The mood was buoyant at the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Show in London amid indications of a rebound in spending, but firms were warned to be more careful in planning projects.
A survey of more than 1,300 largely British firms by the European Centre for Customer Strategy (ECCS) showed that 60 per cent are planning to increase spending. The 2001 survey showed spending to be slightly down.
However, ECCS director David Harvey told delegates that "pressure was increasing" on IT departments to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI), but that few had been able to do so.
Measuring such returns for CRM projects is complicated, said David Briggs, CRM project manager at supermarket giant Tesco.
As an example, he pointed out that a targeted campaign to improve ice cream sales may not be down to improved customer understanding.
"It may just be that the sun shone," he said. "You need to find methods of normalising your data. This helps to show that you are measuring the effects of your project and not just random influences."
The type of CRM project undertaken could also have an effect on ROI.
For example, analytics and data mining projects took a long time to implement, but were able to demonstrate benefits, according to Kevin Lucas, senior analyst at AMR Research.
The choice of CRM vendor has little impact on the likelihood of the project being successful.
"Too much emphasis is placed on software evaluation, while too little attention is given to planning the project and identifying integration issues," said Lucas.
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