Customer Relationship Management Offers Internet Service Firms a New Opportunity, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 9, 2000 – Customer relationship management (CRM) represents a new opportunity for Internet service firms. According to IDC, the CRM service market represents a complementary extension of an Internet service firm's core services.

"Leveraging the similarities in the need for consulting, implementation, and operation services in the Internet service and CRM markets, Internet service firms are developing strategic initiatives to offer their clients CRM solutions," said Pooneh Fooladi, research analyst with IDC's Internet Services program. "By doing this, they are selecting an effective way to leverage existing expertise to differentiate themselves within a competitive market."

According to IDC, many emerging Internet service firms have already developed CRM solutions, including Aris, Emerald Solutions, Proxicom, Stonebridge Technologies, and US Interactive. IDC believes there are many reasons these firms are now offering CRM services.

"One of the main reasons Internet service firms are developing CRM services is because their clients are demanding it," said Katrina Menzigian, program manager for IDC's Customer Relationship Management research. "Clients are turning to the same service firm that deployed their initial Internet capabilities for help in developing CRM capabilities."

Additionally, as the Internet services market matures, firms are looking to increase the value of their Web site deployments with business solution relevance. CRM allows them to do this while leveraging existing expertise. "An increasing portion of CRM projects contain an Internet component," Menzigian said. "Many Internet service providers already have CRM expertise within their current employee base." Not only do Internet service firms get to leverage their existing in-house skills, many times they can also rely on alliances and partnerships they already have in place.

"To be competitive in the CRM market, Internet service firms will need to not only deploy emerging technologies, but also understand client issues and work with them toward optimal solutions," Fooladi said. "But Internet service firms that do provide CRM services are aligning themselves with a future market opportunity."

IDC recently published CRM Services and the Internet Service Firm: A Point of Differentiation (IDC #B21851). This report analyzes what's causing Internet service firms to provide CRM services. It profiles five firms with Internet service heritages that have already developed CRM initiatives: Aris, Emerald Solutions, Proxicom, Stonebridge Technologies, and US Interactive. To order a copy of the report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4389 or at ctoffel@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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