IDC: CRM Market Grows as Apps Get Social

Pedro Hernandez

Updated · Jun 14, 2012

In 2011, the top 10 CRM application vendors captured nearly half the $19.1 billion customer relationship management (CRM) software market, according to new data released today by IDC.

IBM’s CRM efforts have started to pay off. Big Blue managed to crack the list of top 10 CRM vendors — of the 190 providers that IDC tracks — thanks to double-digit growth.

Battle of CRM Giants

The top spot belongs to Oracle, which captured 11 percent of the market. SAP and follow in a tight battle for second place, with 9.9 percent and 9.5 percent market shares, respectively. Rounding out the top five are Avaya, with 3.6 percent of the market, and SEC with 3.3 percent.

The CRM software market posted 11.2 percent year-over-year growth, says IDC. Segments seeing the strongest gains include marketing automation, sales automation and customer service, all of which achieved double-digit growth levels.

The outlook isn’t as good for the contact center market, however. IDC forecasts that while growth in contact center applications will continue, it will be at a slower, single-digit pace and result in a 3.4 percent drop of market share through 2016.

Social CRM Has Market A-Twitter

One category that shows no signs of slowing is social CRM. Expect social media-enabled applications to give the CRM market new momentum as companies rush to incorporate Facebook, Twitter and other popular social services into their CRM strategies, said Mary Wardley, program vice president of CRM Applications for IDC.

“The CRM applications market is poised on the threshold of a transformation with legacy installations being transformed into socially-aware applications environments,” she said in a company release. “An influx of new social vendors and acquisitions of social CRM applications providers by established vendors augmenting their offerings for rapid market entry is invigorating the market.”

Salesforce roiled the CRM scene earlier this month by acquiring social media marketing specialist Buddy Media for a hefty $689 million. In 2011, Salesforce doled out $326 million for social CRM vendor Radian6.

A day after the Salesforce-Buddy Media deal shook the social CRM space, Oracle announced it was buying social CRM player Collective Intellect. Oracle plans to use Collective Intellect’s “social intelligence” technology to bolster its cloud-based CRM services portfolio.

And don’t expect the Salesforces and Oracles of the world to stop buying smaller CRM companies any time soon, said Wardley. “The activity is expected to continue through 2012 and is bringing net new revenue to the space.”

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE

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    Pedro Hernandez

    Pedro Hernandez contributes to Enterprise Apps Today, and 11Press, the technology network. He was previously the managing editor of, an IT-related website network. He has expertise in Smart Tech, CRM, and Mobile Tech, Helping Banks and Fintechs, Telcos and Automotive OEMs, and Healthcare and Identity Service Providers to Protect Mobile Apps.

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