Gartner: Enterprise CRM no longer a priority for CIOs


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GartnerGartner have just revealed the results of their annual survey of CIO priorities.  It makes fascinating reading when compared to last year’s report.  IT spending for the coming year will increase by an average of 1.3% – but that is compared to a dramatic decline of 8.1% in 2009.  2010 IT budgets are back to the levels of 2005 – half a decade’s growth in budget has been wiped out.

From managing resources to managing results…

According to Mark McDonald, Gartner Group VP and head of research for Gartner Executive programs, the role of IT is changing from merely managing resources to taking responsibility for managing results, while the technology focus is shifting from heavy owner-operated solutions to “lighter weight” hosted services.

Business process improvement remains the #1 business priority, followed by reducing costs and improving workforce effectiveness (promoted from last year’s #4 to #3).  But the real change in priorities comes on the technology side.  Last year, enterprise CRM was the #2 technology priority.  In 2010, it does not even make the top 10.

Reshaping the role of IT…

Gartner anticipates that CIOs will change their focus from driving cost-based efficiencies to achieving productivity gains, using collaborative and innovative solutions that leverage services-based and social media technologies, including virtualisation, cloud computing and web 2.0.  They see them providing the platform for information and process-intensive solutions that will ultimately reshape the role of IT.

I suspect that few of us are going to bemoan the passing of traditional “big iron” IT projects that inevitably cost too much, take too long and deliver too little.  But what benefits might a more agile, adaptable IT infrastructure bring – and what do we need to do to position ourselves to exploit the potential for improving sales and marketing performance?

From automation to enablement…

I suggest that a great deal of the answer lies in what processes we choose to IT-enable.  We need to stop thinking about automating often badly-aligned “sales” and “marketing” processes and seize the opportunity to facilitate our prospect’s buying processes and embrace the dramatic changes that the net and web 2.0 have already made to buyer behaviour.

If we are to take advantage, we’re going to have to do better at connecting with our most valuable prospects and customers, identifying their most pressing problems and understanding how and why they choose to buy.  If we can leverage the dramatic change in technology to change how we think about the role of sales and marketing, we’ll create the scope for achieving dramatic gains.

But if all we do is to apply this wave of innovative technology to traditional approaches to the sales and marketing process, we’ll probably still end up spending less money, but on doing the wrong things…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Apollo
Bob Apollo is the CEO of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B sales performance improvement specialists. Following a varied corporate career, Bob now works with a rapidly expanding client base of B2B-focused growth-phase technology companies, helping them to implement systematic sales processes that drive predictable revenue growth.


  1. Bob,

    Finally CRM becomes a business application, not an IT priority. It took what, only 15-20 years?

    It should have never been a priority for CIOs, and the Gartner (to keep on the same vendor) survey of business users still shows CRM in the top three.

    What this survey shows, finally, is that CRM is no longer considered a technology — which is something we have been saying for at least 10-12 years. Calling CRM a technology and making it an IT priority or item is what doomed a lot of the implementations. Calling CRM a business strategy and letting business stakeholders deal with it is what should be (and finally going to be) done.

    Thanks for the good news!

  2. CRM no longer a priority for CIOs? This is total nonsense!

    CRM is crucial – it just needs to become more user-relevant and externalised – e.g. better connecting and guiding buyers and sellers.

    And CRM is technology, not an abstract business strategy. We need to shift the mindset of the publishers of CRM (in the cloud) from a dominant IT-centric culture of left-sided brain logic to a more right-sided brain design thinking. That means designers and consumers of CRM (buyers and sellers) – not CIOs – driving the agenda to create a more relevant user experience. Social CRM is a step in this direction.

    Maybe it should read: ‘CIOs no longer a priority for Enterprise CRM’.

  3. That is total nonsense…

    CRM is a strategy, aided by technology. Only small vendors of non-complete CRM suits would call CRM a technology. I have been doing it for 15+ years, the only failures I have ever seen in CRM came from people who called it a technology and never took the time to understand what it actually is.

    A CRM system in itself is even more than a technology, a conglomerate of myriad technologies working together to assist a business strategy of being customer-centric take place.

    If you see it any other way — well, not only do I not agree with you — I don’t anyone else who is successful in CRM that would!

    I agree on part of your comments on Social CRM, but don’t see the continuity of thought from one part of your comment to the other…

    either you are being sarcastic and I missed it (it happens), or I am even more confused than when I read your comment the first time.


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