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CRM critical to digital transformation in India

Anup Basti

Indian businesses are integrating their customer relationship management (CRM) investments with digital initiatives as the rate of customer interaction takes off.

Social, mobile, big data, cloud and the internet of things are all driving CRM investments as they create greater customer interaction.

According to Gartner, organizations around the world are taking up digital initiatives to enhance customer interaction and user participation. The CRM revenue in software for 2014 is forecast to reach $23.9bn globally, with cloud technologies contributing 49%.

Currently software as a service (SaaS) and other cloud-based CRM represent 40% of all digital marketing deployments. This is slated to increase to 50% by 2015.

According to Joanne Correia, vice-president of research at Gartner, CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years. 

“This is one technology area that will definitely get funding as digital business is crucial to remaining competitive,” said Correia.

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Gartner said almost all business sectors advocate CRM in their digital initiatives in India. This includes banking, securities, insurance, pharmaceutical, high technology, IT manufacturing, consumer goods and telecommunications. 

The prominent industries for digital CRM initiatives are social media and technologies, e-commerce, web analytics and mobility.

Nandakishore Dhomne, CIO at Manipal Health Enterprises, said integrating CRM is more important than ever as customers interact with suppliers in different ways 

“CRM supports key trends that need to be incorporated with all aspects of a business workplace," said Dhomne. 

"Digital marketing is the key to building long-term relationships with customers, and this serves as a great asset.”

Indian software and IT consulting service provider Sonata Software recently added digital CRM systems. These include Microsoft Dynamics AX, Marketing Pilot and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Sonata hopes the additions will improve its customer experience and present better engagement systems built around multi-channel commerce, CRM and integrated social media.

A Forrester report last year said 70% of Indian midmarket firms which are investing in big data are integrating it with front-end applications such as CRM.