Software-as-a-service provider Salesforce has beaten on-premises incumbents to become the biggest provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software.
CRM software is used to organise and automate customer service, marketing and sales.
Marc Benioff’s company stole the number-one spot from SAP last year, beating the company on growth and market share, according to latest numbers from Gartner.
Salesforce’s CRM business made $2.52bn in revenues in 2012 - giving it 14 per cent of the CRM market and a growth of 26 per cent.
SAP made $2.32bn but was more or less flat, with just 0.1 per cent growth, with the company carving out 12.9 per cent of the CRM pie.
Gartner attributed the strong performance to intense competition for the so-called mid-market, a strong opportunity outside the saturated "enterprise", as well as the fact that SAP’s revenue figures had been handicapped by the weakened euro.
SAP remained the single largest CRM company in Western and Eastern Europe, Gartner said. On a worldwide basis, CRM software revenue grew 12.5 per cent to $18bn, and CRM grew three times the average for all enterprise software – that includes operating systems, productivity, ERP and security software.
Joanne Correia, Gartner vice president, said in a statement: “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.”
The news means, by default, Salesforce is also bigger on an individual basis than than Larry Ellison’s Oracle and also larger than Microsoft and IBM.
Ellison, who has been champing at the bit to rob SAP of its title as world’s largest maker of business software by selling more Oracle CRM and ERP, made just $2bn on the CRM front during 2012. Oracle outsold SAP, growing 7.8 per cent, but Oracle still took substantially less of the whole market - 11.1 per cent, according to Gartner.
Microsoft and IBM came in fourth and fifth respectively. ®