The rapidly changing face of customer engagement these days, combined with a host of closely related factors like next-gen mobility and increased consumer desire for self-service, is leading executives in many companies to plan major upgrades to and/or overhauls of their customer relationship management (CRM) systems in the next few years.

Despite developed countries increasing focus on service economies and user experience-driven products and services, enterprise investment in customer relationship management has been a 2nd or even 3rd tier priority over the last decade. Until just recently, CRM ranked a lowly 18th in leading IT concerns by CIOs according to Gartner. Now that same data shows a dramatic about face, by top IT leaders and CEOs both, meaning that technology and business heads are finally coming to a similar conclusion. This is an alignment that’s much more likely to create change than the reverse situation. What’s the conclusion? Namely that CRM is in the midst of a upheaval in both strategic importance and in the very manner it functions and delivers value to the business.

Rising 10 places to come in at #8 in overall priority for CIOs in 2012, and becoming one of the very top priorities for CEOs over the next 5 years as well, the CRM industry is presently undergoing a renaissance of sorts. It’s moving from the relatively staid function of maintaining customer records and managing trouble tickets to full-on enablement of primary customer engagement itself.

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