Despite recessionary conditions in 2008, the market for CRM service providers grew by 8 percent, according to a new report from Gartner -- just slightly down from its growth rate the year before. However, as economic conditions lead organizations to cut back on huge project implementations, the CRM consulting and solution implementation services market is expected to taper off. As part of its annual "Magic Quadrant for CRM Service Providers, North America" report, the research firm has placed Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, and IBM Global Business Services in its Leaders quadrant for this field.
According to Gartner Research analysts Matthew Goldman and Ed Thompson, the coming slowdown in the market can be attributed to two pressures: price and scope. Companies are not only looking to spend less on technology investments, but are also whittling down project sizes. "Rather than attempt bigger, riskier projects, [organizations] appear focused on trimming back to more-modular, bite-size pieces of work that fit within revised budgets," the analysts write.
Gartner categorizes CRM service providers as having the following attributes:
- CRM business expertise;
- organizational expertise;
- industry or vertical expertise;
- CRM vendor- and product-specific expertise;
- technical subject expertise;
- implementation and development expertise;
- delivery expertise (i.e., on a global scale);
- talent management including knowledge management, and hiring and training;
- CRM program and project management expertise (e.g., portfolio management and governance); and
- the ability to innovate.
- Accenture: The company places the furthest along in terms of ability to execute for several reasons. Accenture's breadth and depth of offerings and its reputation for success continues to impress. Goldman notes that Accenture is a good fit for complex initiatives or programs in which the client is accustomed to relying heavily on a partner to work out details at all levels of the engagement. "Accenture is often evaluated because of its reputation of delivering value for complex initiatives, a notion supported by above-average satisfaction for achieving clients' CRM project objectives." While Accenture's vision remains stronger than many competitors, its ability to effectively communicate its message to clients is limited. Given the current economic environment, Accenture is not a fit for every enterprise, according to the report.
- Capgemini: Gartner estimates that Capgemini's North American CRM consulting and solution implementation service revenue outpaced the overall market's growth rate. The provider's growth can be linked to its strength and focus on delivering a modular approach to larger projects. As Goldman earlier stated, the desire for bite-size implementations has increased. Capgemini has been able to adapt its global CRM vision in North America. Thompson and Goldman caution, however, that the company is more skilled with technology than on the business side.
- Deloitte: The professional services organization and leading auditor improves its position this year on the leaderboard. The analysts attribute the higher placement to stronger client feedback and a clearer vision for business-driven CRM solutions. Deloitte's CRM practice takes a strong business-led approach complemented by proven technology skills. Cost and expenditures continue to be a point of caution with Deloitte. Gartner reveals that many of Deloitte's customers rated the company low in terms of being able to lower costs through sales and marketing implementations.
- IBM Global Business Services (GBS): Gartner writes that IBM GBS has the strongest vision among the top four leaders. It's noted that IBM has quality business skills, which tend to be overlooked by its legacy technology skills. The report states, "Executive-level insights across industries provide IBM with a compelling business-led approach to solving CRM problems." IBM's business strengths might be lost in its messaging. The company continues to have a tech-heavy reputation.
- Cognizant Technology Solutions
- Infosys Technologies
- Tata Consultancy Services
- Wipro Technologies
- HCL Technologies
- Hitachi Consulting
- Patni Computer Systems
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