The Marketing Strategist:

Global Providers Dominate in Brand Leadership for Digital Transformation

October 9, 2018

  • Featured Article, Brand & Reputation

As investments in digital transformation continue to mount, a handful of global solution providers have taken a clear lead in the minds of senior executive buyers at large enterprises, according to ITSMA’s 2018 Digital Transformation Brand Tracking Study.

Accenture, IBM, and Cognizant come top of mind in the latest survey, with unaided awareness scores of 64%, 62%, and 55% respectively. Others such as Deloitte, Wipro, Capgemini, TCS, and HP/HPE also make the running, but few smaller providers have staked out a strong position.

Building on almost two decades of similar brand tracking studies, ITSMA’s 2018 study reinforced the dominance of the global brands but also revealed plenty of opportunities for brand improvement in the high growth market for digital transformation services and solutions.

Professional services vs. digital transformation solutions

The digital transformation solutions market, a subset of professional services, does not share the same brand characteristics as its parent.

For example, Professional Services Brand Tracking surveys conducted throughout the 2000s revealed a long tail of “other companies” or those named only once, when buyers were asked to name providers that come to mind (i.e., unaided awareness). These “other” companies were predominantly local or regional providers, and they typically accounted for 25% to 35% of all companies named unaidedly in those earlier ITSMA studies.

In contrast, “other” accounts for a negligible 4.9% of digital transformation solution providers named unaidedly in 2018.  The unaided awareness list is now firmly ruled by the global giants such as IBM, Accenture, and Cognizant.

Room at the top

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of opportunities for the ambitious to grab a share. For example, over the past few years Cognizant has climbed up to third position to take its place alongside the perennial heavyweights IBM and Accenture. Others such as Deloitte, TCS, and Capgemini are also gaining ground and are right near the top when it comes to overall brand equity. The appearance of brands such as Google and Amazon mid-list are markers for the future.

Another observation from the 2018 survey is the disappearance of the divide between North American/European and Indian heritage firms. Indian heritage solution providers such as TCS and Wipro have made great strides in being seen as strong providers of digital transformation solutions.

Companies can also make headway by becoming known for expertise in some of the specific solution areas such as artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cybersecurity, data analytics/big data, process automation/robotics and IT modernization, including cloud services. A number of firms have solid scores, but clear market leaders in these areas have yet to emerge.

As noted in an earlier post on the 2018 study, however, buyers themselves are advancing quickly from the pilot and testing phase with digital transformation into strategic investments to reshape their organizations. Marketers concerned with mindshare and brand leadership have little time to waste.

To learn more about the study and download an abbreviated summary, check out Positioning for Digital Leadership: 2018 Digital Transformation Brand Tracking Study or contact Julie Schwartz for more information.


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