It’s uncertain how the CRM market will look in six months, given the stock market, the economy and the tax bill. Initial indications are that more money will be available for various corporate activities, like hiring and rewarding employees and investments in products and business processes. If so, a decent amount of cash might find its way into various CRM company coffers. But which ones?
At this point in the cycle, the CRM market is especially robust, and that can be a happy problem of too much. Businesses are being told of the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and digitalization in all of its forms, and though they’re all important, we’ve seen this movie before.
Man vs. Machine
Despite the emphasis many have been placing on digitalization, some of us have made whole careers of digitizing one or more parts of businesses. Ditto AI, which goes back to mini-computers at least. I know my career has been all about those things.
What’s different today is the Internet, the speed with which we can take actions, and the focus on the man vs. machine debate. In the way-back time, nobody took the man vs. machine thing very seriously. Although labor-saving technology sold itself on the ROI from reduced headcount, no one seriously considered job losses (they did occur in some cases). The focus was on reassigning people from low-value add jobs to higher-value ones.
Today’s market is also different because at least some vendors are bringing out categories few of us have considered. You can see that when people pause and say, “Gee, I never… .” In all of this it’s hard to decide where to focus our efforts. Following are a couple of recent examples to illustrate some of these points.
Conga has introduced Conga Sign, a signature capture solution for Salesforce. That seems like a tight market, with companies like DocuSign having been one of the first vendors in the space back in the Punic Wars, but there it is.
No doubt Conga’s integration with Salesforce will give people a reason to investigate, and Conga’s long-term customer base will be glad to have the choice. At the same time, having another product like this in the AppExchange won’t hurt Salesforce either.