Gartner Magic Quadrant “CRM Customer Engagement Centre” (June 2021)

Gartner has recently published it’s Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center (see here) with some interesting insight on the best technology platforms and software applications for the Customer Service and Support market.

Among the 6 leaders are the stronger players in the market with Salesforce leading the pack by some margin, followed by Pegasystems, Microsoft, ServiceNow, Zendesk, and Oracle.

Some interesting insights or comments from Gartner:

Salesforce Service Cloud

+ The continued investment in verticals by extending industry-specific offering. Be it by developing the product or acquiring other software solutions / companies.

Customers are showing concerns about high prices and contract inflexibility, as well as over-customisation of the platform.

Pegasystems Pega Customer Service

+ Praise is given to Pegasystems for its partnership and commitment to its customers’ digital transformation projects.

Customers flag that it’s very hard to find Pegasystems specialists, with relevant technical and industry experience, making it difficult to implement, develop and maintain.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

+ Customers highlighted the extensibility using the same codebase as the low-code Power Platform that underpins all Dynamics products and Microsoft-related systems.

Customers feel that they need a lot of training and support if they want to make the most out of the applications features and functionalities.

ServiceNow Customer Service Management

+ Gartner praises ServiceNow for its robust platform and capabilities around IT service management, asset management and real-time monitoring.

Customers complain about the complex and confusing licensing model, as well as the need to contract professional developers to configure and develop the platform.

Oracle Service Cloud

+ The report highlighted the features of OIA (fka Oracle Policy Automation), which enables some very clever self-service capabilities, when integrated with Service Cloud.

Customer’s continue disliking Oracle’s complex licensing model, as well as the time they need to skill-up, in order to develop, support and manage the software.

Zendesk for Service

+ Customers give a lot of praise to Zendesk’s innovation and ease of use, configuration, customisation. As well as for the agility, benefits and time to value.

Gartner states that, compared to some of the competition, Zendesk has limited vertical product strategy, which may hinder companies in certain regulated industries.

Your technology selection approach is broken!

When it comes to choose and buy technology to enable business outcomes, far too many companies still use the same approach of consulting analyst reports, building and issuing RFx, going through long selection and purchasing cycles.

This approach is broken. It is a waste of people’s time and effort, as well as businesses’ money. And, more often than not, it doesn’t provide the desired outcome: the smooth implementation and adoption of a technology that is fit for purpose.

It worked well when technology pricing and licensing models were expensive, required a huge investment in infra-structure, and demanded implementation cycles of many months (sometimes even years). That is history!

Today’s technology platforms pricing and subscription model derisks decisions. Businesses can select a technology; subscribe to it for a very small amount of money and period of time; implement it in a matter of weeks; and prove or disprove its value and adoption.

G2 was created to help change the paradigm, and move the technology selection process to the 21st century – by allowing “real” people to review the technology platforms, rather than just leaving that to a select group of “biased” analysts.

I have said it more than once. What works for consumers must work for companies as well. Purchasing business technology should be as easy and effortless for company’s decision makers, as buying consumer products or services is for all of us.

That is also why G2 came to play a crucial role. It provides “unfiltered reviews” from people who actually use the technology solutions or platforms. More than that, G2 made it simple, clear and easy to navigate and understand, leaving behind jargon.

Furthermore, it innovated! And this post is also to praise them for the creation of the category that looks into Experience Management Software products – where we see Qualtrics (miles away from competition) and Medallia in the Leaders quadrant.

20200515 G2 Crowd - Grid - XM Q2 2020

3 elements of trust. 6 elements of powerful tech

In a very recent and interesting Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Jack (CEO) and Joseph (President) from Zenger Folkman (a leadership development specialist company) talk about how trust is crucial for leadership, and describes the 3 elements of trust.

  1. Relationships
  2. Judgement
  3. Consistency

I really do encourage you to read the full article here.

But what also caught my attention were a few statements that tell us a bit about their research and study, and how they were able to derive such insight.

  • by looking at data from the 360 assessments of 87,000 leaders
  • able to identify three key clusters of items
  • “we looked for correlations between the trust rating and all other items
  • after selecting the 15 highest correlations
  • performed a factor analysis that revealed these three elements
  • By understanding the behaviors that underlie trust

It caught my attention because these are the challenges that most organisations and companies face today, when it comes to measuring and assessing customers and employees experience…

  • How can I easily reach out to my audience – all my employees or customers?
  • How can I easily correlate variables to understand what is impacting the bottom line?
  • How can I easily carry out the necessary analysis to reveal relevant findings?
  • How can I easily identify trends and drivers that can lead to actions?
  • How can I easily understand the behavior of my audience – employees or customers?

Well the answer is… you can do it if you have an established strategy, well defined processes, and very specialist resources. But you can only do it easily if you have an outstanding and powerful technology platform, that enables you to…

  1. Reach out to massive audiences and collect large volumes of data
  2. Combine operational (O-Data) and experience (X-Data) data
  3. Perform statistical analysis on the data collected
  4. Carry out text and sentiment analysis, on free text/comments
  5. Find trends, drivers, and solutions to prioritise
  6. Generate relevant insights and drive actions

In recent years, I have been focusing a lot in helping companies and organisations implement and use technology for such purposes. And within the portfolio of available technology platforms, there are a few that stand out. The one which I believe is best positioned and most powerful is Qualtrics which was recently acquired by SAP. I encourage you to have a look, and try it out, if you haven’t already.

Qualtrics, Medallia and Challenges for CX Pros


Forrester as just released their Q4 2018 Forrester Wave™ for Customer Feedback Management Platforms, identifying, analysing and scoring the most significant vendors in the market. The report “shows how each provider measures up and helps customer experience professionals choose the right Customer Feedback Management vendor for their organization“.

Forrester’s last evaluation in this space was back in Q2 2017, and since then significant changes and improvements were noticed in the technology platforms. However, challenges on the CX space are still there for CX professionals to face. They are struggling to improve CX due to…

  • Missing strategy and cooperation across the organisation
  • Ad-hoc and uncoordinated projects and initiatives
  • Shortage in customer experience measurement data
  • Disparate operational (O-data) and experience (X-data) data silos
  • Absence of a C-level or senior leadership sponsor
  • Lack of one single experience and feedback management platform

Qualtrics and Medallia are clearly leading the pack, not only in terms of offering but also market presence. And these are the ones I usually hear and talk about, when I’m discussing with my clients.

Forrester recognises that Qualtricshas made significant investments (…) strengthening its position” in particular in its “analytics capabilities by adding the ability to conduct complex conjoint analysis (…) and introducing Predict iQ, which lets clients move from being reactive to proactive by identifying at-risk customers“. But Qualtrics is much more than just a CX platform, as they have built a comprehensive XM platform that brings brand, product, and employee experience together with customer experience.

The other leader, Medallia, also “enables a culture of CX, democratizing insights by bringing the VoC to the frontlines and incorporating the voice of the employee”, and they also “updated its text analytics capabilities and introduced new features like Conversations, which lets customers provide real-time feedback across messaging platforms such as SMS and Facebook Messenger (…) and VoC Anywhere, which lets companies collect feedback natively through various internetconnected devices or platforms”.

One thing is for sure, a Customer Feedback Management platform is critical to CX transformation. Forrester says…

To transform customer experience, CX professionals rely on customer feedback management technologies and services (…) because it helps manage complexity, by centralizing and automating key VoC activities [Listen, Interpret, Act, and Monitor]“.

G2 Crowd Grid® for Feedback Management

G2 Crowd claim to provide “real-time and unbiased user reviews” that will help companies “objectively assess” the best technology solution for one’s business. Rather than spending “too much time sifting through spin, reading outdated analyst reports, and sitting through endless meetings“. G2 Crowd offers “unfiltered reviews from peers who use similar solutions” and “relevant references and expertise” offered by users rather than the vendor itself. This sounds pretty powerful!

I’ve been talking about the importance of feedback and how crucial it is to hear the Voice-of-Customer and Voice-of-Employee (as well as Voice-of-Process, in some instances), and G2 Crowd recently published their G2 Crowd Grid® for Enterprise Feedback Management – which shows the best Enterprise Feedback Management software solutions following customer satisfaction and scale.


Qualtrics – which I have mentioned a few times before – is leading the pack. And up there from almost every perspective: Best ROI, smoothest implementation, most usable or easiest to do business with. It is indeed a fantastic platform and technology, that I would recommend you look at if you are embarking in feedback or experience management projects.

Forrester Wave Q3’17: Oracle leads Digital Experience Platforms

20171118 Forrester Wave - Digital Experience Platforms Q3 2017

Forrester recently published their Q3 2017 Wave for “Digital Experience Platforms“. Having research and analysed the 14 most significant vendors, Oracle came out as leader – the only one.

The assessment was done against 28 criteria grouped into Current Offering, Strategy and Market Presence. No surprise that those with higher scores have complete suites with Content, Commerce, Marketing, Sales, Service, and Analytics capability.

Forrester Wave Q2’17: Oracle and SFDC leading

20170926 Forrester Wave - Customer Service Solutions for Enterprise Organisations Q2 17

Forrester has recently published their “Wave” for Customer Service Solutions for Enterprise Organisations, and it is not surprising to see Oracle and Salesforce leading the pack, followed by Verint, Pegasystems, SAP and Microsoft as strong performers. When it comes to the leaders, here are some interesting things that Forrester points out…


The report says that “Salesforce leads with a broad – but not always deep – feature set and vision“. As expected and well known, the product has very strong capabilities. According to Forrester it has “fair incident management capabilities” and allows for “agent utilisation and workload” reporting, even though there is “no native telephony” as well as “full workforce management and quality monitoring” capabilities.

According to Forrester, Salesforce also “offers a breadth – but not depth – of omni-channel capabilities“. It has “basic omni-channel routing” which can only be extended via partnerships. The knowledge management capabilities are “solid and extended via forums provided via Community Cloud“. And reporting capabilities are “augmented by analytics, data discovery, and prescriptive advice scenarios provided via the Analytics Cloud and Einstein Data Discovery“.

Finally, Forrester says that Salesforce offers “industry-specific clouds for financial services, healthcare, and government” and implementations are done by their consulting services and “certified system integrator network“, which Salesforce seems to treat as “an extension of company resources“, developing also a “developer network“.

From a customer perspective, Salesforce’s “references were positive about their ability to execute, yet complaints about the product’s expense continue“. According to Forrester, Salesforce has c. 5,000 customers using this solution.


Forrester states that Oracle “excels at knowledge-infused omni-channel service“, as it is aiming to deliver “knowledge-driven service experiences across channels, touch-points, and devices“, following the company’s vision to “enable organisations to deploy any combination of channels dynamically, regardless of what new channel combinations may arise in the future“.

The reports states that Oracle “offers voice natively and via partners” and it also provides reporting capability around “forecast agent workloads and monitor agent performance“. It delivers “knowledge-infused omni-channel interactions across a broad and deep mix of channels” offering “excellent email, chat, visual engagement, feedback, and outbound communications capabilities” as well as “fair social management” that could be extended via Oracle Social Cloud platform.

Unlike its competition, Oracle “is a horizontal product” and it’s most seen in “industries such as retail, consumer packaged goods, high tech, manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services, the public sector, and higher education“. Offering “deep consulting services” and “a growing developer ecosystem“.

From a customer perspective, Oracle’s “customer references are happy with the channel capabilities and solid performance of the product” but there has been some concerns “over account management and customer service practices“. According to Forrester, Oracle has c. 3,000 customers using this solution.

8 attributes of customer-adaptive enterprise

Ovum, the London-based independent analyst and consultancy firm, which specialises in global IT and telecomms, recently published a study on D+M Group.

On that study Ovum tags D+M as a “customer-adaptive enterprise“, identifies and examines the 8 attributes that “create the right conditions for rapid adaptation to ensure persistent customer relevance“.

I recommend you to read the study, which you can find here (PDF), and to open your appetite I share below some of the more interesting statements, as well as the info-graphic with the 8 attributes.


“New CEO and turnaround specialist, Jim Caudill, who had been instrumental at Black & Decker (…) hired a team of largely former B&D executives to get the much-needed transformation under way with the aim to grow the company profitably“.

Ovum argues that to thrive in an age of rapid and accelerating change and in a global economic environment where growth is hard to come by, firms must develop the ability to sense, respond to, and adapt to change, particularly that which impacts customers and their buying behaviours, expectations, wants, and needs. As cycle times for adaptation continue to shorten, it puts enormous stress on enterprises often held back by legacy systems, processes, and departmental silos. These companies will fail to adapt at the right speed“.

The core question behind Ovum’s customer-adaptive enterprise research over the last four years has been to determine what it takes for any enterprise to remain persistently relevant to its customers. The term customer relevance was barely mentioned four years ago, but the message that customer relevance must be at the heart of any growth strategy is finally beginning to cut through management thinking“.

“Our research has shown that flying a business on one engine can be fatal. What happened to Nokia and BlackBerry when Apple entered and dramatically changed the smartphone industry, followed rapidly by Samsung, should provide a salutary lesson“.

Other business leaders have focused attention on shareholder value, but to paraphrase Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, that is one of the dumbest ideas, as shareholder value is an effect, not a cause, of growth”.

“To thrive and maintain customer relevance, any firm must not only deliver a positive customer experience at every opportunity but also create, deliver, and refresh value as perceived by customers on a continuous basis. This demands the ability to understand customers deeply and innovate on a continuous basis“.

“The twin engines of growth – customer experience and continuous innovation – are not departmental challenges, as they have implications for the entire enterprise, its ecosystem of partners, suppliers, and most of all its customers. It’s the CEO’s job to create the conditions where both engines are firing on all cylinders, something that Caudill, aided by his leadership team, has managed to do“.

Good to notice that D+M chose Oracle CX Cloud Suite as their foundation customer engagement platform – including Oracle Customer Data Management (CDM), Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle Social Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, and of course Oracle Service Cloud “to provide an integrated environment to support teamwork across each functional area and meet all the criteria necessary to create a unified foundation for a more modern and customer-oriented cross-channel engagement capability“.

You can also watch D+M CIO, Scott Strickland, sharing how the company leveraged Oracle CX Cloud products globally to transform the customer experience.