Reader's Choice Survey 2004

The fourth annual CGT Elite/Reader's Choice issue is an accurate depiction of the current information technology (IT) landscape. Why? It relies on the input from our readers, the people that select, deploy and use IT 365 days a year. The CGT staff processed feedback from 150 consumer goods executives for this year's crop of Elite players with a wide mix of verticals represented. We'll let the results speak for themselves.

The essence of the voting process, compared to previous CGT Best-In-Class issues, remains relatively intact this year, however, the methodology was streamlined. Outside survey firms were not a part of the voting equation. Instead, a concise, HTML ballot was created and e-mailed to CG readers so that participants could quickly and easily rank the top 10 vendors they recognize and use. The Best-In-Class ballot embodies a comprehensive list of tech vendors for each category and participants were required to choose and rank the vendors that applied to their company's IT strategy. Each category chart reflects the volume of votes received with name recognition and customer experience winners highlighted at the bottom.

New Categories

In order to accurately address the evolving needs of consumer goods technology executives, new categories were added to this year's Elite lineup including outsourcing, consulting, business intelligence, data synchronization, transportation management and hardware. The addition of these new categories is a strong indicator that IT remains a hot ticket for the consumer goods industry.


What easily ranks as one of the biggest 2003 technology deals in the consumer goods industry falls upon the shoulders of Procter & Gamble (P&G). In September, P&G announced a $400 million global outsourcing deal with IBM Business Consulting Services to handle the company's human resources. Under the agreement,

IBM will support a staggering 98,000 P&G employees in nearly 80 countries. It should come as no shock that IBM placed first this year in the Best-In-Class Outsourcing and Consulting categories. Read all about the P&G/IBM deal on page 24.

On the merger and acquisitions front, PeopleSoft's acquisition of J.D. Edwards certainly kept the CGT office and the industry-at-large, buzzing for a few months. And while PeopleSoft did not place first in any of the Best-In-Class categories, the company fared quite well overall, placing in the top five in many instances.

Also of note is the shift in focus towards Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offerings. Analysts believe that former fringe CRM technologies, such as Trade Promotion Management (TPM), is an area where many CG companies will turn to next. In the past, smaller firms were the only ones that offered TPM and now the CRM heavyweights like Siebel and PeopleSoft have entered the TPM ring. You can find out how readers voted on these vendors and much more by turning to page 20.

With an economy on the rebound, it only makes sense that IT budgets quench the much-needed thirst for recovery so be sure to check out "Companies On the Move" at the end of the chart rankings. The up-and-comers mentioned on these pages are solid proof that for every IT consolidation, buy-out or merger, there are plenty of stand-alone vendors with competitive offerings to fill virtually any void.

Looking Ahead

A new day is dawning for the IT decision makers. According to AMR Research, for the first time in two years, IT managers viewed the second half of 2003 with a higher level of optimism. In 2001 and 2002, enthusiasm towards expected IT budget growth declined as the year progressed. This year, expectations for IT budget growth have risen to almost 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2003, a sharp rise from 1.7 percent in the first quarter. IT investments are targeting customers rather than cost or competitors. Companies want to invest in technology that empowers them to boost customer service, loyalty and customer bases. Compliance with government regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley is also major factor behind investment. Feel confident to rely on CGT's Best-In-Class data to help shape your future IT decisions.