Google has achieved much of their fame from their position as the leading search engine on the Web. However, the success of the Google Apps has positioned them as a contender in the enterprise apps world as well. Initially, the apps were targeted at personal productivity and collaboration – Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc. However, how much longer will it be until Google makes a move to go deeper into the enterprise? Is there a customer relationship management (CRM) app in their future?

While Outlook and Exchance are still the kings when it comes to enterprise email service providers, we are seeing more and more companies requesting Gmail integration from their CRM vendors? But what if you could cut out the middle man? What if Gmail was your CRM? Software Advice, an online resource for CRM software buyers, weighed the likelihood of this move in their most recent article. The highlights are below, but be sure to visit their blog and participate in their poll to let them know what you think.

Reasons Google Might Enter the CRM Market

  • Google already has the building blocks to create a CRM. Many small businesses and start-ups have already realized the benefits of Google as a CRM platform for managing relationships. The Apps can be used for email and contact management, opportunity management, segmentation and email campaigns, to name a few. Also, because the Apps operate on the Google platform, every activity is synched together quite nicely. And let’s not forget Android. Google’s mobile operating system would allow them to deliver on the multiple mobile deployment requirements for CRM.
  • CRM is the #1 most searched-for term in the Google Apps Marketplace. While other enterprise apps such as enterprise resource planning and warehouse management systems are usually specific to larger companies, everyone needs a CRM system. And the demand for CRM is particularly strong in the cloud. According to Gartner, cloud-based CRM raked in $2.3 billion in 2009. The market is lucrative enough for Google to take a closer look.
  • If they did enter the market, how would they do it? They could use those building blocks to construct their own. However, Google is no stranger to acquisition. In 2011, Google acquired 11 social media companies. Social is arguably the biggest buzz word in CRM right now. This addition of a social layer to their existing collaborative platform could signal their intention to make a move for CRM.

Reasons Google Might Not Enter the CRM Market

  • Google has a very strong partnership with Salesforce. In the past few years, many predicted that this partnership was setting the stage for an acquistion. But no money has been exchanged. Instead, the companies have tightened their integration. If they were going to make this move, it would have happened already. Any other acquisitive move would not be smart as it would jeopardize the relationship with Salesforce.
  • Google’s new leadership is less focused on the enterprise app space. The previous CEO, Eric Schmidt’s legacy was in enterprise software, having served as the CEO of both Novell and Sun Microsystems. The new guy, Larry Page is an ad man through and through. Many question where Google’s focus will go with a new head honcho. Additionally, Google see most of their revenue from advertising. The App Marketplace allows them to expand their app offering without rocking the ad boat.

The Prediction
There are some strong signs pointing to Google entering the CRM space. However, it is likely that they will continue dipping their fingers into the CRM pie without actually digging in. Most likely, they will extend their apps to include more CRM capabilities, but most with center on that social layer. This move seems more strategic and will allow them to remain competitive in this new wave of social media.