Okay, I've made some decisions and have pared down the list to the finalists. A couple of things and then onto the list.
Why Do Companies Make Finalist?Please remember, this isn't CRM Idol. I'm not trying to showcase small companies who are exceptional but buried by the larger and/or more established companies and by the sheer number of companies out there. This is an impact award. These are companies, large, small, mid-sized, who I think are poised to have a significant impact in some way in 2012. Among the ways that the impact could be represented are:
- A breakout product
- Seizing thought leadership in some related area
- Market impact
- The company's sheer size and continued long term existence guarantees them impact pretty much regardless of who they are and how well they do.
- A major initiative that will change the way the market works.
- Continued really good performance year over year with an expectation that they will be seen and recognized for that in 2012
- Fabulous customer achievements but to the level of setting an industry standard
- Impact in a particular distinguishable geographic market
- Faith that they will do something worthy of public recognition (that's the subjective part).
The finalists have been chosen because of the 100 plus companies I chose to be candidates these are the ones that I think have the best potential for this impact, though again, this isn't the winners. That doesn't mean that the companies who didn't make it aren't good companies. To be a candidate, you had to be a good company to begin with. Given that I'm a solo human, I can only track so many over a year and only then go beyond that number by adding companies who had filled out the questionnaire that I made available via my blog and Twitter. Honestly, my thinking there was that if they weren't tracking me, there is no reason that I needed to be tracking them if I wasn't already. Again, this isn't a panel of judges doing this one, like CRM Idol which is more industry wide. This are basically my judgment calls about companies that I think are important or will be important to the industry and the industry's customers so to speak in 2012. Though there are hard numbers associated with the results and thresholds that need to be met.
But even with that said, I would say that I was shortsighted in some areas, so I didn't track companies in those areas and they didn't track me and didn't respond to the questionnaire. My bad, not theirs. So, effectively, I left out companies that I think might have a significant impact in 2012. For example, I paid far less attention to gamification in 2011 than I should have, and didn't see how great an impact it was beginning to have this year. So companies like Bunchball, and Badgeville who are already starting to define the technology market around enterprise gamification aren't included because a. I was myopic and b. I'm just one person and c. They aren't aware of me so they didn't submit the questionnaire. While I could have included them, my actual criteria for candidacy was that I had to have been tracking you for 2011 OR you filled out the questionnaire. So to be fair to those who were candidates, I couldn't include those companies that missed due to my myopia. Vicious circle, huh.
Also, I need to admit that larger companies do tend to get a better shot at things than the smaller. Because this isn't designed to surface companies that have struggled to get noticed, it tends to emphasize companies who are already noticed or who are getting noticed that will be even more noticed in 2012 solely due to their own efforts. The only exception to that is Get Satisfaction and BPMonline. The two CRM Idol winners are guaranteed to be winners of the Watchlist for 2012, because, to win that, you had to be noticed big time by a massive group of influencers and the public. So 2011 is the year that they got noticed (though to be fair, Get Satisfaction was noticed before that) and 2012 is their year to do something with their increased visibility.
Okay, I'm done with all of that.
Here are the finalists broken out by technology vendors and Consulting/SIs. Again, if you didn't make the finals, don't feel so bad. About 40%+ were eliminated in this round. But you are good companies or you wouldn't have made the candidates list either. If you want to know why you didn't, please email me at email@example.com and as best as time permits, I'll set up a phone call with you to explain why you didn't make it. There were multiple reasons. And one more time, the finalists are NOT the winners. They are eligible to win. But congrats on making it to the finals too. Not an easy thing.
- Get Satisfaction
- Crowd Factory
- Meltwater Group
- Soluciones SA
- Zestia/Capsule CRM
- The TAS Group
- Green Beacon Solutions
- Dachis Group
- Peppers & Rogers Group
- Pedowitz Group
- Solvis Consulting
The Plan for the WinnersThe announcement of the winners will be in early to mid January 2012. The hard work comes now as I do my scoring and make some subjective decisions. The baseline is that there is a benchmark number that a company cannot fall below in the scoring. If they do they are out. I'm being tougher this year on the scoring than last year so it could be a lot of the companies don't make it or they do. There is also a benchmark that guarantees your inclusion in the winners. Thus there is a more nebulous middle that allows me some latitude on whether or not the company makes it.
Also, I need to say one other thing. I have a lot of dear friends at some of these companies. Some of my better and even in one case one of my best friends. But that isn't going to weigh in my decision. So I just want to make sure that my friends know, even if their company doesn't make it, that I love them and always will. (sing it Whitney Houston) But this award is nothing personal. Just, I hope, meaningful.