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Cognizant doubles down on Salesforce marketing cloud and CX with Lev acquisition
Executives embarking on a Salesforce or CX services engagement need to keep abreast of Cognizant’s acquisitions to understand its growing strength of services and delivery capabilities. Cognizant completed a hat-trick of Salesforce-related acquisitions in Q1 of 2020 by adding US-based digital marketing consultancy Lev to its arsenal in March. In February 2020, Cognizant acquired Salesforce Platinum Code Zero, a cloud-based configure-price-quote (CPQ) and billing solutions services specialist. In the same month, the services giant also announced its intention to acquire France-based EI-Technologies, which is also a Salesforce Platinum partner. With this latest addition, Cognizant is doubling down on Marketing Cloud and the potential for synergy with its other CX assets.
Cognizant is becoming a recognized leader in the Salesforce services market
This recent flurry of activity is not new; Cognizant has been on a Salesforce services acquisition spree for a few years. These include Advanced Technology Group (ATG) in 2018, a specialist in Salesforce CPQ and billing, and SaaSFocus, which is a Salesforce Platinum partner in Australia and India. Add to this acquisitions that strengthen Cognizant’s digital services capabilities such as Zone in 2017, Netcentric in 2017, and Softvision in 2018, and Cognizant’s Salesforce services skills start to resemble a solid end-to-end portfolio of Salesforce services offerings and an increasing credibility in the CX market in general.
All of this investment is leading to some significant results. The firm has achieved a third place rank in our recently released HFS Salesforce Services Top 10 report, suggesting that Cognizant is making all the right moves to be a leader in this competitive market.
Cognizant is developing a broader CX value proposition
The addition of Lev also appeals to customer experience (CX) broadly, particularly as it relates to the CMO buyer in an increasingly virtual world. While many of the large IT and consulting shops have been busy buying up exclusively digital marketing agencies, Lev also brings deep Salesforce Marketing Cloud skills and the potential to leverage Cognizant’s other marketing and CX assets. In the recent Salesforce Services Top 10 report, the aggregate responses of the 11 service providers analyzed placed Salesforce Marketing Cloud firmly as the top certification the providers were planning to achieve in the next 12 months. This also aligns with the providers’ aggregate thoughts that Salesforce Marketing and Commerce Cloud would be a top-three fastest-growing Salesforce solution in the next 12 months. Cognizant’s acquisition of Lev therefore gives it a helpful leg-up in a growth market. It also helps Cognizant to more credibly target multi-cloud deployment opportunities.
Many companies that claim to be CX transformers are actually just Salesforce implementers. While this is an important capability, it is hardly a holistic approach. In order to profoundly impact CX, companies must look at capabilities across the value chain, from smart customer engagement design to CX design, digital marketing, and sales solutions (where Cognizant placed number three in last year’s Top Ten.) Cognizant has approached CX and interactive services with a strategy that includes human science and data science at the core of its approach; other differentiated acquisitions have bolstered this positioning, such as the ethnographic research at IdeaCouture, which supplies applicable insights to the customer journeys Cognizant designs for customers. The acquisitions Zone and Netcentric complement Cognizant’s digital marketing capability, particularly in content strategy and creation. And the company’s ability to design, engineer, and deliver digital products and experiences was extended by the acquisition of Softvision.
Now with the addition of Lev, Cognizant can lend its broader ecosystem to multi-cloud and marketing cloud deals. The big bet will be on Lev’s ability to run and optimize Marketing Cloud while leveraging Cognizant’s digital marketing capabilities and plugging it into IdeaCouture and other assets.
The Bottom Line: Cognizant clients can now look to Cognizant for much broader CX expertise, but must ensure the firm is connecting the dots across its varied assets to get the most value.
CX professionals and marketers are now figuring out how to interact and engage with customers in a virtual world; having the right CX partner is of utmost importance. Savvy marketers with deep pockets are looking at how they can get ahead of customer expectations once a new normal sets in. Cognizant’s biggest challenge and opportunity will remain balancing, integrating, and growing its acquisitions by using its unique skill sets to benefit client relationships across the CX value chain.