Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Advertisers Much More Likely Than Consumers to Believe in Power of Twitter

What are you doing? It seems like everyone, especially in the media, is answering that question in 140 characters or less with a “tweet” and letting their “followers” know what they are up to each hour of the day. But is Twitter something that is in its infancy, something that is just a media darling or has it already experienced its fifteen minutes of fame? These are some of the results of a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.

Just under half of advertisers (45%) say that Twitter is something is in its infancy and its use will grow exponentially over the next few years, while one in five (21%) believe Twitter will not move into the mainstream and is something mostly young people and the media will use. Just under one in five advertisers (17%) believe Twitter is already over and it’s time to find the next best thing while 17% of advertisers say they don’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion on it.

Among consumers it is a different story altogether, as over two-thirds (69%) say they do not know enough about Twitter to have an opinion about it. Just over one in ten say it is just at its infancy (12%), 12% also say it is just something that young people and the media will use and 8% of consumers say it is already over and it’s time to find the next best thing.

As might be expected, there is also an age divide on opinions of Twitter. Younger advertisers are more likely to have an opinion on Twitter than their older counterparts (only 11% of 18-39 year olds do not know enough about Twitter to have an opinion compared to 20% of advertisers 40-49 years old and 21% of advertisers 50 and older). Among consumers, the same applies and only half (55%) of adults, 18-34 years old say they don’t know enough to have an opinion, compared to 80% of those 55 and older.

Among those who have an opinion regarding Twitter, feelings about the effectiveness of it for promoting products and ideas are lukewarm among both consumers and advertisers. Among advertisers, just 8% say Twitter is very effective for promoting products and ideas while half (50%) say it is somewhat effective. One-third (34%) of advertisers say it is not that effective and 8% believe it is not at all effective for promoting products and ideas. Among consumers, 8% also say it is very effective for promoting ideas and products and 42% believe it is just somewhat effective. Three in ten (31%) consumers say Twitter is not that effective and 19% feel it is not at all effective for promoting products and ideas.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Global Online Population To Hit 2.2 Billion By 2013

The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45 percent to 2.2 billion users over the next five years, according to a new report by Forrester Research, Inc.. Asia remains the biggest global Internet growth engine: 43 percent of the world's online population will reside in Asia by 2013, with 17 percent of the global online population in China. Growth rates in the US, Western Europe, and the major industrialized nations in Asia Pacific such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea will slow to between 1 percent and 3 percent.

The Internet user base is increasing in every area of the world. Regional highlights include:

North America. Online penetration in the US is set to rise from 73 percent to 82 percent over the next five years, representing about a 3 percent annual growth rate. By 2013, US online penetration will be on par with the most highly penetrated markets of Europe and Asia, such as the Netherlands, the UK, Japan, and South Korea.

Europe. Europe's Internet growth will be fueled by the continent's emerging markets. Internet usage in Russia and Turkey will grow by almost 8 percent annually, while growth in Spain's online population will increase by an average of more than 5 percent each year.

Asia. China's online population (already the largest in the world) will rise by nearly 11 percent each year over the next half decade. Other Asian countries with substantial online growth rates include India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. By contrast, growth rates in some of the more mature markets such as Japan and South Korea will rise by less than 2 percent each year.

Latin America. Brazil is currently the fourth largest market in the world in terms of number of Internet users, but despite a 7 percent annual growth rate over the next five years, it will drop to the No. 5 position in 2010 when it is surpassed by India.

Africa and the Middle East. The countries of the Middle East and Africa currently represent just 8 percent of the global online population but over the next five years will see some of the highest growth rates in the world, around 13 percent. Egypt, Iran, and Nigeria are among the countries with the highest growth rates in the region.

Countries With The Most Internet Users: 2008
1. US
2. China
3. Japan
4. Brazil
5. Germany

Countries With The Most Internet Users: 2013
1. China
2. US
3. India
4. Japan
5. Brazil

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Monday, July 20, 2009

Worldwide CRM Market Grew 12.5 Percent in 2008

Worldwide CRM market revenue totaled $9.15 billion in 2008, a 12.5 percent increase from 2007 revenue of $8.13 billion, according to Gartner Inc. Analysts said that market growth was driven by enterprise investments in technologies focused on customer retention, analytics and on-demand solutions.

Software as a Service (SaaS) continued to drive the market forward, representing nearly 20 percent of total CRM software market revenue in 2008, up from just over 15 percent in 2007. Interest in social networking and social software also escalated in 2008 as businesses were confronted with the sales, marketing, and serviceability impact of increasing consumer participation in online forums.

SAP continued to be the market leader accounting for 22.5 percent of worldwide CRM software revenue in 2008, but this is down from a 25.5 percent share in 2007. Microsoft experienced the strongest growth rate among the top 5 vendors, as its revenue increased 75 percent in 2008.

While the CRM market remains highly concentrated in Western economies, emerging markets are growing rapidly and now account collectively for nearly 16 percent of the worldwide market, up from approximately 13.8 percent in 2006. Although both North America and Europe underperformed in terms of CRM market growth in 2008, their share of the market remained high at 52.5 percent and 31.6 percent, respectively.

Overall market share of each CRM subsegment shifted slightly in 2008, with sales remaining as the largest subsegment, representing 42.8 percent of the market and enjoying the highest growth of 14.7 percent. Marketing automation also continued to grow in 2008, with a 10.4 percent increase, representing 20.6 percent of the CRM market. Customer service and support represented 36.6 percent of the CRM software market, as this segment grew 11.2 percent in 2008.

Gartner said that most vendors remain cautiously optimistic for continued growth for the worldwide CRM market. Gartner advised vendors that they can benefit from strategies that drive customer value creation, which include:

- Aligning products, services and contractual agreements to enable customer business imperatives of higher client acquisition, retention and satisfaction.

- Continuing to offer creative terms to maximize revenue potential and enable businesses to consumer critical products and services.

- Extending application vertical-market functionality, whether by in-house development, acquisition or partnership agreements to take advantage of key verticals or government stimulus packages.

- Focusing product offerings on applications and technologies that provide customers with tools and capabilities to increase visibility on customer requirements and behaviors.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Social Media Index: Wave IV Survey Results

The 2009 Toolbox.com/PJA IT Social Media Index, Wave IV, was conducted between June 3 and June 17, 2009. The goal of the Wave IV survey was to confirm the ongoing use of social media tools and user-generated content by global IT decision-makers and influencers. Additionally, the survey examined attitudes about vendor participation in online communities among these professionals, as well as the value that they place on emerging communities like Twitter for sharing knowledge and solving problems in the workplace.The survey respondent distribution was 64.6% North America, 12.7% Asia, 14.7% Europe, and 8.0% rest of world.

The survey revealed the following:

-- The majority of executives and professionals value vendor participation in online communities. 34.7% responded that vendors must have a presence in online communities, and 42.0% responded that it is important that vendors listen to their audience and engage in conversation.

--Being transparent and open, posting interesting and relevant content, and responding to members’ questions ranked among the most important contributions that vendors can make in an online community.

--More than 90% of executives and professionals rated topic-based communities and knowledge-sharing communities as most appropriate for vendor participation.

--Among the executives and professionals who use Twitter, more than 72% have less than 50 followers, and 62% described Twitter as becoming more useful for sharing and finding content and expertise.

More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Survey Shows Many Users are Underwhelmed by Their Experiences of SaaS

A recent survey by Gartner, Inc. has revealed that although software as a service (SaaS) is more mainstream and less controversial than ever before, many customers are underwhelmed by their current experience of it and sense that SaaS is not quite the panacea it often promised to be.

The survey, which was conducted in December 2008 among users and prospects of SaaS solutions in 333 enterprises in the U.S. and the U.K., found that the apparent acceptance of SaaS as a viable model has not entirely translated into satisfied users of SaaS.

Gartner found that 58 percent of organizations will maintain current levels of SaaS in the next two years, 32 percent will expand, 5 percent will discontinue and 5 percent will decrease levels.

Survey findings showed that overall, organizations are somewhat satisfied with SaaS, with an average score 4.74 on a 7-point scale. All 16 aspects included in the survey rated similarly, including (in order of popularity) functionality for business users, provider responsiveness, reliability of performance to technical specifications, service reliability and support compliance and risk management.

Gartner found slight differences between U.S. and U.K. survey participants. U.S. organizations rated all 16 aspects slightly higher than the overall average at 4.94, while U.K. organizations were more critical and rated slightly lower at 4.34. U.S. respondents were most satisfied with provider responsiveness, functionality for business users and reliability of performance to technical specifications and least satisfied with yearly cost of service, terms and conditions and predictability of costs. U.K. respondents were most satisfied with support compliance and risk management, service reliability and terms and conditions, and least satisfied with speed to implementation, predictability of costs and post sale/user support.

When asked to identify the top three factors that they would consider in making their decision to deploy SaaS, meeting technical requirements was the top overall consideration at 46 percent, followed by security, privacy and/or confidentiality at 33 percent and ease of integration and functionality needed for business unit owners, both at 29 percent.

Respondents who have considered using SaaS, but decided not to, were asked what factors they considered in making the decision. Forty two percent cited high cost of service, 38 percent said difficulty with integration and 33 percent said the solution didn’t meet technical requirements. These findings contradict the general impression that SaaS could help alleviate costs and also that it does not require much integration and technical requirements.

More information on SaaS can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Economy Drives Midsize Companies to Work Smarter, Leaner: IBM Study Reveals Top 5 Trends

A new study by IBM of midsize organizations in 17 countries shows that companies have not been deterred from their plans for strategic IT initiatives, which range from information management and security management to social media and cloud computing -- despite a clear recognition of the need to cut costs in a difficult economy.

Conducted in April - May 2009, IBM's "Inside the Midmarket: A 2009 Perspective" study reveals five key trends:

1. The highest-priority technology solution, chosen by 75 percent of respondents, is Information Management, which turns mountains of data into meaningful insights

2. The most pressing business challenges include increasing efficiency and productivity (80 percent), improving customer care (74 percent) and better use of information (72 percent)

3. The impact of the economy on IT budgets has caused 53 percent to actually increase or re-prioritize their spending, with 37 percent reporting a decrease

4. Despite the economy, more than two-thirds of those surveyed are planning or currently implementing their top IT priorities

5. A majority of firms view their primary IT provider as a technology advisor or IT and business consultant, with 25 percent seeing the relationship as purely transactional

Information management was ranked as the most critical IT priority for improving business performance by the largest majority of participants (75 percent). At a time when digital information is growing every day at a rate eight times the volume housed in all U.S. libraries, organizations need smarter ways to cope with today's increasing information overload by turning this data into real intelligence.

Not surprisingly, 83 percent of midsize companies say improving efficiency is a key priority. Enhancing customer service and prospecting for new customers are also high on the priority list, however (74 percent). A third set business priorities center around improving business agility and decision making, with close to three out of four study participants giving high priority to improving their ability to predict market trends.

Despite the current economic environment, an unexpectedly large percentage of organizations are rethinking, not reducing, when it comes to budget. A total of 53 percent report that their IT budgets are actually increasing (14 percent) or remaining the same but with changing priorities (39 percent). Ten percent report no change, while 37 percent are reducing their budget. According to study data, most are holding or increasing their budgets to use IT to help drive efficiencies or reduce costs in other areas of the business or better connect with customers.

In spite of the current economic climate and concerns about barriers to successful implementation of IT projects, more than two-thirds are planning or currently implementing their top IT priorities, led by Infrastructure Reliability (75 percent), Disaster Recovery (72 percent), Information Management (71 percent) and Security Management (68 percent).

This year's survey also illustrates the growing role of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, green IT, and social media -- areas that were not even included in a similar IBM study conducted in 2007. While lower on the scale of critical priorities, midmarket companies are actively pursuing several emerging technology areas to improve performance. The survey shows that 79 percent intend to implement, have established goals, or have started/completed implementation of Green IT solutions, followed closely by social media/Web 2.0 (71 percent) and Cloud Computing (69 percent).

More information on managing your customers can be found at www.CRMindustry.com