There is a ring of truth to the introduction to Digital Clarity Group’s (DCG) latest research on  European web content and customer experience servicer providers  — even if it is a little dramatic. In it, Scott Liewehr, president and principal analyst at DCG, stressed that this is the age of digital disruption,.

Organizations have to transform they way to work or die, he continued.

He's not the first person to make such an argument on behalf of customer experience and engagement (CEM) vendors and  service providers. But he is among a minority that can support his argument with research on 45 companies.

Technology Isn't the Answer

Liewehr, whose comments appear in the introduction to the Guide to Service Providers for Web Content and Customer Experience Management – Europe, argues that while businesses are being challenged on a daily basis by the need for transformation, these challenges are being compounded by technology.

It's not just a problem with technology, he noted, but a problem about the way organizations approach technology. He claims vendors, analysts and end users have a myopic focus on technology, noting "More software only means that more emphasis must be placed on finding the right partners to implement and integrate the technologies and to assist with research, analytics, business strategy, and other services for a complete solution.” 

To find out more about the report we asked Jill Finger Gibson, principal analyst at DCG and one of the European report authors, about the main findings and trends.

Based on months of interviews and surveys, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the European landscape of digital and interactive agencies and systems integrators. According to the research, a service provider (SP) is:

Any company that provides services and/or products in support of initiatives, ranging from user research, design, and business strategy to technical implementations and custom coding within the context of CXM and CEM (customer engagement management) projects."

Offering an analysis of 45 providers across Europe, it follows the August release of a similar study  on the US market. Combined, the two reports provide a comprehensive view of the web content and CXM space globally and how it is being served by service providers. Among the subjects tackled are:

  • Web content management and customer experience-related technology partnerships
  • Specific areas of expertise and vertical industry specialization
  • Projects completed for European clients
  • An overview of service providers project approach, from initiation to post-implementation
  • Common practices in pricing, employee training and education, and internal knowledge sharing.

Digital Clarity European Service Providers Report CEM elements.jpg

It is also worth noting that service providers themselves have identified their companies according to one or two of the established categories including: advertising agency, digital agency, marketing communications agency or systems integrator.

Change in Perspective

There are a number of findings in the report that both vendors and potential buyers should be aware of, according to Finger Gibson.

She said the relationship between businesses and their service provider partners are changing rapidly at the moment, but it is not the technology that organizations are finding difficult. Rather, it is the organizational changes that accompany the development of new technologies that is causing difficulties.

She also noted that the service provider market is starting to consolidate and that this trend will continue for the rest of the year.

The result is that while it is necessary for customers to have a long term vision of where they want to go, service providers need to provide these customer with a practical step-by-step guide to achieving that vision.

Behind all this is a major shift in the relationship between service providers and their customers, Finger Gibson said. CXM is not just something that the marketing department looks after, but something that everyone needs to be involved in.