Google And Its Effects on CRM

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) recently released their annual e-business report, and Google came out the preferred Internet Portal and Search Engine, scoring a telling 9 points ahead of the next runner up. The quality of Google’s search results isn’t the sole factor in its popularity—their web presence is near inescapable given the number of applications bearing its name. With the proliferation of Google Apps, it is worthwhile to consider the effects on CRM systems, and to what extent the two are competitors.

With Google’s cloud computing capabilities and impressive number of applications—including the “holy trinity” (spreadsheets, documents, and calendar)—it is often the preferred method of managing customer relations for small businesses. It cuts down on overhead costs, and smaller businesses are not as easily deterred as larger ones by the security issues of the Google cloud and the occasional outages.

In some cases Google may not appear to be a major CRM competitor, but many CRM platforms have added Google integrations, both at the small-business and conglomerate levels. has been integrating with Google since 2003, and in 2008 announced Salesforce CRM for Google Apps. The scalability granted by the cloud makes this platform to accessible by businesses of all sizes, though the aforementioned security and outage issues prevent many large businesses to relying on Google Apps for their CRM needs.

Zoho recently launched a sign-in integration with Google, and taken with Salesforce’s own integration, it is obvious CRM providers acknowledge the power of Google Apps even if they don’t fear it. These integrations are certainly smart, and some providers are taking their recognition further and adding in-cloud platforms—Salesforce has Service Cloud, and Microsoft announced Azure almost a year ago—to cover all bases.

It’s tough to say whether Google Applications will act as a serious competitor to large-business CRM systems, given that its current shortcomings would most likely not be easily fixed without changing the attractive price point. With some segments Google Apps it presents a challenge, but otherwise it is a tool for circulation.

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