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Top 10 Salesforce Cloud Consulting, Implementation and Deployment Partners

At first glance, Salesforce is the poster child for self-service cloud applications. But take a closer look and you'll notice hundreds of Salesforce consulting partners that help customers to implement, configure and optimize the CRM platform and sister clouds.

Note: An updated list for 2019 is posted here.

Which Salesforce implementation partners are the best of the bunch? A Q3 2017 Forrester Wave report attempted to answer that question. Forrester's 35-criteria evaluation narrowed the market down to 10 -- actually, make that 11 -- implementation partners. Then, the research firm grouped those consulting and deployment teams into four categories:

  • Leaders: Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM lead the pack.
  • Strong Performers: PwC, Wipro, Salesforce itself, Cognizant and TCS offer competitive options.
  • Contenders: Capgemini and NTT Data.
  • Challengers: Tech Mahindra.

Each of those companies generate at least $50 million annually from Salesforce-related implementation and project work, according to Forrester. Moreover, each of those companies has at least 50 customers with revenues of over $1 billion. Finally, each of the consulting firms has at least 500 professionals focused on Salesforce, Forrester adds.

A Closer Look: Salesforce Consulting Leaders

Among the key findings from Forrester:

  • Accenture stands out with scale, breadth, depth, and focus on transformation. With approximately 8,000 practitioners working primarily on Salesforce projects and thousands more working partly on them, Accenture is the largest provider of Salesforce services globally, the researcher said.
  • Deloitte is one of the largest and most global salesforce partners, with more than 4,400 Salesforce practitioners across more than 30 countries, Forrester asserted.
  • IBM had been a late entrant to the Salesforce market and a smaller, still-emerging partner until it acquired one of the largest and longest-standing specialists, Bluewolf, in early 2016, Forrester notes.

Salesforce Consulting: Strong Performers

Here, Forrester notes:

  • PwC combines world-class consulting with Salesforce technology skills. Long regarded as a preeminent strategy consultant and a top choice for business transformation, PwC has quickly evolved into a partner that can combine business, experience, and technology into meaningful business solutions for clients, Forrester says.
  • Wipro significantly boosted its Salesforce capabilities with the October 2016 acquisition of Appirio (item 17 here). Wipro now has more than 1,000 practitioners dedicated to Salesforce work and tens of thousands of resources it can tap into in areas such as business consulting, analytics, IoT, and integration, Forrester asserts.
  • Salesforce has its own services arm, which offers capabilities unmatched by any of its ecosystem partners, but is not as good a choice as the ecosystem partners for broader business consulting, the researcher says.
  • Cognizant can handle complex Salesforce work, especially in healthcare and finance. With more than 3,000 Salesforce-skilled practitioners, the company's expertise spans Salesforce Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and App Cloud, Forrester says.
  • TCS has Salesforce know-how in newer areas like the Internet of Things. The company is a longstanding partner with technology skills across all major Salesforce clouds except for Commerce Cloud. It has more than 1,500 practitioners working mostly or fully on salesforce projects, Forrester notes.

Salesforce Consulting: Contenders

Here, Forrester points to:

  • Capgemini, which has deeper expertise in Europe and the financial services sector. The company has more than 3,000 Salesforce practitioners, hired and trained organically and added through M&A, Forrester notes.
  • NTT DATA is a global partner with extensive experience in small to midsize deals. Still, the company is one of the smaller salesforce providers to qualify for this year’s evaluation, with approximately 1,000 practitioners working mostly on Salesforce projects worldwide, Forrester says.

Salesforce Consulting: Challengers

  • Tech Mahindra has a Salesforce practice of more than 1,200 pros mostly focused on complex, multiyear technical work related to Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and App Cloud.

That's the list. But of course, there are scores of additional Salesforce partners that are marching forward in growth mode -- and quite a few looking to get acquired.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.