MarketScope for Sales Force Automation in the Consumer Goods Industry
9 March 2011

Dale Hagemeyer

Gartner Industry Research Note G00210416

This MarketScope analyzes and rates the state of sales force automation in the consumer goods industry, as well as for each of the 20 vendors serving the market that meet our criteria.

What You Need to Know

Options for enabling the key field sales processes (category management, trade promotion management, trade promotion optimization, volume planning, retail execution and monitoring, and settlement) have expanded during the past year. Five new vendor offerings are now featured in our analysis for the first time. Among vendor offerings, we are seeing a continued focus on trade promotion optimization, food service and selling through multitiered distribution channels. We rather expected to see vendor consolidation as the economy continued to lag through 2010, but this did not happen. In fact, many consumer goods (CG) companies began to invest in automation projects later in the year, and many vendors were actually able to grow. The result is a stronger, more viable marketplace that can offer global as well as localized solutions to improve field sales execution.


Sales force automation (SFA) solutions continued to garner considerable attention in 2010 as manufacturers wrestled with major industry issues such as growing spending on trade promotions, product availability and retailers' analytical capabilities outpacing those of manufacturers. Investment in SFA solutions, particularly in trade promotion management and retail execution and monitoring, picked up dramatically during 2H10, just as they did in 2009. We believe that it must have to do with the planning horizon for deploying technologies and acting in concert with perceptions of an improving market. Investment continues to be strongest by far among consumables companies such as food and beverage. Investment was considerably less among semidurable companies (such as apparel, footwear and entertainment) and still less among durable companies such as housewares, appliances and consumer electronics — where the downturn has been felt most. For years, we have expected the durable sector to get more involved in automating these processes, but we see no catalyst for doing so until the market shows substantial improvement. We see continued maturity in the market as evidenced by:

  • Continued user uptake and live references for trade promotion modeling and optimization by vendors such as Accenture CAS, DemandTec, Oracle, M-Factor, MindTree, Promax and Synectics Group/River Logic.

  • Positive movement toward optimizing retail merchandising and in-store activities in what we are now calling retail activity optimization (RAO). This consists of using daily retail data feeds and business rule engines to determine which stores to visit, in which sequence, and what to do at each location to yield the greatest return.

  • Regional vendors, such as ITC Infotech from India in partnership with NewsPage from Singapore, penetrating CG companies of all sizes in their respective regions.

  • A variety of both on-premises and software as a service (SaaS) offerings in all aspects of field sales automation. Vendors such as AFS Technologies are expanding from adjacent markets, such as food service, to have a more complete offering for consumables companies that sell in that channel as well as through retail.

  • Far more new implementations by Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies than by Tier 1 firms, which have typically already chosen their field sales solutions. However, Tier 1 companies are upgrading and actually switching solutions. No companies featured herein are in any financial trouble that we are aware of.

This MarketScope analyzes the recent performance of the 20 vendors serving this market that meet our criteria, rating each vendor based on our vendor-rating definitions.

Market/Market Segment Description

Trade promotion management/optimization (TPM/TPO) remains the primary driver in the SFA marketplace, but retail execution is coming up fast as CG companies:

  • Better understand the headquarters aspects of their promotions and need to shift their focus to in-store execution.

  • Seek to grow their business by executing better through technology solutions in developing countries. This represents a large component of the growth we are seeing and manifests itself in direct store delivery (DSD), van sales and presales solutions more so than in-store merchandising (store audits and surveys).

  • See category management as a low-growth area for the stand-alone vendor solutions featured herein, and this is an ongoing trend. The category management space is getting many of its analytical needs met by the TPM vendors, syndicated vendor providers and demand signal data providers.

Across the board, the winners in field sales automation are the vendors that have:

  • Deep expertise of functionality for unique markets such as the U.S. (TPM and DSD), southern Europe (contract-based sales) or developing countries (van sales).

  • TPM as part of end-to-end solutions that offer everything from ERP through to TPM. In these cases, the focus on integration and standardizing on fewer vendors outweighs all else.

  • Strong analytics with an engaging use of graphics to convey information.

  • High degrees of configuration at a macro as well as a user level, and less reliance on customization.

Several of the vendors in various tiers are not covered in detail in this MarketScope because they do not meet the inclusion criteria. However, we continue to monitor their progress in the marketplace. In many cases, we find them quite interesting, as follows:

  • Flintfox offers hosted TPM plus related support services for deduction clearing and analysis for a QAD ERP installed base.

  • Microsoft has field sales automation capabilities such as contact management, but we find it lacking in industry-specific functionality. It does get evaluated for field sales automation projects based on company reputation, but it gets eliminated based on functional requirements.

  • MindTree has a TPO offering that it calls "a framework to measure trade promotion effectiveness." It is not a packaged application, but it is a combined consultative service and technology offering that we find interesting because it could benefit the field sales organization with analytical support without requiring the change management efforts of an actual packaged software offering. At some point, we see this becoming more of a product, and we are keeping an eye on it accordingly.

  • NewsPage offers field sales for retail execution with a focus on Asia. It is relatively low-cost and designed to run on smartphones as well as ruggedized industrial devices.

  • has some contact and activity management capabilities, but it has insufficient industry-specific functionality to qualify for inclusion.

  • TABS Group is an analytics company based in the U.S. that provides category management, promotion analytics and volume planning as adjuncts to TPM. The company provides not only tools, but also a seasoned group of consultants who can help with the analysis.

  • Upside Commerce is a U.S.-based TPM vendor that is based on Microsoft Dynamics with linkage to Microsoft Dynamics ERP, which could make it an end-to-end alternative to SAP or Oracle for small to midsize CG organizations.

Gartner defines the tiers of user organizations as follows:

  • Tier 1 companies tend to have a global presence and an annual revenue of more than $1 billion. Tier 1 companies may have affiliates in other countries that are considered as Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 based on their size and behavior in those local markets.

  • Tier 2 companies have revenue between $250 million and $1 billion, or they have operations based in specific countries that are part of a global company.

  • Tier 3 companies have revenue of less than $250 million.

Note that Tier 1 companies may choose multiple solutions based on the maturity of respective markets. They may choose a suite or global solution for a mature market and a local or niche solution for less-developed markets.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Vendors must have at least $5 million in consumer goods SFA product revenue from consumer goods customers, specific to one or more of the six key field sales processes, to be considered in this MarketScope. These processes are category management, trade promotion management, trade promotion optimization, volume planning, retail execution and monitoring, and settlement. This overarching criterion automatically eliminates many startups as well as service providers that do not have a solution.

Rating for Overall Market/Market Segment

Overall Market Rating: Positive

Our outlook for this market continues to be Positive, given the ongoing market penetration of these solutions across user organizations of all sizes and the maturity of offerings from multiple players. The various offerings continue to expand in expertise, but the market is still somewhat fragmented by solution type and tier (for example, TPM-only and retail-only solutions or TPM solutions that are focused on smaller CG companies). We still advise the investment in SFA, because it constitutes a means to a competitive advantage. This applies particularly to CG companies as they evolve their capabilities from transactional to analytical, to predictive/optimization, and finally to optimized with a focus on more real time. We advise the continued investment in these capabilities because of the need to increase competitive advantage and promote growth in developed as well as developing markets. This is particularly true, as optimization and predictive modeling work their way into many of the six key processes. Other factors that contribute to our continued Positive rating are:

  • More vendors are expanding to become global, and user organizations are making more global deployments. In some instances, large deployments use a single version and single back-end server as opposed to a regionalized approach.

  • There are more ways to fulfill category management requirements from multiple vendors.

  • Both hosted and on-premises offerings are continuing to proliferate across the key selling processes.

  • There are more deployment options through vendors' professional services organizations, third-party integrators or a combination of both.

  • An increase in retail execution deployments is evidence that CG companies are getting a better handle on their trade promotions and are now looking to improve in-store execution.

To become Strong Positive, the market will need:

  • More investment from semidurable and durable CG manufacturers. We doubt this will happen, considering the current economic environment.

  • More service-oriented architecture (SOA) success stories, which indicate the relative ease of combining various solutions, including best of breed.

  • More global vendors that are able to better capture the unique requirements of markets such as Australia, Eastern Europe, southern Europe and Japan. Today, niche vendors in many of these markets have captured significant market share by understanding and providing appropriate solutions.

  • Greater penetration of optimization and predictive modeling capabilities across TPO as well as RAO.

Evaluation Criteria

Table 1. Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria
Geographic Strategy
The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market. A vendor's quantity and quality of clients available to provide references from all three tiers of CG companies. This criterion also includes a vendor's ability to support these companies on many continents and in multiple languages.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record
Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness. A vendor's demonstrated ability to implement on its own and through external service partners to deliver SFA solutions for CG companies.
Market Understanding
Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision. An in-depth understanding of the CG industry and the needs of companies in this market segment for one or more of the six key SFA processes (category management, trade promotion management, trade promotion optimization, volume planning, retail execution and monitoring, and settlement) coupled with the ability to act in real time. The ability to translate this market understanding into comprehensive functionality and meet customer needs worldwide.
Offering (Product) Strategy
The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements. Web and mobile technology is scalable and can support internal sales agents and partner sales agents. The data model can support hierarchies of customers and products — for example, product family, brand and stock-keeping unit. The product also supports multiple platforms, such as PDAs, laptops, tablet and ultralight PCs. The vendor's technology can be expanded to integrate with other company legacy solutions, best-of-breed offerings or syndicated data sources.
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy, Organization)
Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products. A vendor's ability to generate sustainable revenue and profits, and its commitment to continued success in this specific SFA marketplace. Vendors must have at least $5 million in SFA revenue based on CG to be considered in our MarketScope. We also emphasize financial transparency, regardless of vendor size.
The vendor's ability to enable one or more of the six key sales functions with a complete solution that meets market requirements for that sales function. Also the ability where applicable to tailor the solution to meet unique user requirements.
Vertical/Industry Strategy
The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets. A vendor's breadth, depth and vision for one or more of the six key sales processes that support SFA for CG. This criterion also includes important enablers, such as order and data management, content management, contract management, reporting, and analysis.

Source: Gartner (March 2011)


Figure 1. MarketScope for Sales Force Automation in the Consumer Goods Industry

Figure 1.MarketScope for Sales Force Automation in the Consumer Goods Industry

Source: Gartner (March 2011)

Vendor Product/Service Analysis

Accenture CAS

In November 2010, CAS was acquired by Accenture to become part of its Software Division. Our assessment of what this means for CAS is that it will:

  • Be better able to compete on the implementation and support side because of dramatically greater resources, global presence and market clout.

  • Continue its industry focus, orientation toward innovation, and current road map because of retention plans and incentives designed to keep its leadership in place.

  • Struggle to keep other integration partners motivated to partner and keep resources trained on CAS solutions due to the belief that Accenture will get the lion's share of the deployments.

  • Face potential internal conflict. Accenture states that it will always lead with its own software offerings, except where there are architectural considerations. We believe that this gives Accenture wide latitude to recommend solutions from its ERP vendor partners. However, since CAS was never a preferred option prior to the acquisition, it can only stand to do better by Accenture bringing it into deals.

CAS has continued to mature as a software company with more focus on its own human resources, a keener eye on customer satisfaction, and a focus on fewer, larger partners. We believe that Accenture will only add to this, particularly in the focus on global deployments with a global management and oversight structure.

On the product side, CAS remains a major presence in the market with its CAS 8.0, which is now deployed at several customers in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. CAS is compelling for its:

  • TPM deployments in as little as four months.

  • Clients finding new versions as a motivation for upgrading based on factors like really crisp graphics and asynchronous data flows, and chevron-based process flows that guide users through processes, such as setting up a promotion and more ergonomic screens that require less toggling for any given process.

  • New graphics that actually offer things like shading on bar charts, optimization integrated into a single solution, the ability to do true optimization, or "show me the best option" based on constraints. This is based on a neural network approach, using both SQL and other existing Microsoft tools.

  • Optimization in retail execution and monitoring, where there is more ability to optimize routes such as those based on a geographic corridor and the time required to execute a task. Also included is the ability to suggest order quantity based on history.

  • Chevron-based navigation on the handheld for more of a flow of activities and lots of embedded search capabilities.

  • Surveys that can be exception-based to minimize the amount of data input.

  • Retail capabilities as a single application across van sales, merchandising and DSD. The DSD capabilities have expanded to include features like the return of empty bottles, real-time pricing and electronic signature capture with date stamps.

Challenges for Accenture CAS are:

  • Not moving quickly enough to a SaaS model. There are intermediate plans to offer a more preconfigured set of solutions. However, we believe that, because developing countries are such a huge growth market, CAS needs to step it up in retail execution and TPM to stay relevant to Tier 1 companies operating in developing countries and Tier 2 companies operating in developed ones. To keep its rating, CAS will need to address this issue because it is a global vendor and SaaS is a global requirement.

  • Not moving to the iPad anytime soon, which may limit its attractiveness to companies adopting these devices.

Evaluate Accenture CAS when: You want the best of breed in TPM and retail, prefer best-in-class analytics, are ready for optimization across TPM and retail, don't require SaaS options, favor a superior user interface, and are looking for a vendor that constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation.

Rating: Strong Positive

Adesso Solutions

Adesso Solutions has a new infusion of management and investor capital after a period of struggling to fully integrate all the capabilities from its previous acquisition of Gelco Trade Management. The integration resulted in an outdated user interface and inwardly focused priorities, while the company worked on the release of TradeAdvantage v.11. In the meantime, some clients exercised the "SaaS option" of moving to another vendor. Adesso Solutions is back in the game and is bringing newly acquired clients up on the new version. Existing clients will then move over in 2Q11. The new offering finally provides the best of both Gelco and previous Adesso Solutions offerings based on Microsoft technology but powered by a new data center. Its analytical capabilities have improved in the new release, and it has introduced expanded functionality for budgeting and fund management, price/data management, and promotion planning. Adesso Solutions remains true to its mission of providing low-cost TPM solutions to Tier 2 and Tier 3 CG companies.

Adesso Solutions is compelling for the following reasons:

  • It has the ability to issue checks for unsaleables or as direct pay to retailers such as convenience stores.

  • It has capabilities in food services from a single platform, which bodes well for CG companies that sell through both channels.

  • Historically, Adesso Solutions is one of the lower total cost of ownership (TCO) solutions on the market, based on information from our clients. Its users most often say that it is a good value for the money and is a reliable technology.

Adesso Solutions doesn't have promotion optimization yet, and we believe it will take some time to develop those capabilities, since it must first work on migrating clients to the new platform. In the coming year, it will also refocus on its clients through project-management-trained relationship managers.

The challenges for Adesso Solutions are its focus on North America and its lack of offline capabilities. It will also need more graphical and analytical options if best-of-breed solutions enter more into Tier 2 and Tier 3, but for now, it can compete effectively based on price, functionality and domain expertise.

Our rating is for TPM, volume planning and settlement capabilities. We acknowledge the value of the Rapidraft and Webpay settlement tools but are not evaluating them against alternatives. The rating remains unchanged from last year as the company works to return to growth, re-establish itself as a "shortlist contender" and get its installed base onto the new platform.

Evaluate Adesso Solutions when: You are seeking a stand-alone TPM solution that is hosted or possibly on-premises with minimal customization, your focus is on the U.S./U.K./Canadian markets with possibilities for food service, and low TCO is a priority.

Rating: Promising

AFS Technologies

AFS is new to our MarketScope. Originally known as Advanced Food Systems, AFS is best known for having food service capabilities. Founded in 1993 in the distributor space, it has expanded to have a total TPM planning solution for both retail and food service businesses that enhances the order-to-cash process, as opposed to just trade planning. AFS is privately held, but reports its most recent revenue as being between $30 million and $40 million. The solutions are .NET with an SQL back end, and some components such as the Discovery Web analysis tool are based in the cloud.

AFS is compelling for its:

  • Combination food service and traditional retail-centric business and promotional planning capabilities for a modern society that is more and more based on convenience and consumption away from home. This ongoing trend — plus the expertise of AFS — is attracting the attention of leading consulting firms like IBM and is forcing it to break paradigms such as the tendency to recommend SAP or Oracle at most trade management problems.

  • Full offline capabilities for laptops, tablets and pocket devices. Such mobility has been a challenge for many competitors.

  • Ability to plan at the indirect (such as retailers serviced by wholesalers) level and perform postpromotion analysis using indirect account-level data.

  • Good drill-down capabilities from within the solution.

  • Ability to process food service claims with links to major food service providers such as Sysco and U.S. Foodservice.

  • Momentum and user adoption, which are successfully luring users from competitors.

  • Use of the solution by two of the three largest U.S. sales agencies (brokers), which is equivalent to having a much bigger installed base and requires great flexibility to adapt to requirements of these agencies as they represent hundreds of brands.

AFS also has some challenges that it will need to address in its quest to become a leading TPM contender:

  • The solution is not graphically oriented. Graphics have to be launched separately from the BI tool to be viewed.

  • Its product and corporate messaging about "optimization" does not refer to TPO, but refers to getting more from promotional investments. It then raises the question of when AFS will have TPO, since the industry is moving in that direction. However, we don't see this happening in the near future, as most of the installed base is in food service, which will not push for TPO.

  • Its focus on food and beverage companies will limit many future options around household product and eventually consumer durables and semidurables, which are both sales-agent- and distributor-oriented.

AFS is a welcome addition to the lineup of trade planning solutions because of its expertise in food service and growing momentum in TPM. As it ramps up on retail trade capabilities and improves its user experience through the use of graphics, we see AFS as Promising.

Evaluate AFS when: Your primary business is food service, but you also have retail business, you want a more order-to-cash orientation on managing the trade, you sell through distributors/wholesalers, or you value food service expertise.

Rating: Promising


alqemyiQ (formerly Kenosia) continues to march toward a dual offering of the traditional DataAlchemy product plus an enterprise offering for point of sale (POS) data analytics that is complementary to the category management solution. We believe the strategy makes sense, and the client base appears to be looking forward to the additional option. alqemyiQ also appears to be posed to move ahead now that Halo Technologies, its parent company, concluded a year ago. We believe that a more responsive and powerful tool, plus tools for managing additional datasets (such as consumer loyalty) for use in category management analytics, will be a good addition to the offering. The preliminary demo we reviewed looked promising because it combines strong analytical capabilities with more data capacity and processing power. We believe that existing clients will find the new offering for category management attractive.

The challenge, however, is that category management solutions aren't even warm at present. There are too many alternative category management solutions coming in from other quarters, such as the demand signal management vendors, traditional syndicated data providers, TPM vendors and even TPO vendors. The alqemyiQ enterprise solution with its demand signal repository (DSR) could be a viable option for a company that doesn't have demand signal management capabilities, although more often than not, they already do. Hence, there may be some upgrade potential on the category management side while bringing in the POS data from some existing solution. The access monitoring feature is a plus because it reveals who is using the solution and when, but we doubt this would be a reason to replace an existing solution. We also believe that managing POS data takes some time to master. Each retailer has nuances in its data that take time to become accustomed to.

Both existing and prospective alqemyiQ users should look at the upgraded solutions. If they have demand signal management capabilities, then they should independently consider the alqemyiQ demand signal management and usage tracking options in a head-to-head comparison for accuracy and responsiveness to what they have. If they do not have demand signal management, then they should look at the entire stack after a proof of concept of running their key retailer data through the back-end system.

Because alqemyiQ has a loyal customer base and is improving its position after the bankruptcy, we rate its category management capabilities as Positive. However, because the new enterprise solution and demand signal management is still not commercially available, we rate the overall offering as Promising.

Evaluate alqemyiQ when: You need analytical functionality for category management, but also share a vision for incorporating POS or other data from the same vendor.

Rating: Promising


Coheris enables field and headquarter sales force automation, as well as shelf simulation and sales volume planning. It is also unique in that it offers crossover capabilities for over-the-counter drugs and some degree of pharmaceutical detailing of both pharmacies and doctors. Coheris is compelling for its:

  • Expertise in shelf simulation, not only for creating and viewing planograms, but also for manipulating and optimizing them within the SFA solution. As an example, with one click, a user can expand a shelf set from five meters to six or see the shelf in three dimensions.

  • Ability to follow its clients out of Europe and into Canada, the Middle East, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Africa and South America. Relatively few European vendors have been able to do this, although they continue to try.

  • Capability to manage pricing on the mobile device without being tethered to an ERP solution.

  • Improvements made in the area of sales activity optimization with a workload simulation tool for prioritizing sales activities, measuring workload and understanding the cost of store visits, as well as collaborative capabilities to better coordinate the efforts of various roles working with a specific customer.

  • Continued expansion of capabilities in the area of sales forecasting, which are more simple and intuitive than the standard "grid" approach.

Coheris has recently opened its .NET-based platform to external developers, so they can build in additional functionality with training and support being provided for these partners. Being a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner is a plus in attracting other Microsoft-centric offerings.

We don't see significant challenges for Coheris, except for it continuing to grow and innovate to stay ahead of the ERP and any startup players. Coheris is profitable and well-capitalized, so it should be able to do both — on its own or through acquisition. Coheris has the potential to move to a Positive rating as it executes its road map to improve the user interface, do more to optimize trade and merchandising activities, and execute a product image recognition feature.

Evaluate Coheris when: You are Europe-centric as a company but are expanding globally, you value shelf simulation and optimization and having price management on the mobile device, and you seek elements of predictive analytics in the selling process.

Rating: Promising


DemandTec is unique relative to other offerings in this analysis because it enhances field sales automation by:

  • Offering TPO but no TPM. Instead, it sits on top of other TPM solutions.

  • Providing embedded shopper insights, which are a component of category management and customer planning/trade promotion.

  • Enabling postevent analytics, which may not be richly offered in an underlying TPM solution.

  • Offering Deal Management (formerly TradePoint) that facilitates setup and communication of promotions between retailers and manufacturers. This collaborative capability is very unique among its peer group.

DemandTec is compelling for its:

  • Strength of the predictive capabilities, while still being delivered as SaaS.

  • Knowledge and experience of optimization for both retailers and manufacturers, which lead to a rich understanding of best practices for both that can be leveraged.

  • Ability to optimize not only trade spending but also pricing and assortment — optimizing trade spending at a macro (national or regional) level before diving down to the retailer level.

  • Scale, which automatically gives it an advantage over smaller TPM players. Because of its market cap of approximately $420 million, DemandTec is able to stay relevant to integration partners like IBM, Booz & Company and Accenture.

We still see a strong theme of DemandTec being laid on top of SAP to provide TPO functionality. We also find that users prefer to work in DemandTec because they prefer the interface. The DemandTec road map is noteworthy because, for mid-2011, it will include some needed upgrades in the user interface, such as fewer screens required to simulate and set up a promotion, cursor move "hovers" that reveal underlying data while not cluttering up the screen, and comparisons across multiple promotions. It will also include more simulation, such as price increases at various geographic levels and classes of trade, and variables such as cost of goods sold, shelf price and list price.

However, we see challenges in the future, based on Accenture acquiring CAS and on SAP beginning to offer its own brand of TPO. We also see challenges from other TPM vendors — that is, as they are able to move to TPO, the TPM/TPO combination will be seen as more advantageous than two solutions. Thus far, DemandTec has resisted becoming a complete TPM offering because it perceived TPM as relatively low value and lacking in analytical rigor. We believe that closing only a couple of new deals in 2010 is a signal of increased competition from products offering both TPM and TPO. This will only be exacerbated as more deals involve Tier 2 and Tier 3 CG companies, where DemandTec is underpenetrated today.

The planned UI upgrades will be good for DemandTec because the current UI has been outpaced by improvements among best-of-breed players such as CAS that also offer TPO.

Given the strength of the company — its footprint with several market leaders, existing footprint with retailers, ability to optimize promotions as an add-on to TPM, and partner support — we rate it as Promising.

Evaluate DemandTec when: You see the merits of the predictive capabilities of TPO, but your current vendor has no road map for it — in particular, SAP, since DemandTec has done considerable work on top of SAP. Also, evaluate DemandTec if your key retail partners are participating in the TradePoint clearinghouse.

Rating: Promising

Interactive Edge

Interactive Edge is a mainstay of the technology-enabled category management and product category data analytics space with its XP3 product. Its installed base consists mainly of consumable goods companies, but also includes automotive, home and garden, and durable goods companies. Interactive Edge is also expanding into data management and analytics for a wide array of industries. However, of primary interest to us are the analytical capabilities surrounding pricing, category management, competitive analysis, assortments and POS data analytics.

Interactive Edge is compelling for its:

  • Additive functionality to traditional demand signal management solutions for specialized reporting

  • Complimentary functionality for space management to better utilize shopper insights and survey data

  • Partnering relationship with ROI Inc. to provide XP3 and category management training

  • Interface orientation based on embedded thought processes and activity flows to more easily determine a go-to-market strategy based on the current situation

  • Presentation capabilities in support of PowerPoint 2010

  • Support for Excel to accommodate salespeople/analysts who prefer to work in that environment or require functionality such as pivot tables

  • Process-flow orientation based on how users approach the analysis

Challenges for Interactive Edge include:

  • Competition in aspects of category management functionality being provided by the traditional syndicated data providers, the demand signal data vendors and some of the more-advanced TPM vendors. None of the competitors have a comparable footprint, particularly on the data handling and presentation side. However, there are competitors with bits and pieces of the functional footprint that can keep specialty vendors like Interactive Edge from becoming pervasive in the marketplace.

  • A recent tendency for "power user"-oriented deals that are less than $200,000. The challenge is how to grow and be perceived as an analytical platform as opposed to a niche, specialty vendor in a marketplace dominated by fewer and larger vendors.

Evaluate Interactive Edge when: You need data analysis tools that have industry best practices built in, and you are not inclined to build them from scratch or from non-industry-specific BI platforms. Also, evaluate Interactive Edge when you need to enable the analytical efforts of a broad spectrum of users from a key customer team to a one-person account manager, but in both cases, you need to obtain insights and recommendations through analysis and be able to share them in compelling visual form.

Rating: Positive

ITC Infotech

ITC Infotech is yet another new addition to our MarketScope. ITC is an Indian outsourcing company that provides implementation and support services for the NewsPage product. It has also enhanced the NewsPage retail execution solution based on an OEM relationship with NewsPage (Singapore), which is strong in enabling distributors and wholesalers. This makes it interesting across Asia, where multitiered distribution channels are prevalent. NewsPage does not yet qualify on its own for inclusion for our MarketScope. The ITC-NewsPage footprint, however, includes order management, damaged stock, asset management, van sales, merchandising, field force messaging and surveying. The solution is sold to manufacturers for use by their channel partners as well as directly to the wholesaler/distributor. ITC-NewsPage's DMS 1 product is compelling for its:

  • Very low cost option, with features required by the developing markets — in particular, India, Southern Asia, Africa and Latin America

  • Backing by a large integration company that has deep knowledge of the product, can customize it or build modules to suit, and can deploy it — all with relatively low-cost resources

  • Support for leading handheld devices, including Android and BlackBerry

  • Offers of SaaS and on-premises

  • Easily leveraged ITC network and support to enter Europe and North America

  • Features for channel partners to upload sales data, so it can be shared and jointly analyzed by the manufacturer (This visibility to downstream data is critical in markets where POS data is scarce to nonexistent.)

  • Claims of 80% functionality out of the box and the rest through configuration (Customization is an allowable option.)

ITC already has several thousand end users, including some marquee CG companies, in addition to some recent deals that will add 5,000 or more in the coming months. Thus far, we don't see significant challenges. However, ITC will have to deal with the following:

  • While the product's user interface has full functionality, it is far from elegant and will have to be enhanced to significantly penetrate developed countries.

  • Global deployments often are driven by global integrators. We don't see ITC's competitors recommending this solution, because there is no benefit to them in doing so.

We definitely see ITC Infotech as one to watch for retail execution in developing countries.

Evaluate ITC Infotech when: You are a distributor or go to market through distributors in developing countries and want full functionality at an attractive price, but don't require the latest in slick interface.

Rating: Promising

Klee Commerce

Klee Commerce is new to the MarketScope this year, even though it has been around since 1987. It is a slightly different company from others featured here, because it is both an IT system integrator (the rest of the organization that makes up the Klee Group) and a field sales automation solution vendor, with 75% of revenue coming from the former. It is headquartered in Paris and has offices in Madrid, Milan and San Jose, California. The Klee Sales product features the typical retail execution feature set: customers, products, territories, time management, orders, category and assortment management, and expense and vacation management. It also has TPM capabilities for budgeting, promotion planning and volume planning. Additionally, the Klee Store offering has space and shelf management including 3D visualization. These capabilities are complementary to field sales and can be powerful in the European selling model, where store managers have a lot of the autonomy held by headquarters personnel in other regions. The Klee solution set is compelling for the following reasons:

  • It has one of the nicer user interfaces for its peer group, with good graphical representation, integrated maps that are part of the display but don't take more space than required, and a tabular approach to the various sales-centric activities.

  • It has exceptional store shelf representations and 3D visualizations that constitute a virtual in-store experience.

  • Klee Group can perform its own implementations because it has a system professional and a service organization that is larger than other vendors its size.

  • Although it is strong in food, beverage and consumables, Klee Commerce also has expertise in the home and garden category, as well as in the apparel category.

  • The use of "skins" on the user interface allows each individual user to have a unique configuration.

  • Three different analytical/reporting options include:

    1. Embedded BusinessObjects technology

    2. An embedded reporting tool that allows Klee Group integrators to embed customized reports directly in the Klee Sales Module. Reports are developed using a combination of XML for user interface design and JScript for data processing. Reports are stored in the database and are deployed to the mobile users through the Klee Commerce synchronization. A library of standard reports is made available to clients.

    3. An analytical database fed by the operational Klee Commerce database that allows the client organization to add its own reporting tool. Past implementations based on this approach include IBM/Cognos and Microsoft Access.

Although the Klee Group is a solid and profitable company with revenue of about US$50 million (approximately US$11 million coming from CG field sales automation), it does face some challenges:

  • Almost 90% of its revenue relevant to this analysis comes from France. In order to grow and be a global player, Klee Commerce will need to market itself better and demonstrate what it has to offer.

  • It has no plans for optimization, which is a hot topic in TPM and has growing interest in retail (RAO) from route optimization down to the actual activity level.

  • It does not support handhelds for in-store auditing but currently favors laptops/tablets instead. Support for iPhones and Android-based smartphones is slated for October 2011.

We find the Klee Commerce product to be unique in several ways and Promising. However, because of its high concentration in France, we advise Caution for CG companies with broader geographic presence until Klee Commerce can show a more global track record. 2011 will be a pivotal year as it opens offices in the U.K. A track record of executing in additional markets will lead to Klee Commerce improving its rating.

Evaluate Klee Commerce when: You are primarily a French-centric company but may be expanding to neighboring countries, desire embedded shelf management and simulation, and are not in hot pursuit of optimization.

Rating: Caution


MEI is taking leadership in the SaaS-specific TPM market for Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies by executing consistently with client acquisition and retention, client service, and technology improvements. The management team now owns approximately 65% of the company as the result of a recent buyout. We believe this signals continued growth and focus exclusively on the TPM space. By our count, MEI did more new-client TPM deals in 2010 than its next closest three rivals combined. We attribute this to its growing reputation, ongoing client service, and use of existing clients as spokespeople/references. A next-generation product due out in late 2011, plus expansion into food service and retail auditing, will provide ongoing opportunities. Other highlights include:

  • Full offline capabilities through Web services across offline and online modes

  • Boomi integration for mapping and connectivity to various ERP systems

  • Continued evolution to cloud technology to optimize performance while reducing cost

  • Product pricing structure that is based on "only pay for what you use"

  • Continually improving time to value with implementation times going from 80+ days in 2008 through 2009 to fewer than 60 days in 2010

  • Improved user adoption and experience through use of wizards, video tutorials and contextual help capabilities

A challenge for MEI will be that there are a diminishing number of partnering opportunities to pursue TPO due to consolidation and existing partnerships. This is also an opportunity, because most of its competitors are not as well-positioned to pursue TPO, and Tier 2 CG companies have demonstrated an increased interest in TPO. We do believe that MEI could have an integrated TPO solution by early 2012.

Evaluate MEI when: You seek a hosted TPM solution with no customization requirements, prefer a spreadsheet-like front end, have no international requirements, value strong customer service, and seek a complete solution that offers fast time to value.

Rating: Positive


Also featured for the first time in this MarketScope, M-Factor has expanded beyond market mix optimization and into TPO. This makes sense, given that M-Factor had traditionally focused on processes such as allocating funds between trade spending and consumer promotions, price optimization, and optimizing trade spending in aggregate. The expansion in footprint now offers users optimization across brands, ad vehicles, promotion types and retailers. Moreover, the fact that M-Factor has begun to provide tools in the hands of field sales users (as opposed to home office marketers and "power users") makes it of considerably greater interest to the marketplace. M-Factor is compelling for its:

  • SaaS-based delivery of a powerful analytical solution

  • Analytical "guardrails approach" across media/trade, channels and classes of trade that ensures an ideal plan at multiple levels

  • Functionality that extends to multiple user profiles for the roles that support the field force, including some that are not covered by other solutions

  • Models and expertise that extends from the ultra-fast-moving DSD beverages to store-section-specific and slower-moving categories like personal care

  • Flexible, subscription-based offering based on 12-, 24-, or 36-month options (Notwithstanding the ability to cancel the service, it has not experienced any client defections.)

We're seeing M-Factor in more RFPs, but at the same time, there are challenges:

  • More competition from the ERP vendors, syndicated data providers, consulting firms, TPM vendors that are moving into TPO and pure-play TPO vendors.

  • No offline solution for field uses due to a reliance on Internet connectivity, but an emerging capability to push reports to mobile devices.

  • A trend toward user organizations seeking integrated TPM/TPO solutions as they become available.

  • Being able to expand global support and expertise to meet the needs of global clients as a relatively small company. We estimate company revenue to be $10 million and head count to be 40 to 50 people.

Evaluate M-Factor when: You seek a tool that can optimize both marketing and trade spending (purchased together or separately), are willing to integrate it with your existing TPM solution, want the flexibility of SaaS delivery, and seek the power of the analytics now but can wait for more robust capabilities for field sales users.

Rating: Promising


There are three developments that we find particularly interesting at Oracle. It continues to have: (1) success with TPO; (2) more traction with the retail execution on handhelds in developing countries; and (3) the ability to retain as well as win users that have SAP in the back office. We attribute this to good customer management and support efforts, and the combination of on-premises and SaaS options. We believe that this points to continued positive growth and the ability to fend off both best-of-breed and other ERP vendors. Also noteworthy are:

  • A new CRM desktop uses Siebel as a back end and Outlook as the front end for users who prefer a more consistent approach.

  • Web Gadgets allow users to configure their own desktop graphics, visual effects or views of the world through iGoogle.

  • More partnering activity in mobile CRM should translate into closing some gaps in retail execution. For the first time, we are seeing third parties building capabilities on the Oracle platform that will be commercialized, as opposed to remaining a custom solution. We believe this will accelerate Oracle innovation and increase relevance over time.

  • Oracle remains the only truly end-to-end solution, from ERP to analysis, promotion, optimization, demand signal management and retail execution.

  • More market expertise and functionality for the likes of Asia and Europe are better able to keep SAP and best-of-breed at bay.

  • Continued development of TPO and inclusion of more macro scenarios with links to marketing functionality in order to expand the user base.

  • Integration of demand signal management into other core field sales automation functions to better monitor promotions and track product movement.

We just don't see any vendor matching the breadth and depth of functionality of Oracle. Its TPM and TPO are best in class, and retail execution is not too far off. Even though demand signal management is not in the scope of this analysis, it is a positive enabler of selling processes and having a solution option in this area (as opposed to purchasing data from somebody else) provides for some speed and data integration advantages.

Challenges at Oracle going forward are twofold:

  • Improving handheld capabilities to move beyond developing countries and once again become relevant in the more-demanding European and U.S. markets.

  • Making Oracle's Demantra and Siebel CRM solutions more seamless. We find it confusing just exactly which application does what, and that there are essentially two applications, each with a different look and feel, that are passing data back and forth. Prospective users need to evaluate and understand this. It works by passing data back and forth but is not a single application.

Evaluate Oracle when: You want best in class or near to that in both TPM/TPO and retail execution, plus the benefit of integrated demand signal management; you need to execute globally with a combination of on-premises and SaaS wherever each makes sense; and finally, when you want a suite of field sales solutions from a single vendor that the users will like as opposed to what the IT organization is sponsoring despite the users.

Rating: Strong Positive


Promax is new to the MarketScope this year after meeting the revenue requirements. Promax comes from Australia, where it has been able to leverage its deep knowledge of this market to attract a number of marquee clients. By our count, 19 of its Australian clients are global CG companies that use offerings from major competitors in other markets, such as Europe or North America, but choose Promax for the Australian region. Because of its ability to attract and maintain (the company claims no client defections — ever) these clients, Promax has begun to work its Australian client list back into major markets and is seeing success in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. What Promax offers is TPM and TPO on an on-premises basis that eschews customization. This put it on more and more shortlists in the past year, with an expectation of doubling in size in 2011.

Promax is compelling in its:

  • Fully integrated TPM and TPO with an engaging interface.

  • Rapid deployments due to the very limited customization. Clients we know have deployed in three to six months.

  • Relatively low TCO compared with the competition — because of not only the licenses, but also the rapid deployments.

  • Strong simulation capabilities that include proxying of a new product based on the performance of an established one, unlimited sandboxes for creating scenarios and comparing them by line item, and workflow to get a chosen scenario approved. The predictive capabilities aren't a separate tab but are woven into the actual promotion planning.

  • Ability to drive a monthly forecast out of the promotional plan as well as other supply-chain-oriented features.

  • Expansion into SaaS delivery in order to provide user organizations with both options.

Promax also has a solid road map that will facilitate more global expansion (more languages, double-byte character sets) and strengthen modeling and simulation capabilities by adding more constraints.

The challenge for Promax will be staying relevant as it expands globally where third-party integrators drive so many deals based on where they can profit greatly from doing customization, or where they have their own TPO assets. We believe Promax represents a good "starter" solution for TPO. However, as the predictive expertise of user organizations expands, they will want to be able to "tune" the underlying models. Thus, we will be interested to see how user organizations can and do actually tune the models. We don't see substantial challenges for this vendor at present, but it will continue to be in the spotlight for the near future as a cost-effective alternative to more-complex, more-expensive or only loosely coupled TPM/TPO solutions.

For its capabilities and its ability to deliver solutions in Australia, we rate Promax as Positive. For the rest of the world, we rate it as Promising, but see it as potentially improving its rating in the near future by executing more successful projects in Europe and North America. Moreover, we would like to see successful client outcomes for TPO before we upgrade the rating.

Evaluate Promax when: You want TPM/TPO from a single solution, do not require customization, prefer an intuitive-but-not-elegant user interface that feels like Excel, are a global or regional company, and have budget constraints that require a lower-cost solution that can be deployed quickly.

Rating: Promising


Quofore remains a leader and perennial shortlist player in the global retail execution space, with merchandising, DSD and van sales capabilities. Quofore solutions can be found in 35 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North America and Latin America. It also has clients in a wide array of sizes.

Quofore has the deepest functionality for DSD of any vendor we've seen. This means capabilities like vehicle inspections and service reports, branching logic and prompting, DEX capabilities (used to pull order data directly from an individual store), and having photos taken while at a store location automatically append to that store visit. It is a highly flexible solution. Configuration consists of checking a series of boxes to have the changes pushed out to the users on the next sync session or else remain part of the individual user's unique configuration. We also believe that Quofore is the most advanced in pursuit of RAO, with referenceable clients utilizing daily POS data and a rule engine to drive the specific retail activities that will have the greatest impact.

Other highlights of Quofore include its:

  • Extensive partnering network with global players as well as local and regional players. We don't know of another vendor of this type and size that has so many service delivery partners.

  • Unique functionality to use in-store sales and demonstration agents as part of the extended selling cycle.

  • Movement to cloud computing.

  • Expertise and installed base with manufacturers that sell through mass merchant and home center channels.

  • Support for multiple devices based on role and geography, including ruggedized handhelds with Windows Mobile, Java-based mobile phones (for example, Nokia) for emerging markets, and tablets/laptops where sales reps do fact-based selling or presentations. Web browsers are also supported for connected, office-based users. All these solutions connect to a single back-end solution and can be mixed and matched based on client needs. Quofore is also developing iOS- (Apple) and Android-based solutions for delivery later in 2011.

  • Rapid implementations often in the 60- to 90-day range.

  • Visionary work in RAO with clients currently using these capabilities on multiple continents. This offering uses the most-recent POS data to route salespeople to the locations where the biggest returns on their time can be achieved, and tasks them with the associated activities. This is the most-evolved RAO solution that we know of.

Some of the larger clients have told us they have had difficulty with configurability and enabling diverse geographies and business processes from a single instance. Instead, they needed to deploy multiple servers. They have also been required to do more customization because the various countries were one-off instances and didn't have configurability. This has now been mitigated by two factors: the vast majority of current deployments being SaaS, and Quofore taking specific measures by enhancing multiple organization capabilities to correct these issues in 1Q11. The clients with issues have since continued rolling out.

Evaluate Quofore when: You place a priority on functionality and analytics on a handheld, with the possibility to deploy globally across DSD, merchandising and order entry, and are looking to be an early adopter of RAO as a competitive advantage. Also, evaluate Quofore if you prefer a SaaS offering but with the possibility of on-premises.

Rating: Strong Positive

RW3 Technologies

RW3 continues to be focused solely on merchandising in North America. It is narrow in geographic and functional focus but deep in expertise. RW3 is compelling for the following reasons:

  • The depth of functionality for merchandising and the accompanying analytical services allow field sales personnel to be guided in their efforts, while still having information to help them be flexible in addressing circumstances as they arise.

  • It has its own demand signal management capabilities — not a toolkit, but an actual service that reduces latency and ensures it is seamless with the field sales tools, and provides analytical support for dealing with industry issues such as out-of-stocks.

  • It has the vision for using demand signal data for RAO, whereby the merchandising force is routed to the locations where it can have the greatest impact based on the previous day's POS data. We believe this type of capability will take the industry to a new level, but few vendors have the expertise in POS data/optimization to make it a reality.

  • It enables a deep range of merchandising profiles that include:

    • Validating contract compliance

    • Business-to-business (B2B) selling to distributors and wholesalers

    • Van selling, including the reconciliation of cash received and product sold

    • UPC scanner integration to speed input and reduce navigation

    • GPS integration to help representatives understand where they are and where they are going

    • Initiating check payments to retailers

    • Inventory management

    • Asset management (like racks and display modules)

    • "Work with" functionality for managers to evaluate sales representative proficiency

    • In-store shelf assembly, including parts and time-sheet management

Because its depth of expertise, RW3 is best in class in merchandising across all in-store activity types for grocery retailers, convenience stores, newsstands, mass merchants, kiosks and airport retailers.

RW3 continues to have high client retention because, in the U.S. market, its clients simply cannot find any greater depth of expertise. We believe that leveraging current software development technology, such as Microsoft's Model-View-Controller architecture, coupled with jQuery and Ajax, will only enhance usability and customer experience, thus ensuring continued relevance for RW3. The same can be said for supporting emerging handheld platforms such as the iPhone/iPad, Android and BlackBerry.

RW3 leverages Microsoft technology and is rare in its competitive set in that it has established technical relationships with partners in Chennai, India, and Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in order to reduce cost without sacrificing expertise.

The challenge for RW3 is that it is an island of expertise in a sea of user organizations that want to rationalize and globalize their solutions. Its clients must justify having a unique solution for merchandising in the U.S. market. It helps that, in many cases, it may be their largest market, but the pressures remain.

We continue to rate RW3 as Positive, given the depth of its expertise, the uniqueness of its offerings for merchandising and its vision for RAO. Once it has RAO deployed, it will be a candidate for a Strong Positive rating.

Evaluate RW3 when: You are looking for best-in-class merchandising functionality supported by analytical services, and you believe that retail activities can be optimized — just as trade promotions have been — and favor a hosted solution. If you just want inexpensive and simple functions on a handheld or need DSD and merchandising functionality from a single vendor, then look elsewhere.

Rating: Positive


The big news at SAP includes the enhancements to the interface, the potential for the Sybase acquisition to make its mobile solutions more relevant, and the progress being made toward TPO with an unveiling in 2011. Other highlights for the TPM offering are:

  • New embedded search capabilities

  • The ability to do live accruals

  • A wizard/guided approach to setting up a promotion

  • Some excellent visualization and simulation based on watching the "opportunity curve" and moving sliders

  • The enhanced ability to personalize a view or dashboard

SAP has a strategic vision that is consistent with what IT organizations want — providing an end-to-end solution from demand creation to demand fulfillment, but it still can't compete with best of breed when it comes to advanced analytics (optimization) or usability, so there is a lot of push and pull between IT and the user organizations going on. Many SAP-centric user organizations still use best of breed for the functional requirements featured in this MarketScope. SAP has made some progress, but it is largely "use SAP in every possible circumstance" organizations that are purchasing the solutions, and it is nearly always due to the benefits/promises of integration. We see ongoing challenges for SAP to include:

  • A user interface that has been upgraded but remains boxy and monochrome, reminiscent of best-of-breed offerings circa 2003. Despite the chevron approach, a high number of screens are required for activities such as setting up a promotion. A key SAP executive working on the TPM user interface was able to make some improvements but has now moved off to work on mobility. Thus, we believe that SAP TPM will remain seven years behind best of breed in the area of user interface.

  • A very late start in the optimization space. At this writing, a demo is still not available, despite a release of optimization being scheduled for May 2011. In several cases, a best-of-breed solution like DemandTec has been added to SAP to improve the user experience and provide the lacking optimization. We don't see SAP being able to win this business back quickly but do think it will be considerably more interesting once it has optimization due to the integration. The problem is it is four years behind.

  • Reliance on user organizations and consultants to provide customization in order to obtain the required functionality. Such projects take years.

  • The Sybase acquisition. We don't believe the Sybase acquisition will deliver best of breed in mobility. It takes years of iterations to develop this level of expertise. Major competitors in this space are on at least their fifth iteration, and we don't believe that SAP can close the gap on that much experience in such a short time.

  • No plans that we are aware of for SaaS delivery options.

One recent client reference check we conducted is illustrative of the typical SAP experience: After a year of working toward a TPM solution with SAP, a leading consulting firm found itself very frustrated, with a list of requirements and a larger list of product inadequacies. However, because the firm is committed to doing everything possible in SAP, it is pressing forward. Other users we have interviewed largely speak of SAP as a technology that they are comfortable with but that is relatively immature, both in knowledge of local/regional requirements and in functionality.

Many of the relative successes we see on SAP field sales automation are where users take the solution and existing functionality right out of the box and do not seek customization. We believe this is a solid approach that allows SAP die-hards to avoid surprises during customization and deployment. We highly recommend this approach.

Given the functionality disparity between SAP and best of breed, the weakness of the user interface, the slow ramp-up on optimization, and the weakness in retail execution offerings, we continue to rate SAP as Promising. We see SAP having the potential to become formidable in the promotions area, if it can really nail the interface, functionality and predictive power of TPO with the upcoming debut release. An early look into this solution that features navigation and graphics from BusinessObjects is very promising.

Evaluate SAP when: You prefer an on-premises solution that may require heavy customization in order to meet your needs, and your objective of having an end-to-end process from one vendor is more important than usability, predictive capabilities, or good expertise on handheld devices — moreover, if your path to TPO is still a way off.

Rating: Promising

Spring Wireless

Spring Wireless offers global retail execution and DSD capabilities for leading CG companies. It is one of the larger point solution companies featured in this analysis, at just over $100 million in total company revenue. The company is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but it has offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia. It reports a total head count of about 550, with 22% of those working in R&D.

Basically, Spring is a wireless platform that has moved into industry applications. By "platform," we mean that it could enable a number of mobile capabilities, from wrapping itself around an existing CRM solution and making it mobile, to field service, retail execution, phone marketing and beyond. Spring seeks to handle all the mobile wireless dimensions for an enterprise. Since mobility is important in the marketplace, this has allowed Spring to achieve growth between 20% and 30% in each of the past two years. The solution is cloud-based SaaS.

Spring is compelling in that it can:

  • Provide a global footprint and proven ability to execute on multiple continents in both developed and developing countries.

  • Configure across all of its applications with a single configuration layer and manage all deployments with a single back end.

  • Handle pricing and item master issues on the local device. This includes a mobile pricing engine for use in offline mode.

  • Aggregate wholesaler/distributor data for consolidation and analysis. Also, provide a salesperson with access to commissions in real time.

  • Match any best of breed on the analytics front, including 50 or more standard reports, built-in online analytical processing (OLAP) and the ability to push data to Excel.

  • Deliver against its road map because of its 140 or more development resources and good vision for enabling more RAO capabilities.

The majority of instances are already on SaaS but can also be obtained as on-premises. Hence, Spring is already in step with the market and able to go both ways. It also has a very strong user interface at a relatively low price, which makes it relevant around the world.

Spring doesn't face any substantial challenges. It is perceived as a bit of a newcomer in North America, but it is earning a positive reputation while deepening its expertise in the local business processes. We see it becoming formidable over the next few years.

Evaluate Spring Wireless when: You are looking for mobility across multiple business functions, seek a partner with global reach, and are moving toward retail activity optimization.

Rating: Positive


In 2010, StayinFront saw increased success on multiple fronts and continents with its Consumer Goods 12.1 solution. With offices in the U.S., New Zealand, the U.K., Australia, Singapore and Ireland, it can now leverage a more global presence with "follow the sun" support that passes tickets from office to office, as required, to support a client issue around the clock. Highlights on the product side include:

  • More depth in DSD functionality and recent wins as evidence of the market responding to the offering — not only field capabilities but also home office/back-end aspects to support DSD

  • More key performance indicators (KPIs) based on best practices in managing business activities

  • Document integration so that a person or even a team calling on an account can share documents

  • User interface upgrades that include trend line and speedometer-type graphics

  • More Outlook integration to be able to calendar and/or communicate within the CRM system or within Outlook

  • Enhancements to the CG Mobile (handheld platform), such as larger user buttons, ergonomics around navigation, configuration with no reliance on developers, and more analytic units with both static and dynamic reports being pushed to the handheld unit

StayinFront is compelling because it is maturing applications as a result of more geographic expansion and the influence of working with one of the large sales agency organizations in the U.S. market. The result is greater depth in DSD, merchandising and van sales. Also, the expansions of partnerships in Europe and Asia that were made last year have helped to win more global deals where local partners are required to do implementations. We find that StayinFront has one of the best interfaces in the marketplace. It is based on Microsoft technology and has proved to be scalable, with good performance with sales forces in the thousands.

The challenge for StayinFront is that it will need to stay nimble on the various devices that support the field user by sensing and responding to demand before users are asking for something that isn't yet supported. It will also need to keep focusing on DSD, because with so few companies using that selling model, it will take time to get onto the shortlist when upgrade opportunities come up.

StayinFront is best of breed in merchandising and is rapidly becoming so in DSD. It can execute well in developing countries, particularly in Asia.

Evaluate StayinFront when: You favor a flexible solution from a global player that has been enabling mobile sales processes for more than a decade in both developed and developing countries, has a close relationship with a leading U.S. sales agency, and continues to put a lot of effort into enhancing usability for mobility.

Rating: Positive

Synectics Group

The big news at Synectics continues to be the work it is doing with TPO for Tier 2 and 3 companies. Based on discussions with user organizations, there is indeed an appetite for TPO. They may not go there immediately, but once they are comfortable with TPM, they are putting TPO on the road map. Synectics now has clients deploying TPO, which it calls "TPO Planner." It is a fully integrated product with the optimization being provided through a partnership with River Logic and IRI supplying the promotional lift tables. The River Logic optimization capability only pops up briefly as a window during the actual optimization calculation. Otherwise, it is fully integrated, and we find it quite easy to use compared with other solutions we have reviewed. Synectics Group is compelling for its:

  • Ability to promote items in groups or have business rules that keep certain items from being promoted together

  • Handling of mutually exclusive strategies, such as every day low price (EDLP) and high/low

  • Slider formats used in specifying parameters for the optimization process

  • Retailer and manufacturer prices that can be specified as fixed and optimization can be done around them

  • Integration into the River Logic product suite for more supply chain integration to avoid issues like attempting to run a promotion that would generate demand more than fulfillment capacity

  • TPO Planner, which can work on top of another TPM platform

Future developments include an Express Planner solution due out in May with a more Excel look and feel and a reduced number of screens. Also, more functionality is planned for TPO Planner, such as the ability to specify maximum/minimum filters.

One challenge for Synectics is that it has secured some customers that are part of more global entities. These may very well press Synectics to provide more global support, but it has not demonstrated an ability to support global enterprises. Another challenge is that, while the combined offering of Synectics/River Logic/IRI is very powerful and extraordinarily easy to use, the uptake by Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies will be slow, which will likely test the partnership.

Synectics gives users hosted TPM without a lot of frills, as well as deep expertise and support from the company. Synectics is limited to North America and only offers TPM. Because Synectics has a proven solution, including TPO, industry expertise and a high degree of client retention, we rate it as Positive.

Evaluate Synectics Group when: You are a U.S.-based Tier 2 or Tier 3 CG company with no global aspirations and no DSD or retail execution requirements, you place a great emphasis on a vendor with expertise and seek a long-term relationship, and you seek TPM and optimization competencies through a vendor partnership as opposed to a purely software solution.

Rating: Positive


Xtel continues to differentiate itself because of its expertise in the southern European market. Other vendors have simply not been willing to invest the time to understand the requirements of a more contract-based market. Also interesting is Xtel's increased penetration into durable goods such as housewares/home improvement, as opposed to just consumable products. We believe this will further entrench Xtel in its core markets.

Users give Xtel very high marks, not only for market understanding but also for the product side. They also point to a very robust and reliable technology, as well as excellent support personnel driving their high satisfaction with Xtel. We continue to watch Xtel closely after extending its reach to Spain and France. We have also seen some recent Pan-European deployments because of this greater reach and having obtained development capabilities in Romania.

Xtel is compelling for its:

  • Advanced work in the area of RAO. The Xtel mobile offering now can use POS data to drive retail activities based on constraints such as desired frequency of store visit, sales sell-through at the outlet level, compliance or any specific KPI and prioritization of activities to be executed. We believe that this makes Xtel the only vendor we know of with both promotion and activity optimization capabilities.

  • The suite, which covers sales performance management, customer planning, trade promotion management, pricing management, volume planning, retail execution and monitoring, settlement, and quota/incentive management.

  • Excellent simulation and graphics that use a color-coded tachometer metaphor for measuring everything from lift to customer profitability. This tachometer metaphor is the most innovative we've seen. The customer profitability calculations are done on the fly and include a full waterfall profit-and-loss capability.

  • Predictive capabilities in the form of regression analysis to simulate outcomes. New for 2010 is the ability to perform predictive scenarios across the entire suite, including quotas, incentives, promotions and retail activities.

  • Role-based views that include brand manager, sales manager and salesperson. This is highly visionary and should increase the relevance of Xtel on the global stage.

  • Having both TPM and retail functionality in its Sales Master One suite, which continues to be a point of differentiation because of the ability to push activities out to the field sales force and derive a single view of the customer. Also, the look and feel is consistent and features a highly engaging user interface based on Microsoft architectural and analytical components, including individual interface options at the user level.

  • New capabilities, such as georeferencing to track locations on a map using Bing, route optimization and more planogramming options. Additionally, the use of Silverlight allows for handling synchronous and asynchronous processes without compromising performance.

The challenge for Xtel continues to be expansion. It is extremely proficient in Italy and neighboring countries — so much so that leading brands that use the likes of SAP and Oracle elsewhere continue to prevail on their global owners to let them use Xtel in these markets. However, Xtel will need more Pan-European deployments to fuel its growth.

Evaluate Xtel when: You need a solution that truly fits the southern European market but is rapidly going Pan-European, has excellent usability and analytics, has harnessed the power of predictive modeling, and is actually fun to use. Also, given its solution footprint and relevant experience of key executives, Xtel would be a good fit for Latin America, and we recommend that multinationals consider it for all classes of trade that extend there.

Rating: Positive

© 2011 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in such information. This publication consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner’s Board of Directors may include senior managers of these firms or funds. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. For further information on the independence and integrity of Gartner research, see “Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity” on its website,

Vendors Added or Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor appearing in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. This may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or a change of focus by a vendor.

Gartner MarketScope Defined

Gartner's MarketScope provides specific guidance for users who are deploying, or have deployed, products or services. A Gartner MarketScope rating does not imply that the vendor meets all, few or none of the evaluation criteria. The Gartner MarketScope evaluation is based on a weighted evaluation of a vendor's products in comparison with the evaluation criteria. Consider Gartner's criteria as they apply to your specific requirements. Contact Gartner to discuss how this evaluation may affect your specific needs.

In the below table, the various ratings are defined:

MarketScope Rating Framework

Strong Positive
Is viewed as a provider of strategic products, services or solutions:

  • Customers: Continue with planned investments.

  • Potential customers: Consider this vendor a strong choice for strategic investments.

Demonstrates strength in specific areas, but execution in one or more areas may still be developing or inconsistent with other areas of performance:

  • Customers: Continue planned investments.

  • Potential customers: Consider this vendor a viable choice for strategic or tactical investments, while planning for known limitations.

Shows potential in specific areas; however, execution is inconsistent:

  • Customers: Consider the short- and long-term impact of possible changes in status.

  • Potential customers: Plan for and be aware of issues and opportunities related to the evolution and maturity of this vendor.

Faces challenges in one or more areas:

  • Customers: Understand challenges in relevant areas, and develop contingency plans based on risk tolerance and possible business impact.

  • Potential customers: Account for the vendor's challenges as part of due diligence.

Strong Negative
Has difficulty responding to problems in multiple areas:

  • Customers: Execute risk mitigation plans and contingency options.

  • Potential customers: Consider this vendor only for tactical investment with short-term, rapid payback.