Gartner: CRM is the largest and fastest-growing SaaS

A graphic representing CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) has overtaken database management systems (DBMS) as the most widely used SaaS tool worldwide, Gartner has revealed, with revenues stacking up to $39.5 billion in 2017. In comparison, DBMS revenue only reached $36.8 billion.

The research firm explained growth was down to the realisations that businesses need to take lead management seriously, while also ensuring they measure customer needs and field service management. These three sectors experienced a 20% increase each over the last 12 months.

It comes as no surprise to hear that the vendors making the biggest gains are those focusing on a combination of sales, commerce and service, offering businesses the ability to add extra modules on as their business grows.

"In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16 per cent," Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner said.

"Organisations are keen to avoid silos of information and to obtain a 360 degree view of the customer. The 360 degree view allows better application of artificial intelligence to make the users of the CRM system more effective."

Another trend Gartner highlighted was the use of CRM systems as a way to keep customer data safe. With GDPR just around the corner, businesses are looking for ways to keep all their customer data together in a secure place that allows for the organisation of sensitive information.

"It is critical that organizations are compliant with GDPR as soon as possible, or at the very latest 25th May, because when customers don't trust an organisation's customer data protection, they put their own safeguards in place, like providing false data or closing accounts," Willemsen, research director at Gartner said. "This reduces an organisation's chances of reaching the right customers with the right offers at the right time.

"Poor CRM will lead to a privacy violation and a GDPR sanction. Application leaders need to enhance control over personal data usage throughout the data life cycle and safeguard processed personal data so that it is not used beyond the context of predefined and documented use cases."

Gartner expects investment in marketing technology, data loss prevention, security information and event management to increase substantially over the next three years as businesses begin to adapt to ensure they're compliant with the new regulations.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.