The role of the traditional marketer is being redefined. A study by Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association earlier this year revealed that 97 percent of business-to-business marketing leaders are taking on responsibilities, such as managing social media, that they have never had to before. Driven more than ever by new technology, marketing itself is changing too. According to a Mail Online study, 70 percent of brands and 77 percent of agencies used branded content marketing for advertising in 2012, and two-thirds of both groups claimed branded content marketing is among the most important aspects of their marketing approach.
"Social media has had a profound impact on marketing," Mail Online Chief Marketing Officer Sean O'Neal says. "When great content marketing goes viral, it is not uncommon for the 'earned media' exposure to equal that of the paid media," and, as a result, companies are "seeing marketers partnering strategically with publishers of highly socialized content who have audiences that are [motivated] to like, comment, and share—for program development and distribution," he explains.
"Aprimo's standing in the marketplace, to a large extent, is cemented by the product functionality factor as it offers impressive breadth and depth," Raj Agnihotri, assistant professor of marketing and director of research at The Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University, says. The company earned a 3.9 in the category this year, dropping slightly below its 4.0 performance in the same category last year. Paul Selway, CEO of Redpath Consulting Group, says the vendor's problem is that it's just too complex and that "it also requires expensive equipment to run on."
Acquired by Oracle for $871 million earlier this year, Eloqua earned an impressive 4.2 for depth of functionality and 4.1 for customer satisfaction, but lags behind in its ratings for company direction. In early 2013, CEO Joe Payne announced plans to expand beyond its current B2B customer base and offer e-commerce capabilities aimed at B2C companies. "They're certainly a market leader," Selway says, "but I'm concerned about their road map, because sixty percent of their customers are integrated with Salesforce.com, Oracle's competitor."
SAS Institute continues to earn top marks, but like last year, trails behind its competitors in product cost, earning a 3.3. Still, the company offers "a robust and powerful product, especially for organizations looking for a sophisticated marketing solution," Agnihotri says. Late in 2012, SAS Institute released Adaptive Customer Experience, a modular digital marketing solution to help companies target customer communications more precisely.
Unica holds its spot on our leaderboard for the third year in a row. The company was acquired by IBM in 2010, and while Selway suggests Unica hasn't been "as competitive as others in this field," it received a 3.8 for company direction. The vendor earned its highest score, 4.0, for depth of functionality.
For the third year in a row, Marketo takes the coveted category winner crown. Earlier this year, the company launched its social marketing application, which allows for the integration of social, email, mobile, and Web channels. Marketo also filed for a $75 million IPO, and its shares soared more than 77 percent in May. The company scored highly in the customer satisfaction category, most likely due to its effective integration with popular CRM solutions. "A good interfacing with systems like Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics makes it easier for Marketo's customers to appreciate its marketing solution," Agnihotri says. Most recently, Marketo announced a partnership with Vidyard, a video marketing platform, to enable businesses to drive and optimize the return on investment of their video content. After making the announcement at the 2013 Marketo Summit, the company unveiled its new built-in video marketing tools, which will also be powered by Vidyard. With solid marks in all categories, Marketo "performs well on all levels," Selway says. —Maria Minsker
One to Watch
Earning the experts' nod as One to Watch this year, Silverpop has a promising future because "it has the financial strength and ability to invest in new capabilities," Selway says. Earlier this year, Silverpop launched Email Insights to allow marketers to preview how email will appear across multiple channels and devices and determine their recipients' device preferences. The company is "email-centric," Selway points out, and knows how to make the most of its strength. —M.M.
Big data is still causing a buzz in the business intelligence field, says Cindi Howson, founder of BI Scorecard. "There's money to be had...but only a few, as of yet, are striking it rich," she says. This is troubling, especially because "big data, such as Web clicks, tweets, and genomic data, are critical in certain industries, such as e-commerce, gaming, advertising, and healthcare," she adds.
The cloud has garnered a lot of attention, but not enough deployments, Howson asserts. Though a recent Gartner study found that the cloud accounts for only 3 percent of BI revenue, a MarketsandMarkets study suggested that the cloud-based business analytics market is expected to grow from $5.25 billion in 2013 to $16.52 billion by 2018—an estimated 25.8 percent increase.
BI vendors must re-evaluate their products and design them to be cloud-ready, "with multitenancy and the ability to work with data retained on premises," Howson says. "Soon, the cloud will become a routine deployment option rather than a product differentiator."
Though it earned high marks in other categories, Oracle trails in product cost. Analysts claim the solution is not only initially costly, but difficult to maintain. "Oracle's BI software out of the box is generally insufficient to support the needs of small business. They require system integrators and consultants to build the reports," Gregory Moulthrop, CEO of Economic Technology Systems, says. Their solutions are just "too expensive," Dan Beca, director of solution design at Catalyst, agrees. Nevertheless, the company excelled in depth of functionality, earning a 4.1.
"Qliktech is the leader in data discovery capabilities," Beca says. The company performed well in all categories, though it earned its highest marks for product cost. In June, the company named Tim MacCarrick as its chief financial officer, and its Business Discovery platform was recently recognized as the Emerging Analytics Player of the Year 2013 by Frost & Sullivan.
SAP Business Objects remains the most widely used BI reporting software, Moulthrop claims. The company scored a 4.2 in company direction, though Beca believes that while its "B2B outlook is strong, the B2C outlook needs some work." SAP took on B2B commerce with its $4.3 billion buyout of the Ariba cloud commerce network last May, and in June announced the purchase of leading e-commerce technology platform Hybris.
Scoring a 4.6 in depth of functionality, SAS Institute is unique in "its ability to work its way into its competitors' product offerings, [and thereby] expand its own offerings," Moulthrop says. At this year's SAS Global Forum Executive Conference, SAS Institute announced an overhaul of its Customer Intelligence suite, which underwent improvements in navigation to help integrate analytics processes into a line-of-business functionality specially designed for marketers. Its biggest strength, Moulthrop says, is that it has an "arms-length partnership with IBM, Oracle, SAP, Teradata, and Microsoft to secure its position in the industry."
Winning for the fifth year in a row, IBM continues to dominate in business intelligence. Despite a less-than-stellar 3.3 in cost, the product is worth the investment, analysts agree. "Though IBM's solution is extremely complex and requires significant customization, [it] is a very powerful product," Moulthrop says.
At its annual Pulse conference, IBM announced that all of its cloud computing efforts would use OpenStack infrastructure and suggested that it wants to leapfrog Rackspace to become the leading provider of code to the OpenStack Foundation. Weeks later, IBM upped its game with its purchase of SoftLayer Technologies, a cloud computing company. According to a company statement, the deal will marry the speed and simplicity of SoftLayer's public cloud services with enterprise-grade reliability. Having already made major moves to expand its cloud service, the BI giant isn't slowing down—its annual revenue from the cloud is expected to hit $7 billion by the end of 2015, according to a company statement. "IBM may offer expensive solutions," Beca says, "but they continue to lead the industry." —Maria Minsker
One to Watch
The only enterprise-caliber business intelligence platform born in the cloud, Birst is a young company engineered with an automated data warehouse and rich, visual analytics, to give meaning to data. Birst earned a strong 4.5 in depth of functionality, and Gartner named the company a Challenger in its most recent BI Magic Quadrant. In June, the company announced the Birst Solution Accelerator for NetSuite, a prebuilt analytical solution that can quickly deliver advanced analytics with best practice financial reports. —M.M.
The data quality market in 2012 was worth around $994 million, of which software sales and maintenance accounted for about $825 million, according to The Information Difference. It experienced a small 5 percent growth over 2011, reflecting the rough economic climate.
But while industry growth was slow, there was certainly no shortage of demand. Companies responding to a recent Experian study said the ability to profile customers is "important" or "very important" to their overall business strategies, but that at least 25 percent of their data is inaccurate.
Data quality issues consume, on average, about 30 percent of companies' budgets for master data management projects, The Information Difference statistics show. With a growing interest in big data initiatives, data quality vendors that grew up around name and address verification in customer contact records quickly had to expand their scope to include everything from product codes to social media posts. Additionally, full data quality suites emerged to handle everything from data profiling and discovery to data correction, analysis, and reporting. This has wreaked havoc throughout the business environment. "Big data and the need to capture information from disparate sources, both internally and externally, has shifted IT environments from relatively structured data to the Wild West, where anything goes," Nucleus Research CEO Ian Campbell concluded in a recent report.
To handle the increase in unstructured and semistructured data from so many sources, vendors have sought to leverage cloud storage and computing to make the information available to a workforce that is also increasingly mobile, requiring access from anywhere and on any device.
IBM, which racked up an industry-leading 4.5 score in depth of functionality, also scored very high in company direction, with a 4.1. However, IBM's real strength, according to Nucleus Research, is its "ability to support a high degree of customization and scalability." Similar to last year, the company's low score in cost, 2.9, kept it from the top spot.
As an open-source software provider, Talend this year emerged as a leader solely on the basis of cost, with a score of 4.2, more than a half-point ahead of its nearest competitor. But its reputation for quality cannot be ignored, according to some analysts. Andy Hayler, president and CEO of The Information Difference, for example, says the company packs in "a wide range of quality functions tied to data integrity and master data management."
Trillium Software, a division of Harte-Hanks, is a perennial favorite among analysts, and this year was no different. The company, which just this past May announced a far-reaching partnership with fellow data governance software provider Collibra, built on what Hayler called "both the technical and market expertise to put the power of data quality into the hands of business users to address data quality challenges and capitalize on it to improve the value of the data."
Informatica, which won the category for the past three years, this year has to share the spotlight, despite taking top scores in depth of functionality (4.5), company direction (4.3), and customer satisfaction (4.2). It's a favorite among some analysts. In a recent report, Nucleus Research identified the firm as "a clear leader" and singled it out for providing "a single, unified metadata platform that streamlines the sharing of data across a complex, unstructured environment." However, it garnered the second lowest cost score (3.3) in the category, which kept it from securing the top spot as the sole victor.
SAS Institute acquired DataFlux in 2000, and allowed it to operate as a stand-alone unit until July 2012, when it started to integrate DataFlux under its own banner. This move proved to be a wise one, as it bumps SAS to the top spot with Informatica this year. With high marks in depth of functionality (4.3), company direction (4.0), and customer satisfaction (4.1), Lior Arussy, president and founder of Strativity Group, calls SAS the new "benchmark in the [data quality] space." —Leonard Klie
One to Watch
Pitney Bowes, an industry leader last year, fell off the leaderboard this year to finish as a One to Watch. While its scores were slightly better than average in most judging criteria, it failed to impress the way it had in past years. Arussy, for example, characterized the company as "a me-too player" of late. —L.K.
With a low entry cost, platform flexibility, new delivery channels, freedom from vendor lock-in, and devoted user communities, open-source software is becoming more attractive to a growing number of businesses. As such, the market has become densely populated. Especially among small and midsized businesses and nonprofit organizations, open-source CRM—so named because the source code is available to the public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge—is seen as a viable alternative to the traditional commercial products from the industry's giants.
Still, despite making some waves, the open-source CRM market has not grown as quickly as some had expected. Many say open source's own limitations and its low visibility compared to other mainstream CRM software providers are preventing it from achieving more prominence. That's likely to change in the not-too-distant future if the vendors have anything to say.
Adempiere's greatest strength year after year has been its user community, which is among the most devoted and influential in the business. Though it maintains a reputation among analysts for a high-quality application suite that is well tested by its critical mass of users—who play a key role in the development of recent application suite add-ons and feature enhancements—the company is still largely known as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor with limited CRM capabilities.
Aptean is a company born in August 2012 out of the merger of Consona and CDC Software, with solutions for CRM, ERP, and supply chain management. The June release of its Onyx 7.4 CRM product is shaping up to be a hit for the company, promising greater usability and adding event notification, streamlined calendaring, customer summaries, workspaces, and incident management. It was just one of several releases in the past 12 months, including version 3.8 of its Compiere CRM product and an entirely new Saratoga CRM product.
VTiger has appeared on the leaderboard in five of the past six years, but analysts fear it might be at a crossroads. Its product is solid, they say, but its visibility and messaging are extremely limited. Still, CEO Sreenivas Kanumuru is confident that the company will advance this year, following continued success of its software-as-a-service offering, which grew by 290 percent in 2012. Its newly released vTiger CRM 6 promises to make it easier to scale and use for developers and business clients with new capabilities for managing projects, invoices and inventory, and email campaigns. The company added integration with Google, QuickBooks, Paypal, and Authorize.net, and is working on additional integrations with telephony and social media platforms.
XTuple, last year's one to watch, has moved up the ranks. It finished only a few tenths of a point behind the winner, lifted by scores of 4.0 in depth of functionality, company direction, and customer satisfaction. Its real strength is its integration of multiple business management products for accounting, time and expense management, CRM, sales, purchasing, manufacturing, inventory, and distribution into one system that can run in Mac, Windows, and Linux environments.
SugarCRM takes the top spot again (a distinction it has held since we began evaluating vendors in the category in 2008). It remains the industry benchmark by a large margin, with scores of 4.3 in depth of functionality and 4.0 in customer satisfaction. The company's message is resonating with customers, who grew its business by more than 60 percent last year. The company also spent the past 12 months expanding its penetration into the enterprise and midmarket and growing its channel network. While Lior Arussy, president and founder of Strativity Group, says the company shows great promise, "it still needs to mature a bit" before competing with much larger, more traditional CRM vendors. —Leonard Klie
One to Watch
As the only vendor to cater exclusively to the nonprofit sector, CiviCRM provides a full Web-based software suite to help organizations manage their relationships with donors and advocates. A newcomer to the top ranks this year, the company—and several analysts—have high hopes for CiviCRM as it releases a new and much improved CiviCRM 4.4. Though purely a niche player, what it does it does well, offering a range of features for managing fundraising efforts, email blasts, event registration, organizational membership, grants, and more. It doesn't hurt the company to have a few high-profile and very satisfied customers like Amnesty International and the WikiMedia Foundation. —L.K.
Most CRM deployments today will require some level of customization, ranging from something as simple as using postal abbreviations instead of the full names of states to something as complex as the addition of unstructured social media content into contact center work flows. More often than not, it's this need for customization that drives companies to CRM consultants' doors.
Across the industry, many consulting firms have aligned themselves with specific vendors or have even further become experts in specific products.
Gartner late last year reported that of all of the CRM projects led by consultants and system integrators in 2012, 26 percent involved Oracle installations, a decrease from the 35 percent recorded in 2009. Salesforce projects made up 16 percent of the projects, up from 10 percent in 2009. SAP projects made up 11 percent of the total, and 9 percent were based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Gartner further reported that the most common projects were customer service and support, at 82 percent, followed by sales, at 74 percent; customer data, at 73 percent; and marketing, at 44 percent. Projects ranged in size from $500,000 to more than $10 million, showing just how diverse the field has become.
Accenture has always scored very well among analysts for its ability to execute, and this year was no exception. The company scored an industry-leading 4.0 in that criteria, but also received high marks in company direction and customer satisfaction (3.8 in both).
Perhaps its real strength, though, lies in the amount of expertise it has in many different areas. "Accenture has a good combination of technical CRM as well as sales and marketing transformation expertise," says Jim Dickie, managing partner of CSO Insights.
Deloitte this year undertook a real effort to expand its social CRM coverage, adding to an already strong stable of central offerings around cloud computing, talent management, IT infrastructure, analytics, customer transformation, and service delivery. "Deloitte continues to develop new customer management advisory services that are closely aligned with advances in technology. Examples include customer analytics best practices, pricing optimization guidelines, and social strategies for corporate reputation management policies," says Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group.
Hitachi advanced to the leaderboard this year after finishing as the One to Watch in 2012. Buoyed by a sufficient score of 3.8 in three essential criteria (ability to execute, company direction, and customer satisfaction), the company continues to work well within its niche markets, but is making moves to expand beyond them. In January, for example, it acquired Celerant Consulting, a provider of business operations consulting, greatly expanding its capabilities and presence in Europe, North America, and South America.
IBM, which offers among the most complete set of capabilities of all of the vendors considered, made several key acquisitions, including its mid-2012 purchase of Varicent Software, a provider of analytics software for compensation and sales performance management. These acquisitions, as well as a few key partnerships, "are making [IBM] a more full-service provider," Dickie says. The company this year also found its strength in company direction (4.1) and ability to execute (4.0).
For the second straight year, Cognizant rose to the top, with the highest scores in company direction (4.2) and customer satisfaction (3.9). The company also finished in the top five in ability to execute and cost. According to Ament, the company's recipe for success is "steady customer gains, increased capabilities in consumer-focused analytics and intelligence advisory offerings, and customer management expertise to share with clients." —Leonard Klie
One to Watch
Capgemini's profile dipped a little this year, leading to a fall from the leaders' list for the first time in many years. Nonetheless, the French firm continues to hold on to a very loyal clientele, which is made up primarily of large European and multinational firms. This, analysts say, is its strength. "Capgemini is able to handle global initiatives well," Dickie observes. —L.K.