Maintain Account Control

By John Moore  |  Posted 2001-10-22 Print this article Print

Maintain Account Control

Holding on to customers is never easy, but doing so in a troubled economy is particularly challenging.

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.

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."

John writes the Contract Watch column and his own column for the Channel Insider.

John has covered the information-technology industry for 15 years, focusing on government issues, systems integrators, resellers and channel activities. Prior to working with Channel Insider, he was an editor at Smart Partner, and a department editor at Federal Computer Week, a newspaper covering federal information technology. At Federal Computer Week, John covered federal contractors and compiled the publication's annual ranking of the market's top 25 integrators. John also was a senior editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Computer Systems News.


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