The CRM 2011 Watchlist Part VI(FINAL) - SIs/Consulting, Just Missed

Summary:To RecapThe URLs and the names of the winners of Parts I-V:Finally, the CRM 2011 Watchlist: Part I - SAP, Oracle, salesforce.

To Recap

The URLs and the names of the winners of Parts I-V:
  1. Finally, the CRM 2011 Watchlist: Part I - SAP, Oracle, salesforce.com, Microsoft
  2. The CRM Watchlist Part II: The Usual Suspects - NetSuite, RightNow, Sage, SAS, CDC Software/Pivotal, SugarCRM
  3. The CRM Watchlist 2011 Part III: Representing the Pillars - Marketo, Eloqua, Infusionsoft, Jitterjam, Sword-Ciboodle, GetSatisfaction, Moxie, Genesys, Pegasystems, InsideView
  4. The CRM Watchlist 2011 Part IV: the Social Mainstream - Lithium, Jive, Radian6, Attensity, KickApps, Nimble, INgage Networks
  5. The CRM Watchlist 2011 Part V: Different Strokes - IBM, Cisco, Infor, Relayware, Gist, Clarabridge, Really Simple Systems, Vovici, Zuora

The Winners: SI/Consulting

A beast of a different type, yes? I'm not trying to compare technology vendors to consulting companies or systems integrators. My standards for them were quite different. For example, their actual technology offering wasn't all that meaningful since the vast majority of them offer frameworks and methodologies enhanced by technologies made by other companies. Thus, what becomes important, at least in my assessment of these firms, is their alliances and how smart the mix of partners is and what the partners think of them. Additionally, to these firms, putting practical spin on thought leadership is hugely important. Not only do they need to turn out the strategic thinking and do the research, but they need to be quite tactical and show their plan to execute when it comes to the thinking.  That's why 3 of the 4 winners have a specific Social CRM practice or sub-practice.  That weighed heavily in my decisions.

There are other SI/Consultant firms out there with SCRM practices and/or who provide thought leadership but these are the ones that stood out for either one of them or both.

Cognizant

Cognizant is perhaps one of the most and the least surprising of the winners in 2011. They won in 2010 largely on the basis of their being perhaps the first of these kinds of companies to publicly declare their support for SCRM - adding an SCRM subpractice to their Customer Solutions Practice (the CSP) and being the only company - still the only one as far as I can tell - with an actual SCRM evangelist, thought leader Prem Kumar, based in India. The CSP is run by an excellent management team led by Peter Grambs and supported by Dileep Srinivasan who are driving 55% annual growth in revenue for the CRM related projects - which are marquee.

What really sets these guys apart is their vast (successful) partnerships. They are tied into Oracle, Microsoft, salesforce.com, Pivotal, Cisco, Lithium, Jive, Aprimo, Sword-Ciboodle, Amdocs, Chordiant (though I'm not sure what the Chordiant acquisition by Pegasystems means to this alliance in particular) and Genesys among others. What is notable though is that SAP is missing from this CRM matrix, though they are partnered with SAP on Master Data Management. Unless there are mitigating circumstances that I'm not aware (certainly possible - despite my love of gossip), I'd be rectifying that error and seeing what I could do to effect this particular partnership. Too big a missing piece.

But even with that missing piece this is a sterling set of partners and one that is megapowered. In fact, I know that Cognizant, once they are partnered, don't do them halfway. They were one of the few consulting/SI firms that were involved in the development and testing of Oracle's Fusion apps, including, of course, Oracle Fusion CRM. Smart thinking by Cognizant indeed.

But they don't stop there They put a lot of effort into thought leadership and they have what I'd call a two-pronged approach (whether they call it that or not). One is that they let Prem Kumar, their Social CRM evangelist operate in a technology agnostic way and even a Cognizant-agnostic way to put forward rather smart and always cogent ideas and concepts that help drive Social CRM as a category (for an example of Prem's writing on the collaborative enterprise go here). But they also spend a lot of time doing both the cogitation - so that they come up with the frameworks needed for areas ranging from loyalty to social media integration to a social CRM framework unique to their product/service offering. Plus, where they are the best of the all, they do the legwork. They participate activity in the CRM community in areas ranging from speaking engagements to simply attending all the conferences and engaging the thought leaders who are in attendance. Thus they have the eyes and ears of everyone.

Finally, they live and breathe the voice of the customer. They have a customer advisory council for CRM that I had the opportunity to do a workshop with in (I think) October of 2010. They are a smart bunch of primarily B2B customers of Cognizant. This is the way that it should be. Companies that don't have customer advisory councils are hurting themselves, and are likely to find that in a few years, they won't have customers either.

What does Cognizant have to do? A couple of things - one small and one big.

  1. I would expand the CRM customer advisory council and in that expansion, include a few more B2C customers. I realize that B2B is the CRM practice's sweet spot, but the B2C customers are the social customers and Cognizant is actually engaged in thought leadership, not just implementation and strategy. Knowledge of the thinking of B2C, whether they represent the bulk of Cognizant customers or not, would be important to their thought leadership efforts.
  2. Like it or not, Cognizant has had the reputation, entirely undeserved, as a body shop - meaning they place contractors or employees on jobs they don't run. Let me make something clear. They are a $5 billion company that is by no means even close to a body shop. They are a contender for one of the smartest and productive systems integrators/consulting firms in the world. They can compete with any one including former white shoe accounting firm consulting practices. But Cognizant still has to get past this. They're on the right path and in a few years, the public perception will have completely shifted.

There's a reason that Cognizant makes it into the Watchlist for a second year in a row. They deserve to. They are a proven powerhouse in CRM moving to be that in SCRM. Good for them. But they can't rest on their laurels. 2011 is waiting for them.

Infosys

Infosys is diligent.  They decided at some unknown point that Social CRM is something that they wanted in on and they went about it by constructing a wide offering of services and solutions, each of which is highly granular. Each of the offerings has a detailed set of programs associated with it. Each of the programs has a specific set of metrics associated with it.  Here's some examples of their SCRM (not CRM) offerings:
  1. CRM landscape assessment for the need and readiness for SCRM (service)
  2. SCRM strategy and roadmap consulting (service)
  3. Social analytics - integrated with CRM process (service)
  4. SCRM policy and change management (service)
  5. Industry vertical customization for SCRM use cases (solution)
  6. Voice of the Customer natural language processing powered  social analytics engine (solution)

These are only a few examples. If you take the Infosys program all in all you find they truly understand that as they put it, "Customers define the way business needs to engage them and do business with them. The age of co-creation with customers is arriving."  However, there are things they need to do to make that more apparent than they are.

They don't rest on the current state of their Social CRM offering either.  They've developed a Social CRM Centre of Excellence to keep the advances coming.

Infosys smartly partners with a few key players - Oracle (Diamond Partner), SAP (Global Services), salesforce.com (Premier), Pegasystems (Global Alliance) and Microsoft (Gold Partner). It wouldn't be a bad idea to expand the partnerships with a couple of key selections, but  you couldn't have a much better start than this group.

So, we have a company that's committed to SCRM and has already more than double digit growth in their CRM practice. They are a debt free company with $5.38 billion USD in revenue.

In other words, well positioned to not only continue their successful CRM practice but also make inroads into the implementation of Social CRM in 2011.

But there are things they have to do to make that happen at the level I'm sure they're expecting.

Three related issues that they need to deal with that are impact them in 2011 as customer interest in both CRM and SCRM heats up.

  1. What they present is so overly complicated that customers will zone out from the offering. They need to be focused on simplifying their presentations of their offerings in 2011 - without losing the sense of the genuine value they provide.
  2. Their thought leadership is passive. They have a lot of material out there and a lot of conversation going on in the company but their outreach is nowhere near sufficient to compete for mindshare. They need to be far more aggressive when it comes to getting what they have out there in a way that can be absorbed. They should show up at conferences, sponsor stuff, deal closely with thought leaders, get their customers out there, etc.
  3. Part of the reason for their complex entanglement when it comes to presenting their offerings and what the passivity of their offer when it comes to thought leadership is that they are heavily weighted to technology and process all in all (look at this page for great stuff in that area) - understandable when thinking about what they do. But if they think more about who their customers are and what their customers need, they will begin to present and think with more of the intangibles, the right brain, in mind. What jobs do their customers do? What do they need to do the jobs? Rather than a genuinely impressively deep offering of what Infosys has, show the customers how Infosys can help.

That's a lot to take care of, but, hey, debt-free, an SCRM Centre of Excellence. Makes it interesting and them worth watching in 2011, doesn't it?

Capgemini

Three years ago, I was trolling the web and I found a curious piece of work - a white paper on Social CRM that was done by Capgemini in Europe. Again, three years ago. The author, among others, was Capgemini Global CTO, Andy Mulholland.  I noticed that he attributed a definition that had emerged from the CRM 2.0 Wiki for SCRM to Wikipedia. I wanted the CRM 2.0 wiki to get the credit so I contacted them and they fixed the mistake - and Andy Mulholland and I had a delightful talk on the future of CRM, leaving me with the distinct impression that he truly "got it."

Fast forward to 2009 and conversations I had started having with CRM Chief Architect EMEA Mark Walton-Hayfield and the VP of CRM and Social CRM - yes Social CRM for EMEA, Laurence Buchanan.  These intensely impressive and intelligent conversations led me to realize that Capgemini at least the EMEA portion of it, was one of the first white shoe consulting companies to not only genuinely get it but to take a leading role in the industry to build out what is an impressive operation.

What makes it so impressive is that the idea of the social customer permeates everything they do as company. For example, they have a cloud offering called Capgemini Immediate that is based on the idea that the social customer controls the conversation.  Rather than me try to fully explain that, go here and listen to the video of Laurence Buchanan, who, is now a thought leader in his own right, talk about how that all works. What you'll hear is a company who's culture has been organized around this - and the idea of co-creation and transparency.

Want more to prove that? Thing that makes Capgemini EMEA so compelling is that they have a lot more. In early November 2010, BPT Partners, the training company I co-own with Bruce Culbert, Jeff Tanner and Bill Howell, had the distinct privilege of being hosted by Capgemini for our rather popular, if I do say so myself, two day seminar on SCRM.  This was in London at what they called their Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE), a 21st century environment, that was arguably the most creative I've ever seen. Aside from an incredible staff who, in the way that they handled the event and utilized the ASE, clearly understood the value of co-creation and how the social customer works, the ambiance of the place was designed from top to bottom to be built exactly on the culture that is needed to succeed in what is increasingly becoming social business. Want to see some of this? Check out the video here.

Okay, those are the truly cool, mindshare, thought leadership-y, things that need to be done - and they are doing those.  They do so much more than this, including working with academia on the weightier matters of theoretical/conceptual CRM.

But what about the standard operational matters, the foundation for a successful CRM/SCRM practice?

They do them too.  Their partnership list, as we say in Yinglish, is to die for. They are allied with Oracle, Google, Microsoft, SAP, salesforce.com, Apple, Amazon, Cisco, SAS, Attensity, Jive, Lithium, Sword-Ciboodle, Pegasystems, Eloqua, Radian6, Cordys, and Kognitio. I list them all here (13 Watchlist 2011 winners, peeps) because it is a staggering list, putting pretty much everyone but them to shame.  But what makes this more than a random (HUGE) list is that there is a consideration of where in the matrix of what Capgemini calls Customer Interaction Capabilities each of them fits. These are clearly defined partners who are part of a partner ecosystem. As they say in the world of...of...something, "well played, Capgemini, well played."

They've also developed a five step approach for social transformation that is simple to understand but is able to provide the components for what they see as a successful business change.  It could take as little as 10 months and as much as 20 months to go through all five steps.  The steps begin with a 3 day workshop and end with the "social transformation rollout."

This is a company that not only heard the call, but acted on it. And as Esteban Kolsky, one of the most important SCRM thinkers said, "it doesn't begin with listening, it begins with action."  Something I completely agree on.

Yet, they have what is perhaps one of the most vexing problems of all. This ENTIRE discussion is based on the EMEA organization of Capgemini. While EMEA HQed makes this less of an issue otherwise, the reality is that I don' t see ANY of this in the U.S. In fact, I couldn't give you the name of a person in the Capgemini U.S. offices involved in CRM or SCRM while I probably could give you  30 or 40 in EMEA. I'm not sure why this is the case, but its a serious problem for Capgemini considering how much of the CRM market is in the U.S. and how much the other consulting firms and SIs are in the U.S.  To me, they have NO excuse to not be visible in the U.S. As far as I know, when it comes to CRM they aren't even physically here. But that tells you what I know.

Even with that, the impact that the Capgemini EMEA organization has had in CRM and SCRM with almost 700 people involved in delivery of CRM and a quality of thought leadership, assets that support both the thought leadership and execution and their visibility from Europe, makes them one of the easiest choices I've had to make.

Accenture

Accenture is the company that has come the longest way to get here. I have to be candid and tell you until a about three years ago, I couldn't stand Accenture. Absolutely didn't. But, wait, Paul, you say, what are they doing on your list? Are you trying to balance your chi?

Hold, up, grasshopper, we'll get there. They belong here. That's what they're doing here.

Onward....

About 3 years ago I started meeting the people leading their CRM practice especially Joe Hughes and realized as I saw the work that they were doing with their partners and customers that not only had at least the CRM practice done excellent work at a number of both public sector and commercial clients but they had changes going in their culture, that, in my eyes only could make them better and better. Then I heard from a number of their partners, that they, dang, liked working with the Accenture CRM practice. Plus I really liked Joe. Wow.

All this intrigued me, so I began talking to Accenture customers and other than a random issue here or there - and they were random, trust me - their clients were generally very pleased with the CRM efforts that Accenture was doing. More Wow.

And it just gets better....

They also understood that when it came to Social CRM thought leadership was necessary and as always, Accenture decided to invest in it. Honestly, even in my  darkest moments re: them, I had to give them their props for their thought leadership in the CRM space. They not only never once in all the years,  lagged in their efforts to gain mindshare, but they did and do things in a big way.  Not just whitepapers (though they have those) but books. Witness John Freeland' s middling compendium of CRM thinking to the current newly released "The Social Media Management Handbook", an excellent guide to the use of social tools as serious business tools, not cool playthings. Warning: They speak of strategies, not just tools. Horrors.

Not only that, their CRM partnerships are solid and their channel deep. Beyond that and sometimes interesting. For example, the way that they handled their Microsoft partnership (beyond just CRM) is develop a subsidiary, Avanade, that does only Microsoft related work.  They have the more standard partnerships, Oracle, SAP, Amdocs, etc. and some more unusual ones like Eloqua and Clarabridge -  both wise choices but both much smaller companies than their partner buddy.   What makes Accenture interesting is that they are so ensconced in the CRM world that they bring their partners - no matter how big - some caché and help them in the marketplace.

Scope isn't an issue with Accenture.

Nor are marquee clients.

They have a customer list that is beyond just good.  On the marketing side - it ranges from ABN Amro to Procter and Gamble to the Royal Shakespeare Co; on the sales side, it's Beijing Telecom, Poste Italiane, and Heineken Espana; with customer service - its Best Buy, the Fairmont Hotels and City of New York. Their presence in the public sector in CRM is far beyond any other company I know that isn't explicitly a government contractor only. No one close.

They're recognized for this by pretty much everyone including our brethren at CRM Magazine.  Here's a list that Accenture puts out about their CRM industry awards. Impressive.

But guess what, my transformation from detractor to defender aside, they have issues that they have to deal with.  Here goes:

  1. Sometimes what they produce as a thought leadership document seems...well...rushed. Meaning its not of the quality that, for example, their new book reflects. They need to step up the consistency of the quality of the CRM thought leadership content.  A good example was the mixed quality of the book on CRM that came out under John Freeland's name several  years ago. His piece was good. Some of the others weren't. They can do better because I've seen what they can do. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the quality of their primary research. I've always thought that they did great CRM related stuff. But how they frame their view on CRM and SCRM needs some quality assurance. Make the new book on Social Media Management their benchmark and they'll be good.
  2. They have a problem with their external thought leadership activities. They don't have them. They are rarely seen participating in the discussions around how to move the CRM industry forward beyond producing their own documents. They underestimate the power of that participation - even in the one way that they sometimes too narrowly think about. Market share. Thought leadership isn't only internally generated documents put out to the public. AND its not just attendance at technology vendors conferences. Work on this. To their credit, there does seem to be some attempts by key individuals at Accenture for the outreach necessary. So we'll see how this goes.

All in all, I'm starting to truly respect what Accenture is doing. I think that their sheer size, intelligent approach to thought leadership and what seems to be a determined effort to make the cultural changes that are necessary for engaging the social customer, whether B2B, B2C or P2P, makes them a company to watch this year.

Just Missed

Its a shame.  A cryin' shame.  There were a few companies that missed by less than a half point in my fairly precise (as precise as a right-brainer who cries at movies more than he cries in real life can get) assessments of them as candidates. A couple of them would have probably made it if they had responded and submitted criteria. Conversely, there were a few candidates on the final list who made it because they did respond and I uncovered some information that I just hadn't had.  These are companies that either didn't ever see this list which, shame on them, they should be monitoring stuff like this - not me in particular - stuff like this. It is only to their advantage to put some time into things like this. Maybe they don't care - and simultaneously more power to them and shame on them again.  More power to them because they can ignore things that might differentiate them and shame on them for ignoring things that might differentiate them.  If its just that they missed this, they can easily rectify that by monitoring who's doing what in the industry and responding. If you're on the final candidates list and  you don't go the extra mile as 44 of the 70 final candidates did in this particular survey, then you're passing up an opportunity to be noticed, so don't whine about not getting in front of influencers later. Just to drive home this point, here's a comment from Part V concerning Relayware that might wake a few of you up.

Great timing for me to read this post - we are evaluating Relayware right now and so far it seems to do everything we need other than content syndication - for that they have a partner they work with. The thumbs up from you is a little extra assurance for us that we are making a good investment.

If you don't care, then they don't belong on the list, which means my bad.

There were also a few of the just misses who fell just barely short and actually should be followed anyway maybe but really don't quite reach the level of the ones who made it.

I'm going to give you names but not links.  Why they fell short is either because they have a deficiency in some area that needs to be addressed or perhaps I was missing something and they didn't respond so I don't know what I missed. I am human, not cyborg.  Though often wish I had a couple days a week to be the latter.

In any case, they  just missed for varying reasons - and I mean just. One of them landed right on the threshold and didn't make it only because they scored lower in areas that were weighted higher. So I made a judgment call.  I mean right on the threshold to the hundredths of a point.  Another company, oddly, didn't make the list because of some great moves that I wholly endorse, that they made right before the final winners were posted. Weird, huh?

Here they are:

  1. Pardot
  2. Baynote
  3. ExactTarget
  4. Telligent
  5. Batch Blue
  6. Parature

Hell, I'm going to tell you which company fell short because of the good things they were doing. That would be Baynote who recently (see announcement here) hired Doug Merritt, formerly of SAP as their CEO. Doug is an outstanding choice for CEO, but Baynote fell short because (among a couple of other things), he's just taking over so the uncertainty of brand new management lost them a little - despite the outstanding choice they made. See, told you it was weird.

All of these were really close, but fell short for this year. There are two or three of them that probably would have made it if they had responded to the criteria I asked companies to respond to. Because they didn't respond, they suffered if I was unsure of something. Plus level of effort counts.   They don't want to play, then I'm not coming out after school.

Disclosure, Transparency and All That

I like transparency. I am, thus happy to disclose a few things - about other people - just kidding - about my relationships with varying companies on this list.
  1. I have current paid relationships to some of the companies that won. I have paid relationships to some of the companies that didn't win but made finalist. I have paid relationships to companies who didn't make it to a mile of this list.
  2. I have past paid relationships, but not current to some of the companies that won. I have past paid relationships but not current to some of the companies that made the finalist but not the winners. I have past paid relationships to lots of companies that didn't make it to within a hundred miles of this list.
  3. I have no paid relationship to many of the companies that won. I have no paid relationship to many of the companies that made finalist but didn't win. I have no paid relationships to thousands, if not millions of companies that didn't make it to within a 100 miles of this list.

In other words, as anyone who has dealt with me in the industry knows, paying me to do something for you, buys you no spot on the list and, in fact, buys you no mercy if I think you, even a paid client you, have done something unjust enough to be called to task for it publicly.

Just thought I'd let you know if you didn't already.

We're Now Just About Done....

Well, its now 35,000 words and 218 companies and a couple of hundred hours of writing and research, give or take a few, later and we're or...I'm...done with the Watchlists. Thanks for all your support during this trying period. (he says smiling.). Each of the winners will get a badge that they can display on their sites or wherever they want, sometime in the next two weeks. I am honored to have been able to interact with all these companies over that time and I thank those of you who cooperated with me by putting some your I know limited time into getting me what I needed to handle the choices.

To those who didn't make it, especially the above 6, I hope that you have the wherewithal to make it next year.

Now, lets rock through 2011 and I'll see you with the Watchlists for 2012 in about 12 months.

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software

About

In addition to being the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers Paul Greenberg is President of The 56 Group, LLC, a customer strategy consulting firm, focused on cutting edge CRM strategic services and a founding partner of the CRM training company, BP... Full Bio

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