CRM Watchlist 2012 - The Winners List

I'm going to try something new.  I've never done this before.
Written by Paul Greenberg, Contributor

I'm going to try something new.  I've never done this before. Let me know if you think this is a good way to proceed.

I've now published the two parts of The CRM Watchlist 2012 Winners that cover the Big 4 who pretty much are going to win the award even if they are not doing so well because of their sheer size and because they have a presence in the market that is irreducible.  That would be Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and salesforce.com.

Here are the links to:

CRM Watchlist 2012 Winners Part 1A - Salesforce.com, Microsoft

CRM Watchlist 2012 Winners Part 1B - SAP, Oracle

In the past, after the Big 4 reviews, I've announced the winners by category and piecemeal over an extended period of time. So companies didn't know that they won until they had their review published.

What I'm going to do in this post is a bit of a departure from the past.

This year, since I'm bringing back the six-months review finalists, (see below for explanation) in addition to the winners, I've decided that I'm going to publish a list of the winners and the 6 month review candidates and special winner categories all at once.  Then I'll publish the winners' individual reviews over the next two or three weeks. Thus, the links provided (except where noted) are links to the winners websites CRM practices.

Let me know what you think.

The Winners

These are in alphabetical order except the very top one which is the top scoring winner this year. It was a surprise but it made sense nonetheless. Though you'll have to wait for the review to see why. I'm also including the Big 4 in the list though they are linked to their reviews.


  2. Attensity
  3. BPMonline
  4. Coveo
  5. Get Satisfaction
  6. Hubspot
  7. Infor
  8. Infusionsoft
  9. Jive
  10. Kana
  11. Lithium
  12. Marketo
  13. Microsoft (link to review)
  14. Moxie
  15. NetSuite
  16. Nexj
  17. Nimble
  18. Oracle/RightNow (link to review)
  19. Parature
  20. Pegasystems
  21. Salesforce.com/Radian6/Assistly (link to review)
  22. SAP/Successfactors (link to review)
  23. SugarCRM
  24. Sword-Ciboodle
  25. Yammer

Consulting/SI Firms

This is a separate category as you probably noticed by the headlines. Here are the winners. The Six Month Review list has the SI firms that need to be considered. Same deal. They are in alphabetical order except for the highest scoring winner. Note that Peppers and Rogers Group is the recipient of the 1st Annual CRM Watchlist Lifetime Impact Award. Though you'll have to wait until the review to find out what the hell I mean by that.

  2. Accenture
  3. Capgemini
  4. Pedowitz Group
  5. Solvis Consulting
  6. Peppers & Rogers Group - SPECIAL LIFETIME IMPACT AWARD (More in review)

The Broad Brush Winners

I've decided, more or less at the last minute, to talk briefly about the two out of category winners.  These are companies that I think merit consideration but are not CRM related companies and I'd be stretching the awards to call them that. But for varying reasons, they merit mention as out of category winners who will have an impact on CRM broadly in 2012 though really don't belong in the main awards list. I'll briefly describe them and why right here, though they won't be getting full reviews in 2012. But they are winners of the Broad Brush Category in 2012. SuccessFactors would have also won but they were bought by SAP in 2011 and are considered as part of SAP as a result.

  1. Financialforce - There is no doubt about this one. Financialforce has been a, if not the leader for back office financial applications for a long time. This year, which is why they are Broad Brush winners is their addition of a Professional Services Automation (PSA) services offering that puts them in the in between area between CRM and the back office.  They have had a clear perspective from day one that they need to be tightly integrated with CRM, particularly, as I'm sure you've guessed, salesforce.com. These guys have nailed a position as a Broad Brush winner because they provide the contemporary ancillary services that CRM practitioners need to make their offering stronger.  Never forget that.
  2. Zuora -These guys, if you don't know them, specialize in subscription based payments and billings. Led by superstar CEO Tien Tzuo, they dominate their market. Granted, its a small market with a few pretty hefty competitors, but what makes Zuora stand out far beyond their market is Tien's relentless and successful proselytizing on what he calls "the subscription based economy."  Its hard to dispute what Tien says about it - we are moving to a cloud based world where recurring revenue models will become the norm.  He's gotten the attention of thought leaders in CRM (Denis Pombriant among others) and has put Zuora on that small list of non-CRM companies who impact CRM. Well done.

The Six Month Review List

These companies didn't win - yet. All of them are really close to winners but for one reason or another - which I will outline next to their name, they didn't win in 2012 but in mid-2012, I'll review them again and if they've done what I think they need to, I'll announce them as winners for the 2012 Watchlist. I know that this takes away some of the luster but that, of course, presumes that something I award has any luster to begin with. I apologize if that is what it seems to be doing, but on the one hand, in good conscience I couldn't name these companies winners because of things that ranged from something that was incomplete, brand new and not fully realized yet, not executed, or I was missing information that I couldn't and they didn't take the time to provide it to me.  It could be any or all of those.

Here is the list in alphabetical order - each with a reason as to why they are not quite winners yet. I will pledge here and now that in July 2012, (after 6 mos are up) I will reach out to these companies and ask them to show me what I'm asking they do here. If they show me that they have done that, they win.  If not, they lose.  No further review.

The list, please:

  1. Acquia - The only thing about Acquia that kept them out of the winners circle was their lack of presence in the enterprise world. They are a player and a company to keep your eye on but they have not had the visibility that many of the winners have had in the Fortune 3500 and in the CRM market that winners on the list have had. If they take the next six months and get more visible, they might be a shoo-in.
  2. Cognizant - This one was somewhat painful, because they had emerged over the last couple of years as major impact players. They don't make it to the winners circle just yet because they are internally reorganizing in a way that, without going into details, both makes a lot of sense for their business model and at the same time explains why they regressed somewhat in 2011.  The key to their re-emergence in 2012 is a. the completion of the reorganization and b. even as they move to finalize the institutional changes over the next six months, an escalation of their participation in the market beyond just their always sterling thought leadership guy Prem Kumar.
  3. Crowd Factory - Again, this is a company that placed second in CRM Idol 2011 and at the same time the CEO Sanjay Dholakia is known well by the influencers and the community at large. They need to do two things in the next 6 mos to really shore up their presence. First, be considerably more aggressive about providing thought leadership around social marketing. Second, close a big deal or two so that their sticking power is more than just likely, its definite.
  4. Dachis Group - I'm just simply undecided about these guys.  They have a strong set of practices and frameworks to provide to their clients; they do market research that ranges from adequate to very good; they have been on a small company acquisition tear grabbing such collaboration and social business thought leaders like Susan Scrupski and Dion Hinchcliffe in the process; they have a clear mission around social business; but, truthfully, I just don't feel totally right about including them without a deeper investigation into their culture and their actual toolsets. They seem to be halfway between a consultancy and a solutions group and I need to resolve that. I don't think they were even aware of their finalist status in this award so they needless to say didn't volunteer any information. So I think I just need more time to get comfortable and see if they have the culture they need to be the kind of true impact player they can. They sure have the thought leadership. But I need to know more than that. I can't write them off, but in good conscience, they haven't shown me what I need either.
  5. IBM et. al. - Its hard not to put a $100 billion company as a guaranteed winner, but they have lagged on CRM for many years. They have a CRM practice on the Consulting Services side that is active, but tends to the traditional. Their biggest problem is that they are so big that they don't coordinate their programs or messaging very well and it's a bit of a mess to figure out, when it comes to CRM where they are really at.  But they have an opportunity. The markers for the next six months for me are the SugarCRM/IBM alliance's success; the coordination of messaging around CRM - e.g. taking their invaluable asset - the Institute for Business Value and its research such as the often quoted "From Social Media to Social CRM" and showing how this is being practically applied at IBM.  Third a coordinated thought leadership effort (not fragmented departmental) around CRM and Social CRM that goes beyond just their transition to a social business.  Fourth, CRM case studies that show success in both traditional and innovative ways.  Do all that, and IBM wins. But they have to do that. They are too big not to.
  6. InsideView - This might have been the toughest of all since they are powerful thought leaders in the sales intelligence market and have made an impact over the last few years to the point that Gartner said in their Social CRM Magic Quadrant for 2011 that they had a disproportionate amount of thought leadership given their size. But that is also their burden. The reason I'm waiting and seeing is that I think that they can do considerably better in the area of thought leadership but the expectations are much higher now that they are the leaders. Their technology is solid as a rock. I recommend it when asked. But while, of course, expectations are sky high for them, they seem (to me, at least) to be coasting on what they've already done without much in the way of a true vision. So more thinking around their vision and its reflection in their products and in the marketplace is in order. I don't doubt their ability to do this, but I need to see it in 2012.  There is powerful competition on the horizon.
  7. Pivotal - They were in the forefront in 2010 of social CRM technology with one of the first true, "meets the test" SCRM technologies. They went gangbusters that year in making sure that analysts were briefed, the market knew about their product and that they were able to provide actual case studies and use cases for what they were doing. But 2011 was a different story. They simply slowed up though they did keep some of the analysts briefed, their visibility was dramatically reduced. Part of that is due to the bankruptcy of soon to be former parent company CDC.  They will be spending the next few months making the transition back to an independent company which is one of the reasons that I need to wait and see. I have faith in them, no doubt about that. But its not that easy a road.
  8. SAS - This is another one of those "should I have or shouldn't I have?" They develop highly scalable, complex (sometimes complicated) but powerful products. Their customer intelligence group is excellent. They are making some inroads via the work of Angela Lipscomb and Wilson Raj into the influencer relations world that would have been unthinkable there about 2 years ago. They are financially solid. They are as always one of the best (in 2011, THE best) place to work in North America according to Fortune magazine.  So why here?  In the next six months, they have three things they need to do.  1. Show the world that saying that customer intelligence is the third most important of their global initiatives is more than a statement; 2. Show that they can make the improvements that Wilson Ramos was brought in to make re: influencer relations and external thought leadership. They're off to a really good start with this one. 3. Show a unified vision that indicates that all layers of the company are on board with what they are practicing. To be a little less vague, but not detailed, there is a disconnect between the actual investment they are making in the cloud and some of their public posture about the cloud. They need to fix it.
  9. Xactly - Xactly is a smart company without a doubt and they are in an area that they are the leading company too - sales compensation management. But that said, they haven't done the kind of job with analyst/influencer relations and thought leadership that gives me confidence that they can provide the kind of impact in 2012 that winning this demands. They have done it so far on the on the basis of a great technology stack that truly defines how the rest of the technology providers in their area need to be measuring up. But that's also the problem. Their area isn't that big yet and what I need to see in the next six months is that they create the foundation to sustain their impact once someone who truly competes with them comes along. Because there is no doubt that someone will. There always is.
  10. Zoho -In the last couple of months, Zoho redesigned their CRM offering and provided something that is nearly complete for a small business - and explicitly designed that way.  They reached the 25,000 customer (not users) level; they are holding their first ever User Conference at the end of March (I'm keynoting it) and they are re-emerging in the market around expanding their presence and even providing some thought leadership down the road.  But the key for why I need six months - its that "re" in front of several of their efforts. They also have tempered some of their former outbursts which is very important to their growth, now that they play. So, for the next six months, let's see if the "re" part is in front of the alization that they are a player to stay.

The Ones Who Fell Off

Keep in mind, those companies who didn't make either list are winners in their own right. They might not be CRM Watchlist 2012 winners but they made finalist which wasn't so easy and often the reasons that they didn't make it were the same as the six months review list but I thought it would take a year. Just one example of that - the Meltwater Group.  They are $100 million company. They are successful. They deserved the finalist designation but I think they are on the cusp of breakout into the market. My evidence points to a 2013 more likely breakout. So they need to spend this year preparing to do that.  All the finalists are now being tracked by me for 2012 so I can happy call those who didn't make to the winners circle this year, the 2013 Watchlist winners.  Which might mean something to them. Might not. I can't tell you which. Only that in 2013, and throughout 2012 they will mean something to me.


So CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners of the CRM Watchlist 2012. You are those who are left still standing after the toughest assessment process in the history of the Watchlist. I hope that you'll have the impact that I think you will in 2012, so watch for your individual reviews over the next several weeks and you'll see in some detail, what I think you got going and where I think you need to go.

Now, I gotta go. So see ya later.

From here on, the winners reviews.

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