IBM and Accenture lead the field of SAP outsourcing providers, with CSC, Capgemini and HP giving chase, according to a recent Gartner Magic Quadrant report.
Accenture has among the largest and most-extensive range of SAP capabilities, and IBM has the size, longevity and scale of operations to match, the report states. Methodologies like IBM SmartRun and the vendor's alignment with Run SAP methodology make for quality service. And IBM has good partnering skills.
It's the first year that Gartner has completed a Magic Quadrant report dedicated to SAP outsourcing. They've seen a spike in demand for SAP outsourcing services because of the weak economy, said Ben Pring, Gartner research vice president and the report's author.
"People are looking for more than just staff augmentation and are looking for full application management," Pring said. "And people are looking increasingly across the whole stack, infrastructure and application skills."
Gartner's Magic Quadrant methodology places vendors that meet its inclusion criteria into one of four quadrants – leaders, challengers, visionaries, and niche players -- based on "completeness of vision" and "ability to execute." Gartner defines "outsourcing" as a "multiyear or annuity contract or relationship involving the provision of ongoing application services for managing, enhancing and maintaining custom or packaged software in server/host or desktop/client platforms."
When it comes to full SAP application management, IBM and Accenture are the clear leaders, and they are very similar when it comes to quality of service, Pring said.
"A lot of it comes down to longevity," he said. "IBM and Accenture have been going after this for a long time, and they've reaped the rewards of that."
But because Accenture's focus is on complex, large projects, it may not be a good fit for smaller customers, according to the report. For the same reason, prices may be "unattractive," and some customers say they are not always pleased with Accenture's thought leadership. In turn, some customers also have said there is a lack of collaboration between IBM staff, according to the report.
CSC, Capgemini and HP, while also ranked in the leaders' quadrant, aren't on the same level as Accenture and IBM, according to Pring. For instance, CSC is weaker in suggesting ideas and leading innovative projects the report says. HP has a tendency to "oversolution," leading to scope creep and cost increases. And Capgemini is criticized for a "below-par quality of subcontracted staff that it uses in North America," according to the report.
Wipro Technologies, Infosys Technologies, Perot Systems, Tata Consultancy Services and HCL Technologies are ranked as challengers in the Magic Quadrant. Their service offerings, while competitive, don't match the totality of needs in the SAP market, according to the report. The niche quadrant is crowded with providers that have strengths in targeted areas.
There are no visionaries on this Magic Quadrant. SAP is a very well-known area, Pring said, and there isn't much differentiation in the way people support it.
"No one's really bringing new ideas to the table," he said.