Salesforce.com has one of the most established partner ecosystems of any cloud application provider, and Forrester periodically conducts a Wave ranking that evaluates which ones are doing the best job.
This week, the research firm updated its assessment, identifying the 10 companies that it feels are best-equipped to handle integrations, customizations and migrations related to the CRM platform (and all the various other applications, cloud or otherwise, that plug into it).
Even though Salesforce.com has its own services division, the Forrester report suggests that this group is mainly limited to technical expertise. The report's authors write:
"Salesforce.com itself does not have as much depth and breadth of industry expertise or program management, including governance and change management, as other competitors in its ecosystem — and it lacks some of the deep expertise in third-party products (such as SAP and Oracle) that are likely to be an integrated part of a complex Salesforce.com rollout."
With that in mind, Forrester used the following screening criteria to pick which companies it considers in its latest Wave ranking for Salesforce.com implementation partners. They include:
- At least $30 million in revenue related to Salesforce.com deployments, along with at least 200 "skilled resources"
- At least 40 Salesforce.com deployments during the past year
- Global capabilities across industries, geographies and process areas
- A focus on large enterprise accounts that are part of Forrester's research client base
Here are the 10 next-gen partners that Forrester ranks, along with where they fit. (The list is in the order that Forrester offers.)
- Accenture - The company has the largest practice, with more than 2,000 "resources" globally and the most with actual certification credentials on the platform. One of its differentiators is delivery accelerators.
- Deloitte - Noted primarily for its ability to handle "complex and multinational projects," the integrator is making "aggressive investments" in its Salesforce.com capabilities. It also has a strong related mobile practice.
- Appirio - The boutique services firm has 250 Salesforce.com-skilled resources, almost all of which are certified. (The company requires certification within 90 days of hiring.) It has two other differentiators: access to more than 70,000 developers through the CloudSpokes platform and relationships with other cloud providers, including Marketo, Workday, Google, Box and Jobvite.
- Capgemini - Known for its ability to manage "digital disruption," more than half of its Salesforce.com client base is based in Europe.
- Bluewolf - Another cloud-centric integrator, the company works across all major industries but has particular experience in media, financial services, health care and high-tech. It has built unique services around Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Force.com.
- Fujitsu - The company got into this space by acquiring Okere in 2007. Globally, it has a strong focus on manufacturers (although each region has a particular industry strength, as well). It has focused particular attention on building extra security into its Salesforce.com deployments, and also has experience with non-profits.
- Cloud Sherpas - Originally a major Google services partner, this company is a more recent addition to the Salesforce.com ecosystem — it acquired several firms to build its resources. It dominates when it comes to financial services clients.
- Wipro - Forrester lists the company's biggest strength as its ability to integrate Salesforce.com with relevant enterprise software technologies from Oracle, SAP, webMethods and Tibco Software.
- TCS - The company's portfolio includes industry-specific intellectual property, including solutions for the automotive industry.
- Cognizant - It has one of the fastest-growing Salesforce.com practices, achieving Platinum Partner status in April. One knock reported by Forrester, however, is that too many of the consultants are sourced from India. It needs more local expertise.