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In order to deliver personalized shopping experiences at scale, brands and retailers have opened their wallets to invest in customer relationship management software. According to Gartner research, the global market for such platforms secured $39.5 billion in 2017 — surpassing the database management programs, which earned $36.8 billion last year. And it will likely only increase — organizations are shifting more resources to the space in order to comply with GDPR regulations.

“In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest-growing software market with a growth rate of 16 percent,” said Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner.

The need for robust, holistic perspectives on consumer behavior and preferences has necessitated the overhaul on traditionally legacy programs, which have resulted in blind spots within the same organization. These lapses in transparency have often been at the cost of the consumer experience, leading to the loss of brand loyalty or online shopping cart abandonment.

“Organizations are keen to avoid silos of information and to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer, said Poulter.”The 360-degree view allows better application of artificial intelligence to make the users of the CRM system more effective.”

According to Poulter, the growth of the software was mainly due to interest in lead management, voice of the customer and field service management, which are each delivering more than 20 percent growth.

Deploying a rich CRM system is increasingly important in the face of the looming GDPR deadline — May 25. After the date, organizations that utilize insufficient CRM systems and that violate privacy of individuals stand to be slapped with severe consequences.

“It is critical that organizations are compliant with GDPR as soon as possible, or at the very latest May 25, because when customers don’t trust an organization’s customer data protection, they put their own safeguards in place, like providing false data or closing accounts,” said Bart Willemsen, research director at Gartner. This reduces an organization’s chances of reaching the right customers with the right offers at the right time.”

According to the RSA’s report, “Privacy and Security,” if a company fails to meet GDPR regulations, they may be fined four percent of their global turnover, or €20 million — whichever sum is greater.

These ramifications are driving companies to double down on efficient and premium CRM systems, which include marketing technology, data loss prevention, security information and event management, particularly within Western Europe, a Gartner spokesman said.

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