The CRM : Top Software Vendors

The Top Customer Relationship Management Software Solutions

To help understand the CRM software leaders, we share the top 5 CRM software systems as measured by global market share—along with a summary analysis. If you would like to explore a deeper examination and comparative analysis of the Top 10 CRM software solutions, we recommend the Top 10 CRM Software review report. We can validate this report is independent and written by experts, and includes both the advantages and disadvantages for each application.

The Oracle CRM

The Oracle CRM software portfolio includes Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle CRM on Demand, Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle Contact Center Anywhere (CCA), RightNow and the newest flagship product, Fusion CRM. Oracle counts over 6,000 global CRM customers, about 6 millions users and approximately 130 million self service users.

Siebel Systems was the undisputed CRM software leader from the 90’s through the turn of the century, peaking at 45% market share in 2002. Since being acquired in 2005 by Oracle, the software solution has continued its assertive push however with stiff competition from arch rival SAP, and multiple ways to measure market share, both SAP and Oracle claim the top CRM software position. Most analysts give Oracle a slight edge, however, it really comes down to what measures are used.

Oracle Siebel is a mature and impressive customer relationship management system. The applications roots were deep in Sales Force Automation (SFA), however, over several years the company acquired or built-out a broad CRM suite with dozens of industry specific vertical market CRM solutions.

Oracle Siebel, like most legacy client-server CRM systems, has a reputation for high risk, and expensive deployments—leaving this type of enterprise software solution for midmarket and enterprise-level customers and budgets. In fact, failed implementations and frustrated customers were the primary impetus for the rise and sky-rocketing growth of cloud or software as a service (SaaS) CRM applications. Not to be left out of a major market movement, Oracle also delivers its Oracle CRM on Demand for SaaS CRM prospects as well as RightNow for customer service and customer experience prospects and Oracle Fusion for higher-end, broad-based CRM. Over the longer run, Oracle Fusion will become the flagship product, however, that is still several years into the future.

The SAP CRM system

The SAP CRM system is a fully integrated customer relationship management (CRM) application that targets business software requirements of midsize and enterprise organizations across industries and locations.

SAP’s CRM system offers several integrated modules that automate traditional customer facing process areas such as SAP CRM Sales (sales force automation), SAP CRM Marketing, SAP CRM Service, SAP CRM Interaction Center, SAP CRM Web Channel (with E-Marketing, E-Service and E-Commerce) and SAP CRM Partner Channel Management.

Similar to arch rival and top competitor Oracle, SAP has more recently released two SaaS CRM systems—SAP Sales on Demand which is a cloud CRM extension for the company’s on-premise ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) application and SAP Business ByDesign which is a full ERP cloud suite that includes CRM.

For businesses seeking a wholesale transition to the cloud, the Business ByDesign cloud product is the only option available from SAP. Business ByDesign is a purpose built cloud and SaaS product covering the breadth of ERP and CRM. is still the (relative) new guy, but no longer a small guy. The cloud CRM pioneer and advocate is now the third largest CRM software company in terms of market share (although Microsoft also asserts this position and the two are very close in CRM market share). While not nearly the size if its major software competitors—such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft—it has nonetheless secured over two million global customers and for the most part continues to show higher growth than the market average. became a leading vendor of customer relationship management software applications using the software-as-a-service or cloud computing model. The company’s flagship product is a CRM system designed for businesses of all sizes and industries worldwide and focusing on the disruptive opportunities driven by cloud, social and mobile.

Salesforce is also advancing its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution called and managing an eco-system of somewhat integrated third party products in an online marketplace called AppExchange. prices its CRM software solutions to businesses on a subscription basis, primarily through direct sales but also less frequently through a business partner channel. The software solution is not available for on-premise or private cloud use.


Microsoft is in the number four CRM software market position. As is often the history with Microsoft, it takes them a few versions to get a new product right, but once they get it they have the proven experience is scaling growth like no other competitor.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the 5th version release for the customer relationship management software. Some analysts point out there was never a version number two and Microsoft accelerated their version count as they skipped from version one to version three. However, with the most recent name change from CRM 5 to Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft has moved away from the sequential version numbering scheme.

Dynamics CRM is somewhat unique in an increasingly crowded CRM software market to use the same code base for both on-premise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery models. It also gives customers more choices in hosting delivery by supporting multiple public clouds for SaaS delivery. Customers have the option to subscribe to Dynamics CRM directly from Microsoft or may choose from a number of hosting providers and specialized Microsoft channel partners.

Microsoft CRM also allows cloud customers and business partners to install sever-side code in the Microsoft cloud. This permits greater extensibility for a number of business processes not supported by some competitors such as Microsoft’s CRM solution will also continue to advance in combination with Azure, its high profile public cloud platform. Additional unique Microsoft CRM product capabilities include the tightest integration with Outlook, Office & SharePoint; highly configurable role-based workflows; business intelligence (BI) and analytics; and a suite of strong technology tools for software integration and customization.


SugarCRM doesn’t match the company size or global brand recognition of the prior four CRM vendors, but nonetheless is the number five market share leader and a very strong competitor in its target markets.

Sugar is a maker of open source CRM software, and while there are dozens of open source CRM software systems in the market, Sugar CRM stands alone and ahead of the pack primarily due to offering an extremely easy to use product that is functionally rich and at a very low price point. Sugar CRM is easily the most cost effective CRM solution in the market.

Open Source CRM software like Sugar is proliferating in large part because these systems provide customers with choices outside of the traditional commercial or proprietary CRM applications like SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft. For companies seeking increased software control to accommodate challenging industry requirements, unique business processes, complex feature sets or budgetary constraints, open source CRM software can provide both a viable alternative and an entry point to an enterprise-wide open source software technology strategy.

Very low acquisition costs, unfettered extensibility, choice in software delivery methods such as SaaS/cloud or on-premise, freedom from vendor lock-in and growing support from global ecosystems are driving increased attention and adoption of open source CRM systems.

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