From Digital Clarity Group Report
Many software components make up a complete customer experience management strategy and it's pretty impossible for every vendor to have them all (although some try). The same goes for service providers who help with the implementation. So you need a plan to pick your software — and — the right implementation partner.
Successful CEM Implementations Start with a Plan
Scott Liewehr, President / Principal Analyst at the Digital Clarify Group (DCG) has supported many organizations in their software selection processes. He told me he could flip a coin on whether the implementation would be successful, because he had no role in deciding who the implementation partner would be. He's also been in situations where he would go into an engagement where the organization had a good technology but wanted to change it because things weren't working. The problem is, it wasn't the technology's fault, it was the way it was implemented.
From these experiences and those of his partners, like Tim Walters, Partner / Principal Analyst of DCG, and others, Liewehr wanted to bring some "clarity" to the service provider decision process. That comes in the form of DCG's newest report: Guide to Service Providers for Web Content and Customer Experience Management."
The role of the software (and of the vendor selection process) is diminished in comparison to the role of the implementation, integration, and incorporation of the software into a complete solution."
Evaluating Service Providers for CEM
First, Liewehr made it clear that this report wasn't a rating of service providers. It's more of a listing of capabilities of 42 North American Service Providers who work in the web content management market. DCG focused on web content management service providers for this report because they believe it's at the core of all CEM strategies.
To get down to the number 42 was something I was curious about, because there are a lot of companies out there offering implementation services for web content management. Liewehr explained that DCG reached out to about 130-140 providers to participate in the report. This list came from recommendations of top service providers from 15 of the most reputed software vendors. Some were hesitant. Tim McLaughlin, CEO of Siteworx said there's always a risk of "someone opening the kimono," but if a provider knows they are good at what they do, they should welcome this opportunity. McLaughlin also noted that despite this not being a report that rates providers, "people always look comparatively."
These providers range from smaller 15 person companies to larger 22,000 employee companies and you will notice some very large obvious providers are missing (of course now that they have seen the report, some have asked to be included in the next iteration).
The report is a balance of being informative, but easy to use, noted Liewehr. I have already talked about DCG's view on the CEM imperative, but you'll notice that the sections that go through the service providers is an objective view of the capabilities of each vendor provided by both the provider and their customers, plus research done by DCG. There is, however, a section at the end of each provider's listing called the "DCG Point of View" where you will find DCG's opinion of the specific service provider through their CEM lens.
Service Providers Come in Different Shapes and Sizes
The report acknowledges that the service provider landscape is both large and shifting. Four types of providers are defined in the report, but many providers see themselves fitting into more than one category.
Experience also tells us that there is no one size/type of service provider, and with so many different components making up a CEM initiative, it's impossible for one provider to offer everything needed.
Service providers are fundamentally reinventing their organizations
because CEM demands the fundamental reinvention of their clients’
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