• February 18, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Accenture and Inforte Get Top Ranking

Gartner Group recently released its latest report identifying the leaders in CRM service providers and the recent changes they've made.

The report, called "Management Update: CRM Service Providers 2003 Americas Magic Quadrant," puts leading service providers into four key areas: challengers, leaders, niche players, and visionaries--all measured against each other by their ability to execute.

According to the report, the leaders, in order of their ability to execute in the CRM service provider space, are Accenture, IBM Business Consulting Services, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, BearingPoint, and Computer Sciences Corp (CSC). "Leaders are service providers that are doing well and have strong prospects for the future," Gartner analyst Beth Eisenfeld said in the report. "They have mature CRM practices, are financially stable, demonstrate long-term management commitment to their practices and have large numbers of CRM consultants that have delivered solutions in number of industries. They are capable of delivering complete solutions with the proven ability to execute across multiple geographies to support Americas-based clients' global operations. They generally sell into the senior management levels, have long-term relationships and serve in long-term advisory roles. They have solid and long-standing partnerships with the leading CRM suite vendors," Eisenfeld said.

Why does Accenture beat out the others? "Based on Gartner's revenue estimates for CRM-specific services, Accenture continues to be the largest of the vendors in this Magic Quadrant. Accenture leads with its thought leadership, combined with using its strong channel influence to forge lucrative alliances, partnerships with leading CRM software providers, and long-standing stable leadership team. Its thought leadership is based on a willingness to make investments in new arenas, as well as entering into calculated risk/reward deals. Gartner estimates that Accenture maintains the highest investment in CRM thought leadership among the CRM-service provider leaders," Eisenfeld said.

Eisenfeld cites some significant changes among these leaders in recent months, including Andersen Worldwide's exit of the IT consulting market due to Enron's accounting discrepancies; BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) increasing its worldwide CRM consulting headcount by 50 percent; Deloitte Consulting separating from Deloitte Touche & Tomahtsu; and IBM acquiring PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting.

Several key name changes and brand launches were also cited in the report, such as Deloitte Consulting's plan to change its name to Braxton, IBM Global Services renaming its consulting and systems integration unit to Business Consulting Services, and KPMG Consulting changing its name to BearingPoint.

The report also listed top visionaries ranked by their ability to execute, which were Inforte, American Management Systems, and eLoyalty.

"Visionaries are vendors that have great ideas for tomorrow, but they may be struggling in specific areas of consistent execution. For example, they may be very capable in one or two domains, have solid methodologies and delivery track records, but have marketing budgets that preclude them from calling attention to their capabilities or cause limitations in their sales abilities. They understand business requirements, demonstrate innovation in service offerings with a particular industry focus, and tend to have fewer resources focused on CRM," Eisenfeld said.

Regarding Inforte's top billing in the report, Eisenfeld states: "Inforte has been one of the few service providers that has continued to be profitable and grow, albeit slowly, during these tough economic times. Besides the good reviews clients report on its technical capability, Inforte has made progress in strengthening its strategic vision for CRM, which is to integrate supply chain and customer-facing business processes, and move more into business and strategy consulting, thus rounding out its technical capabilities."

Eisenfeld warned that selecting a service provider from the leaders quadrant may not always be the best choice, because "all providers that appear in the Magic Quadrant have demonstrated positive business results for their clients and may be a viable option for an enterprise's specific CRM needs."

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