“The future of IT is that there should be no IT,” said Bala Subramanian, chief digital officer (and formerly chief technology officer) at Best Buy, while speaking on a panel at the annual National Retail Federation show in New York in January.
Lest you get the wrong impression, Subramanian was making the point that information technology has become so integral to the business of consumer goods — and so vital to its success — that it no longer makes sense to talk about IT as a distinct function.
In that type of reality, identifying the best IT tools and solution providers has become more of a mission-critical exercise than ever before. As industry luminary Andy Walter says, what’s needed aren’t vendors that just sell software and services, but true partners “who will co-invest with you” to mutually build the businesses.
With this premise in mind, CGT undertook its 18th annual Readers’ Choice Survey, our yearly effort to find out which solution providers are having a significant impact on the consumer goods industry.
Covering Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Planning and 13 vital functions in between (alphabetically, not functionally), CGT’s 18th annual Readers’ Choice survey spotlights the industry’s preferred solution and service vendors. The resulting Top Providers lists can serve as a valuable first-step guide for helping your company make future business and IT decisions.
In recent years, we’ve supplemented the Readers’ Choice results with editorial commentary about general trends within each category. Since that’s something we strive to do all year round, we decided this year to place greater emphasis on the solution providers themselves by profiling four “notables” in each category (which we’ll explain below).
As usual, CGT also presents “Editors’ Picks,” an overview of intriguing technology and service providers that aren’t represented on any of the lists but which should be on the industry’s radar.
The Top Providers list for each category showcases the companies that received the best “Total Scores” for the solutions and/or services they deliver in that area. Although the goal is to present 10 solution providers in each category, we always rely on the results to determine the final “worthy” number.
These lists were determined by responses from hundreds of executives and employees who work with these tools daily. Because we often encounter outright ties and “too close to call” vote totals and satisfaction scores, we present these solution providers in alphabetical order.
To ensure the integrity of the survey, only employees of consumer goods companies — the clients of these providers — are eligible to vote, and only once. (CGT has internal checks in place to detect fraudulent voting activity.) We also ask respondents to vote only in the categories that match their areas of expertise, whether that’s in supply chain, product development, sales and marketing, or general IT.
In each relevant category, respondents were asked to identify the provider whose tools or services they currently use. They were then asked to rank their level of satisfaction with that provider on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being “extremely dissatisfied” and 5 being “extremely satisfied”).
A company’s “Total Score” was then computed by multiplying the number of votes it received in the category by its average customer satisfaction rating in that same category.
In addition to the list of Top Providers in each category, CGT recognizes three companies for special recognition:
Best in Category: The provider that received the highest total score in its category.
Customer Satisfaction Leader: The provider that earned the highest average user satisfaction rating in the category (after qualifying by receiving an acceptable number of votes).
SMB Market Leader: The provider that received the highest total score in the category from respondents whose companies generate annual revenue of $1 billion or less (small or mid-sized business).
Click on the links below to view the results from each category.
- Business Intelligence
- Consumer Experience Management
- Customer Relationship Management
- Demand Data Analytics
- Digital Commerce
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Outsourcing/IT Infrastructure
- Product Information Management
- Retail Execution
- Supply Chain Execution
- Supply Chain Planning
- Trade Promotion Management
- Editor's Picks (Other noteworthy solution providers)
To download a pdf version of the full report, click on the attachment below.