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 Chuck The Australian CRM Software Market—Part 2

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 56 votes)
 By David Sims

The Local And Global Aspects Depicting the CRM Software Market in Australia

The Australian CRM market was boosted in the early 2000s when deregulation forced companies to compete on customer service. In 2002 Siebel CRM, calling themselves "the world's leading provider of eBusiness applications software," said Victoria-based gas and electricity provider TXU and New South Wales-based energy supplier Country Energy adopted the Siebel eEnergy Call Center, attributing it to the "deregulation of the Australian electricity market from January" 2002.

The functionality was geared to giving online quotations and managing contact with "customers shopping around for the best electricity deal." It was quite a shift for the Australian energy sector, which had viewed "customer contact" as a five-syllable synonym for "billing," said Murray Creighton, VP and GM Asia-Pacific, Siebel Systems at the time, noting that the sector needed "broader change in business philosophy and processes built around customer satisfaction — a fundamental shift."

In fact deregulation continues to fuel the CRM market Down Under. This past March Ovum officials indirectly referenced new Australia CRM practices by saying the deregulation of the Australian higher education market "enables institutions to increase their student enrollment levels without fiscal penalties," which means institutions now compete for students just as they do in America. University officials think implementing CRM -- "for the first time" -- will be a priority for Australian higher education from now to about 2014.

So while Australian higher education may be a bit later to the game of recruiting top students than American universities, they're adopting CRM with more alacrity -- "unlike their US counterparts, many Australian colleges and universities envision a comprehensive approach to CRM and are seeking to execute it according to that vision far more rapidly than US institutions have done," Ovum officials say.

One winner here is likely to be RightNow. Oracle's PeopleSoft CRM for Higher Education and Datatel+SGHE's Banner Enrollment Management Suites will be popular, with Australian universities, Ovum notes, "given Oracle's strong presence in the market with its Campus Solutions product" and the fact that the existing relationship makes it more likely they'll stick with a known provider when it comes to CRM software.

But currently neither Oracle nor Datatel+SGHE have a dominant position in the market, and Ovum thinks that since RightNow Technologies has a "strong presence in Australia," as well as a strong education CRM offering, it "is likely to see increased adoption... particularly as it will have a closer relationship with Campus Solutions and... as a result of its acquisition by Oracle earlier in 2012."

The global competitive environment continues to fuel CRM software adoption—and the cloud benefits of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CRM systems are showing significant uptake throughout the Asia Pacific region. In a report by SpringBoard Research, the analyst firm forecasts the SaaS market in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to reach US$772 million in 2012, up from US$175 million back in in 2008, achieving a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 45 percent. "Already a mature SaaS market, ANZ is expected to continue on its growth path as businesses of all sizes recognize the value of on-demand solutions for meeting business requirements while cost-effectively enabling their employees to access these capabilities, information and processes necessary to improve productivity", advised Michael Barnes, VP, Software Research at Springboard.

"This momentum has been further fueled by the widespread broadband penetration, increased interest in cloud computing, and a growing supply of available SaaS business solutions. In addition, an expanding ecosystem of SaaS providers and the market entry of high profile local and global suppliers in the region have also triggered interest in SaaS", said Barnes. Springboard discovered that the SaaS or cloud market in ANZ is the most mature market in Asia Pacific, with the highest awareness and familiarity levels in the region. According to Springboard, 77 percent of ANZ respondents were reported being "very familiar" with SaaS as compared to only 60 percent in the rest of the region. The survey further revealed that CRM software is the most popular SaaS application in ANZ, as named by 35 percent of enterprise respondents, which is in line with the overall trend in Asia Pacific. Their research confirmed that "lower cost of ownership" is currently the most significant reason for SaaS or cloud CRM adoption in ANZ, as reported by 29 percent of respondents, while "ease of use" was the top reason cited across the broader Asia Pacific region. The financial services, education and health care sectors lead in cloud adoption. Interestingly, the single most significant barrier to SaaS or cloud adoption is "satisfaction with on-premise applications" named by 15 percent of the respondents.

Although Australian businesses show a marked taste for Microsoft, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM, among other foreign vendors, there is a burgeoning local provider market. In February 2010 Adelaide-based You Grow Pty said they were "set to break the stranglehold held by international companies on CRM software for small to medium sized businesses" in Australia and New Zealand. You Grow's Managing Director Cathy Allington said their product youGROW is the only CRM software making all needed customer and sales information available directly within Microsoft Outlook with "no rekeying, and no double entry."

LeadMaster is a cloud CRM system developed in the U.S. with LeadMaster Australia providing the localised development for capabilities such as multi-currency and multiple languages. LeadMaster Australia is showing some impressive traction in growing a CRM customer base throughout the Asia Pacific region.

And don't forget about the Kiwis: In September New Zealand-based IT services company Intergen released the outlines of what company officials are calling "a three-year expansion plan to tackle the Australian market" in customer relationship management (CRM) as well as SharePoint and cloud services. Intergen marketing manager Tim Howell told Computerworld Australia that the company's planning on putting about 40 staff on the ground by 2014.

And Aussie firms think they can get the same benefits from social CRM everybody else is looking for. In early March CIO Australia spoke with Simarjit Chhabra, CIO of Xtralis, a Melbourne-based provider of security, gas fire and other threat detection tools which "has integrated social media into its enterprise applications for CRM and is able to track use of Xtralis products from cradle to grave."

"Social media gives us a competitive advantage," he told the journal, as anybody in the West would have: "It helps us plan our inventories and cut our fixed costs, reduce time to market, reduce the impact of any negative feedback by reaching out and... know more about the market conditions in real time and take appropriate business decisions."

Isn't that why you want to integrate social media with your CRM?

So there you are—Australian CRM relies on the same vendors, same principles, same goals and has the same aspirations for social media interaction that any company in the West would. Sorry, we're not more exotic. End

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"Social media gives us a competitive advantage [...] It helps us plan our inventories and cut our fixed costs, reduce time to market, reduce the impact of any negative feedback by reaching out and... know more about the market conditions in real time and take appropriate business decisions."

 

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