Sizzling hot demand for CRM has seen it overtake database management systems (DBMSs) as the largest software sub-segment, according to Gartner.
The analyst also tipped CRM's star to continue rising thanks to GDPR, which will be enforced from 25 May.
CRM software revenues hit $39.5bn (£25.9bn) in 2017, ahead of DBMS sales of $36.8bn. The market is projected to grow a further 16 per cent in 2018, making it not only the largest, but also the fastest-growing software market.
The lead management, voice of the customer and field service management sectors of the CRM market are each enjoying more than 20 per cent growth, Gartner noted.
The market's major suite vendors are showing "stronger than average growth" as they successfully cross-sell additional modules to existing customers, Gartner added.
"Organisations are keen to avoid silos of information and to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer," said Gartner research director Julian Poulter.
"The 360-degree view allows better application of artificial intelligence to make the users of the CRM system more effective."
CRM budgets will rise further over the next three years in the wake of GDPR, added Gartner research director Bart Willemsen.
"Poor CRM will lead to a privacy violation and a GDPR sanction. Application leaders need to enhance control over personal data usage throughout the data life cycle and safeguard processed personal data so that it is not used beyond the context of predefined and documented use cases," Willemsen said.
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