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CRM software vendor selection -- independent firms that can help

Looking for help with CRM vendor selection? Utilize independent analyst/consulting firms, says Donna Fluss in this expert tip.

I am looking for a list of independent firms that can help with a vendor selection process for CRM technology. Specifically, we need help with our requirements, request for proposal (RFP) construction and business direction. Any ideas?

There are quite a number of companies that can assist you in finding new CRM technology. The companies vary in size, from large consulting firms with CRM practices to global BPO firms, industry analyst firms and expert boutique firms.

When looking for a firm to assist you in developing a request for proposal (RFP), the challenge is to find a firm that is independent. Most, if not all, of the consulting and BPO firms have strategic partners. You can be sure that the solution they recommend will be their partner, even though they will not represent it this way. They will go out of their way to appear independent, but they cannot be – they make too much money by recommending one of their partner's solutions. And, of course they will be the systems integration firm that will do the implementation.

So, here are some names for you:

Consulting firms with CRM practices: Accenture, BearingPoint, Cap Gemini, Deloitt, eLoyalty and Ernst and Young
Global BPO firms: CSC, EDS, IBM Global Services and Unisys
Industry analyst firms: Gartner (they have a consulting group that does this work)
Expert boutique firms: Vanguard Communications and ZAMBA Corporation

As for the last category, an analyst/consulting firm typically will address strategy, but not implementations. These type of firms can help companies do RFPs and select vendors, and can also help build a financial case to justify the investment.

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