If it seems that practically all customer relationship management (CRM) software makers are going mobile, that's because they pretty much are, according to market research firm Gartner.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, there will be over 1,200 mobile CRM apps available for download in application marketplaces like iTunes and Google Play. It's a staggering 500 percent increase over the number of CRM mobile apps (over 200) that made the rounds in 2012.
And it's no coincidence that mobile-friendly Salesforce, the cloud-based business software provider, will finish 2013 as the top CRM vendor by revenue.
Last year, the company leapfrogged SAP by growing its CRM revenues by 26 percent to reach $2.5 billion. While second-place SAP came in close with $2.3 billion, its growth stalled at a meager 0.1 percent.
Gartner vice president Ed Thompson believes that Salesforce's future will only get brighter.
"As Salesforce.com has achieved this milestone it will gain more support from Tier 1 system integrators (such as Accenture, IBM, Deloitte and Capgemini), which already conduct 16 percent of their CRM project work with Salesforce.com. Additionally, Salesforce.com will attract more interest from buyers in the many geographies where it does not hold the No. 1 spot," said Thompson in a statement.
Salesforce's CRM Ascension
Salesforce's journey to the top of the CRM rankings can be attributed, in part, to its early support of mobile devices. Instead of fearing the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon that is redefining IT operations at big organizations, the company embraced it.
In 2011, the company put a mobile spin on its AppExchange platform, which beat Apple's app store to the punch by three years. While AppExchange's mobile catalog kicked off with just 40 apps (HTML5, iOS or Android), it helped establish Salesforce's reputation as a business software provider for collaborative and on-the-go workforces.
Salesforce will also undoubtedly be pleased by Gartner's other prediction. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) will account for 50 percent of total CRM software revenue in 2016, up from 42 percent this year and 39 percent in 2012.
Whether specializing in cloud-based or on-site implementations, CRM vendors can look forward to a growing market. "The worldwide CRM software market forecast, which includes both SaaS and on-premises, is on pace to grow 9.7 percent in 2013, while SaaS-delivered CRM will increase almost 18 percent during the same period," stated Gartner.
The cloud's siren song has never been louder, but for the foreseeable future enterprises will continue to use a mix of on-premise and SaaS, contends Gartner research vice president Joanne Correia. "Almost all large organizations will use a mix of SaaS and non-SaaS CRM applications for the next decade, which will require IT organizations to develop the skills needed to integrate SaaS and non-SaaS deployments," she said.