Today, it is vital for companies to understand and connect to every moment of the digital customer journey. But for most organizations, there are so many delivery challenges that they can’t do it alone: 84% of companies we surveyed use agencies and/or system integrator partners to help deliver digital customer experiences.

Choosing the right services firm takes some match-making magic: the partnership can either end up as a happy marriage or end in bitter divorce. In order to help Forrester clients, we recently released our report, Market Overview: Digital Experience Services Providers 2015, in order to provide an overview of nearly 50 services vendors with significant digital experience delivery practices. These are all vendors that have experience helping firms strategize, design, implement, and optimize customer-facing web and mobile experiences. Over the course of this research we discovered:

Despite similar messaging, services vendors come from distinctive DNAs. Thousands of services providers have popped up, hoping to help firms solve these digital experience delivery challenges. But despite similar vendor promises that they can “solve it all” we found that firms come from a variety of different DNAs (e.g. technical services, global agencies, specialist agencies, consultancies) that reveal which types of initiatives they are best –fit to help solve. For example, technical services firms are often better suited for initiatives with heavy integration needs and large, complex global implementations.

Services partners aim to solve five key needs. Our research found that services firms from a variety of backgrounds aim to combine strategic, design, development, and platform implementation skills to solve five key business challenges. This includes: creating a digital customer experience strategy; designing the digital CX; modernizing software and applications to deliver experiences across digital touchpoints; creating mobile-ready experiences; and optimizing digital customer experiences.

Many firms continue to rely on specialist firms, not just large global players. Despite the emergence of more and more big name players in the digital experience services space, we found that many user companies still prefer to work with specialists. In fact, nearly 58% of users we surveyed said they worked with specialists, more than any other type of services firm. These partners aim to provide high-touch, high-value work in their specific expertise while simultaneously broadening their scope.

So you have the information – what do you do with it? Our report has detailed information on 46 key services firms, detailed frameworks to help you align your needs with services vendors’ DNAs, and more information around the state of the market. And we’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

Published with permission from Forrester blogs.

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