I’ve just returned from some meetings in Germany, and can report a real surprise. Two software analyst boutiques [Schwetz Consulting and Naujoks & Collegen] have started the 2005/2006 round of a certification scheme with Hewson Group, the UK-based CRM analyst firm..
The scheme allows vendors to show independent validation of their software solutions.
Having been a CRM and business software analyst myself [at Ovum] I find it a surprising development, and one that really keys into the German business culture.
Frankfurt-based Ralf Korb is the Hewson research director for Germany. He is a nationally respected figure in the country’s CRM community. His colleague Frank Naujoks is the Cologne end of the project, and also has the perfect background for this work. He worked in META Group Germany’s “IT Product Vendors” consulting practice until a couple of years ago. At META, Frank focused on supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM).
Their certification scheme reflects Germany’s information-intensive and cautious buyer culture. However, our guess is that any CRM vendor with the exisiting commercial success needed to employ Hewson in this way will, self-evidently, have a strong product already.
This is an interesting example of the way that firms with local roots can exploit national niches that firms like Gartner ignore. For organisations like IDC and Forrester, that want to build up their own vendor consulting business, winning over people like Naujoks or buying firms like his company could be an interesting way to absorb that expertise.