Maintain Account Control
Maintain Account Control Holding on to customers is never easy, but doing so in a troubled economy is particularly challenging.Meanwhile, some struggling customers are breaking up their remaining IT projects. During the boom years, an integrator that did good design work for a customer would typically get the implementation business as well, Jerry Greenberg, co-CEO of Sapient, recently told analysts. Now, he says, customers are more likely to treat the implementation phase as a separate bid. Solutions providers must also overcome their own diminished marketing budgets as they strive to keep customers. An Information Technology Services Marketing Association survey indicates that two-thirds of its members have cut back their services marketing budgets, some by more than 20 percent (see Cover Recap, p. 26). "The big problem is that some [companies] are truly cutting back sales forces," says Steve Waterhouse, president of the Waterhouse Group. "When they do that, they really hurt their ability to maintain customers."
Tom Rodenhauser, president of Consulting Information Services, says big integrators are moving downstream to chase mid-market accounts. Mac Slingerland, CEO of Ciber, says the Big Five are slashing prices and invading his $100/hour billing rate space.