier maintenance, such as data-driven models, role-based maintenance environments, and the integration of declarative language and specification," said Julie Rahal, analyst for IDC's customer relationship management applications program. "By allowing non-technical users to create and modify data and relationships through these features, costs are reduced and vendors are able to keep pace with fast-changing marketplaces."

Sales configuration application vendors are recognizing that customers are searching for complete product offerings. To meet this demand, a select few best-of-breed vendors are beginning to expand their product coverage beyond configuration by forming partnerships and alliances with customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource management (ERM) vendors. Smaller best-of-breed vendors continue to be acquired by large CRM and ERM suite vendors.

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