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Gartner Magic Quadrant on CEC - some Musings

The May 2016 version of Gartner's magic quadrant sees SAP in a challenger position, with the favourite competition Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft being leaders - all of them dwarfed by the perceived strength of Salesforce.
Lets have a brief look into what Gartner thinks about these four companies.

Salesforce

Salesforce is again a clear leader in the quadrant, mainly based upon the fact that they have the best sold solution, which is probably due to sticking effects of their other successful products. This attracts partners and apparently has become a kind of virtuous circle although there are a good number of shortcomings:
  • The product is missing industry specific functionality but is 'fairly generic'
  • lack of master data management functionality, which needs to come in via other products
  • the new Lightning development environment and user interface is far from mainstream
  • it is expensive and raises concerns about vendor lock in, especially when there are other components, too
  • important functionalities like mobile chat, best next action, e-mail and multichannel interaction routing, feedback management are better done with partner software
Given these shortcomings and Gartner's statement that Salesforce is strong for simpler service models only (as opposed to complex ones) one asks oneself how Gartner would explain the margin of leadership that the Magic Quadrant shows ...

Microsoft

Microsoft has put quite some effort into their Dynamics CRM product. It has become a true suite and integrates well with the productivity suite. Recent additions have strengthened the service foot print. My assessment is that it is justified that Salesforce is scared of Microsoft - which is what I hear. On top of the good functionality that the product offers it is also the one with the best price. And then there is Microsofts vision and ability to connect companies, consumers, and content.
Still customers report weaknesses ranging from poor workflow capabilities, which should have been improved with the newest release, to scalability issues and poorly trained partner consultants, if they are available at all. And before I forget: Dynamics is a horizontal product. Industry specifics need to come from the partner side. These clearly are points that Jujhar Singh and his team need to address.

Oracle

Oracle seemingly reconfirmed their commitment to the CRM world and spends more on R&D again. With all the mature acquired functionality that Oracle commands, including RightNow and Siebel, in combination with Oracle's strong worldwide presence and big number of customers there are some arguments for having the Oracle CEC solution(s) in the leaders' quadrant, including the ability to model complex processes.
On the negative side the pricing model is complicated, and there are a variety of implementation- and upgrade problems. Customising is tricky and one needs a .Net client. And then there are issues with the take-up by the large SIs and consultancies as well as doubts about Oracles commitment to a partner ecosystem. 

SAP

The SAP CEC solution is in transition. There are two competing products, SAP CRM with very strong functionality and the new C4C/Hybris products, which are not yet that strong. The Hybris world is the future, however, not yet really seen. As I myself have written and stated a number of times SAP's messaging is confusing at best.
In essence SAP sells a vision with its turn from on premise to first C4C, then Hybris/YaaS. This vision still needs to get proven while the lacking commitment to SAP CRM makes this product fall behind the pack although this is the product that is very strong in complex processes - and with a little help of the on-demand sisters can also do very well with social media. Field Service, self services, and analytics are a given at SAP.

Famous last Words

Although I cannot really understand the margin by which Gartner sees Salesforce lead the pack there is a very strong product. Personally I do see more scope in Microsoft, especially if they could decide to include industry specific functionality, especially considering the B2C side. When SAP finally gets their act sorted on the Hybris platform we will see a formidable player re-emerge here, too. In order to get this communicated proudly into the market I would see a need to engage better with the likes of Gartner again. Add influencers like Paul Greenberg. Bob Stutz successfully improved analyst and influencer perception of SAP CRM - which decreased again with him leaving. Here at least Microsoft and Salesforce have a huge advantage.

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