In our 23-criteria evaluation of digital experience service providers, we identified the 14 most significant ones — Accenture, Deloitte, Digitas, EPAM, Epsilon, IBM, Isobar, MRM//McCann, PwC, SapientRazorfish, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), VML, Wipro, and Wunderman — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report shows how each provider measures up and helps application development and delivery professionals make the right choice.

Key Takeaways

  • Firms seek help from digital experience service providers.
    Ninety-two percent of application development and delivery professionals use digital experience service providers to help design and build their customer-facing applications. These vendors can all handle many tasks, from customer experience strategy through to design, implementation, and operations for web, marketing, commerce, and digital products and services. The best vendors excel in co-innovation and partnering.
  • Experience Design, Content, And Platform Expertise Are Key Differentiators
    The 14 largest digital experience service providers all bring strong capabilities to aid your program. But they vary on their stakeholder focus, skills portfolio, industry focus, and software platform support. Examine their skills and your needs carefully to find the best match of talent, culture, and expertise.
  • Accenture, SapientRazorfish, and Deloitte lead the pack.
    Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which Accenture, SapientRazorfish, and Deloitte lead the pack. IBM, Isobar, PwC, VML, Digitas, Wunderman, and TCS offer competitive options. MRM//McCann, EPAM, Epsilon, and Wipro lag behind.

The Existential Need For Digital Experience Service Providers

But any of these vendors could be the best fit for you. In fact, of the 64 digital experience service providers we track, any number of them might be the best for you. The accelerating pace of customers’ rising expectations puts pressure on every company to build better — and even better — web, mobile, and conversational interfaces: digital experiences. These experiences go beyond the screen to be relevant in every channel. They must be supported by the right operating model. No company can do this alone.

So it’s no surprise that 92% of digital experience decision makers choose to work with service providers that help them design, build, and manage digital experiences. That demand has led hundreds of digital agencies and consultancies with roots in marketing, technology, and business services to invest in digital experience services. We define these digital experience service providers as partners that can:

Help companies design, build, and manage digital customer experiences in the context of their digital business transformation.

The best digital experience service providers:

  • Bring a brand to life through the experiences it delivers. Because the skin of a company’s digital presence is as thin as a pane of Gorilla Glass, the experience that customers have when they touch a screen or keyboard is a direct reflection of their experience with the brand. The best digital experience service providers understand the direct link between the brand promise and the digital experience. They blend creative and technology skills to accomplish this goal on every touchpoint.
  • Reframe a request for digital experiences into digital business transformation. Companies don’t just need a new website or mobile app, even if that’s what they are asking for. They always need something bigger — a deeper understanding of customers’ needs, an operating model overhaul to shift customers to online channels, or a wholesale transformation of their business model. The best digital experience service providers probe the surface of a request to find the underlying challenges — and stakeholders — so they can help companies formulate the right strategy and build a complete road map.
  • Fulfill both the creative and technology needs of a digital experience program. This is the hardest task for companies becoming digital: bringing the brand to life through digital experiences. It requires high creative intelligence and a high technology acumen. The best digital experience service providers build delivery and client management teams with strategy, design, content, data, technology, and operations skills blended and mixed to a client’s particular needs.
  • Become strategic advisers and co-innovation partners that extend your team. In our interviews with 42 customer references, we heard the most delighted and thumbs-up satisfaction coming from customers who felt like their service provider was so completely blended into their team that they couldn’t tell where their team ended and the service provider began. They wanted great execution partners, but also providers that could help them think differently — often with best practices from other industries — and create something new and differentiating: adviser and co-innovator.