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    Cloud-based CRM has Become Driving Force Behind Customer Service

    Of the numerous ways that cloud computing helps empower businesses worldwide, customer relationship management (CRM) is rapidly emerging as the most notable. Cloud use makes a wide variety of tasks easier and more efficient, but it’s especially valuable in customer relations, an area where firms invest a great deal of time and money into gathering data and sharing it to make analytical business decisions.

    According to Gartner, total worldwide revenue from CRM software totaled $18 billion in 2012, an increase of 12.5 percent from $16 billion in 2011. There are now numerous vendors of CRM products on the market competing for business. The top five software manufacturers, led by Salesforce.com at just over $2.5 billion, made up nearly 50 percent of the revenue, but there were plenty of other vendors hawking CRM products in 2012. The market for CRM has become as deep as it is lucrative.

    Joanne Correia, vice president at Gartner, noted that corporations are more willing than they used to be to spend money on technological initiatives like cloud CRM.

    “With corporate cash at all-time highs, many vendors are willing to pay high premiums to acquire specific technologies and expertise in an increasingly dynamic and competitive CRM market environment,” Correia said. “Competition among CRM software vendors really heated up in 2012, as major players continued to vie for broader market penetration internationally and more widespread adoption within midsize to large enterprises.”

    Benefits of cloud CRM
    Cloud CRM has two major things going for it, as PC World explains. First of all, it’s inexpensive or sometimes even free to try. You can experiment with affordable cloud solutions first before making a major financial commitment.

    “Play around with them for a while to find out what you like and don’t like,” technology consultant James Gaskin told the news source. “Then when you’re ready, you can start adding more users and data to the system or switch to another one, if the free tool doesn’t meet your needs.”

    The other major benefit of cloud CRM is it’s social – PC World estimates that about 80 percent of American adults are plugged into social networking sites, and cloud CRM works as a way of gathering information from consumers and putting it to use quickly.

    While cloud computing can help nearly every aspect of companies’ day-to-day operations, it’s never been more influential than it is today in customer service.