The Roundup: CRM 'Winners' Will Help CIOs Get Funding

By David Aponovich

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CRM 'Big Wins' Will Influence Skeptics
As more enterprises design and install CRM systems, they're learning that "privacy" must discussed in the same sentence as "customer service." IT research firm Gartner Inc. says 40% of enterprises already with customer relationship management systems will rethink them with an emphasis on balancing privacy with increasing pressure to support personalization.

Customers are telling companies they want to see why all their data is being gathered, and they will expect the CRM experience to reflect intelligent use of personal data, according to Scott Nelson, vice president for Gartner. "Adequately addressing privacy concerns will be a top business priority. This is going to require rethinking of how information is gathered, how customers can access and control that data and how enterprises can safeguard it from parties that might want it but shouldn't have it."

Good news for IT execs trying to get CRM projects funded: In 2002, large-scale CRM successes will be documented. As reports of these "big wins" spread, it will help validate CRM projects and give justification to their funding in the eyes of skeptical management.

2003: The Year of Web Services
A report from Giga Information Group Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., says Web services technology and related architectures have moved through the "early adopter" phase and will become more mainstream by early 2003.

But a warning to IT execs seeking funding for these projects: Companies won't be as likely to write a blank check the Web services, as they may have for other hot technologies in the past. For Web services to mature (and for funding to flow), would-be adopters need to establish a clear business case.

Many companies are doing that now, at least internally. A recent Giga poll on emerging technology finds that the majority of early Web services projects is internal, most focusing on application integration uses over new application development. Action in B2B Web services is happening more from service providers than customers.

According to Giga research, Jave 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) solutions are perceived as the most important Web services platforms.

Remote & Mobile Workers on the Rise in U.S.
The ranks of telecommuters and other "mobile workers" in the U.S. stands at 78 million and is growing, according to Cahners In-Stat of Scottsdale, Ariz. This includes telecommuters, business travelers who spend more than 20% of their time on the road and multi-site workers.

Providing workers with access to hosted business applications and the Internet will be key priorities for U.S. businesses this year as the trend grows. Security and bandwidth will be constraints and challenges to businesses.

In-Stat's research also generated other findings:

Mobile Messaging: Interoperability Required
Mobile-messaging services have been greatly enhanced by both the Internet and digital PCS technologies. But a lack of interoperability among various technologies are hindering market expansion, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. (The market is expected to grow from under $600 million in 2000 to $5 billion by 2007.)

Anytime/anywhere connectivity will be "the cornerstone" for the success of mobile messaging, says Kshitij Moghe, Frost & Sullivan industry analyst. "Consumers are demanding an effective and inexpensive way to remain connected whenever they are traveling."

The holdup in greater interoperability is competing network technologies such as global system for mobile communications (GSM), code division multiple access (CDMA), and time division multiple access (TDMA). Because of this, the overall industry is experiencing related interoperability constraints in the form of closed messaging platforms.

For short message services (SMSs), most carriers traditionally use the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) to transmit data within their own networks. However, SMTP does not allow connectivity among different networks for messaging applications and is the primary restraint for domestic industry growth.

An even-bigger threat at the network level is handset and device manufacturers' continued use of private technologies.

Editor's note: This item by Bob Woods of internet.com's InternetMessagingPlanet.