A massive shift is taking place in the provision of customer relationship management software (CRM), according to IT analyst Garner.

It is predicting that the number of mobile CRM apps available will rise from over 200 in 2012 to more than 1,200 in 2014, and that by 2016 more than half of CRM will be delivered as software-as-a-service (Saas).

In a new report on the subject, it is forecasting that developers will respond in a big way to the increase in mobile working, but warning that not all of the apps will be up to scratch.

"Many organisations want to extend their customer service to the mobile platform market. However, the reality is that not all good applications make a good mobile application," said John Jacobs, Research Director at Gartner.

The company says that some CRM vendors will gain a competitive advantage from the shift to apps, but will have to decide whether to provide them free of charge, in paid versions or both. There could also be a shortage of development skills.

SaaS will increase its share of the CRM market from 39% in 2012 to 42% by the end of 2013 to more than 50% in 2016.

Joanne Correira, Research Vice President at Gartner, said: "Almost all large organisations will use a mix of SaaS and non-SaaS CRM applications for the next decade, which will require IT orgaanisations to develop the skills needed to integrate SaaS and non-SaaS deployments."

The report also predicts that Salesforce will retain its position as the leading vendor in the world CRM market by revenue over this year, after having taken the spot from SAP last year.