Customer Relationship Management software is one of those necessary products for businesses, but finding the right one for yours is rarely an easy task. Whether you’re in the market for new CRM, are considering a change alongside another business management solution like ERP, or just looking to understand what options are available, it’s important to see where vendors stack up.
Nucleus Value Matrix for CRM Technology
Recently, leading analyst firm Nucleus Research released the CRM Technology Value Matrix for 2019, designed to discuss the ongoing trends in the industry, explore what technologies are being added, and ultimately compare vendors on their ability to deliver usability and functionality—the two components they find every software should deliver.
Basics of the Nucleus Value Matrix
Using one of the more interesting measures of a vendor (and a software), the Nucleus Value Matrix takes into consideration two things that directly affect the way end users work. When deciding on any solution, a company needs to look not only on whether a product can do its job, but how easily end users can adopt the solution.
With ten different categories for comparison, the Value Matrix touts itself as a straightforward analysis of what businesses and end users will get out of a solution if they move to implement today:
“It’s all about simplifying the tech decision based on the facts, not magic. Not market share, future promises and opinion. An accurate assessment of where each technology stands based on the factors you need to make the right decision – does it have the features we need and will our team be able to actually use it?”
Two Components of Value: Functionality and Usability
In this, they define functionality and usability as the following:
- Functionality: The whole point of investing in technology is to get beneficial features, tools and overall functionality that can help your business. With the Value Matrix, you quickly see how each vendor compares within the industry. The further to the right, the more functionality it delivers.
- Usability: What’s the point in having the best functionality if few people within the business can actually use it? As more departments use a certain solution (e.g. finance needing to use CRM, sales needing to understand ERP or BI tools), the need for usability becomes more important in the decision process, as you need to train end users who have likely had no interaction with a specific product in the past.
How Nucleus Labels Software
From here, they break down software into Leaders (high usability, high functionality), Facilitators (high usability, lower functionality), Experts (high functionality, lower usability), and core providers (lower functionality, lower usability).
Additionally, they track where each software is moving with an arrow to display whether a vendor is trending up (better usability than last report) and to the right (better functionality). Regardless of where these products appear (i.e. a core provider is still one of the ‘best’ 20 or so products, just not as functional or usable as a leader), this provides a comparison of where the vendors stand.
What is Nucleus Research Looking for in CRM Systems in 2019?
In the entire 18-page report, available for download here, the analyst firm discusses what they expect from software, noting that “leading customer relationship management (CRM) providers are doubling down on data integration, orchestration, and mapping capabilities to link data among and beyond CRM applications and provide a complete real-time view of the customer.”
Software should provide businesses the ability to “drive greater productivity, reduce data management efforts, and bring together a rich and complete enough data set to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics for measurable results across sales, service, and marketing.”
Among the current innovations vendors need to provide to hold their position or move up and to the right:
- AI and Machine Learning: In CRM, Nucleus is seeing customers achieve value from embedded bots, AI-driven coaching and recommendations, and automation through AI.
- A Focus on Microverticals: Different companies have different needs, and Nucleus expects software to come ready-to-use for specific verticals.
- A Focus on Solutions: Customers need holistic products, not just a couple micro-offerings disparate within a CRM. Vendors are packaging up components of micromarketing in sales force automation (SFA) solutions, aligning sales and service more effectively, and more.
Acumatica Moving Up in the CRM World
With one of the most pressing matters for businesses being ERP and CRM integration—due in part to the costs to retain customers, collect money, and manage new accounting standards like ASC 606, these two platforms need to be aligned—imagine getting a powerful CRM solution built by the same company who provides ERP.
In labeling Acumatica a Facilitator for its high usability, Nucleus notes that
“Although Acumatica is primarily an enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor, it is covered in the CRM Value Matrix because of its integration and breadth of features that make it a competitive CRM product. It is also noteworthy that Acumatica uses the same UI across all modules, so users can be easily trained on ERP and CRM capabilities.”
They go on to celebrate the company for its ability to integrate externally, offer customer self-service portals, automate a wide variety of processes, and manage quotes and opportunities with ease.
The entire report discusses much more and explores how Acumatica stands up to the competition. Download it here.
Get the Value You Need with the Solution You Want—Crestwood Integration
Acumatica made a strong showing on the Nucleus Value Matrix for CRM Technology in 2019 and continues to improve (see their innovations between 2017 R2 and 2019 R1 here), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the elephant in the room. Salesforce, of course, is the most-used CRM and most highly rated product by Nucleus Research.
While we do believe in the transformative power of Acumatica CRM and celebrate its usability, functionality (it’s one of only three ERP vendors on the CRM list), and ease of integration (built on the same platform as the ERP), we also know that half the market uses Salesforce.
In a recent blog we discussed just that, noting that the beauty of Acumatica ERP is that it can be integrated with Salesforce—with the right help. At Crestwood, we have the skills to deliver just that.
Whether you want native integration between Acumatica CRM and Nucleus ERP Leader Acumatica Cloud ERP, or want to keep using your current CRM solution—Salesforce, Sugar, or Hubspot, we can and have helped organizations just like you to get exactly what they need and want—a smarter stack of applications that works together to drive your business forward.