Provider Evaluation Method
In this section we present our assessment of the top Service Providers for:
Applications and Digital services
Infrastructure & Cloud services (Datacenter, Cloud transformation, Digital Workplace and Service Desk)
What are their strengths and weaknesses? What is the scale of their business both globally and in Belgium? What is the market’s level of satisfaction with their services?
Once again, we interviewed more than 70 top Belgian companies and government organizations and assessed 170+ contracts. We have been speaking to CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, Application Leads, Infrastructure Leads and Vendor Management. This is usually done through a 1 hour discussion over a video call.
In parallel, we interviewed service providers leadership (geography leads and domain leads) to understand their capabilities, differentiators, credentials and focus areas when it comes to Belgium.
We map the service providers on two ‘Squares’:
Applications and Digital services
Infrastructure and Cloud services
While we do not have a Square for Security services this year, we have nonetheless profiled the market and present our view of the strongest service providers in the Security domain in Belgium.
In order to be represented on one of our Squares, a service provider needs a minimum of 5 contracts for that Square. Each provider is measured on two axes: client satisfaction and scale/capability.
Client Satisfaction, represented on the X-Axis is measured on a scale of 1-5, where:
1 – Extremely dissatisfied
2 – Dissatisfied
3 – Satisfied
4 – Very satisfied
5 – Exceptional / exceeds expectations
Scale and Capability, represented on the Y-Axis, is S-Square’s assessment of the service provider. We have detailed discussions with the service providers on their capabilities and we assess them based on the following aspects (starting with the most important):
Scale of business and delivery capability in Belgium
Completeness and maturity of the service offerings, and client base in Belgium
Breadth of presence across different sectors (e.g. financial services, government) and market segments (large, mid-tier, small)
Global service offerings, delivery capabilities and scale of business
Applications & Digital Square
This year, we have expanded our Applications & Digital Square to include 3 additional service providers: Cronos, IBM and Wipro. Consequently, we have 13 service providers represented in this Square. The services considered within this Square cover application management and development, systems integration and digital transformation.
This year, we have a new entrant in the Leaders category. Capgemini joins Accenture and TCS who retain their positions. Leaders are selected on basis of their market presence and size (particularly in Belgium), breadth and maturity of services, number of customers where they are the primary applications partner, strength in all sub-components of this square (namely applications management and development, systems integration and digital transformation) and wide presence across the different sectors. All three Leaders have deep skills in different technology domains – both locally and in their global delivery networks.
Accenture continues to stand out for its consulting mindset, business understanding and solution deployments capability (e.g. SAP, Saleforce). It has a good applications management capability and very strong local workforce. Clients praise it for its transformation mindset and ability to bring global best practice.
Capgemini also offers a complete portfolio of services across consulting (Capgemini Invent), systems integration and applications management services. With 1700 people in Belgium – they have one of the largest local workforces. They have continued to impress us throughout the year with strong client praise for their delivery, client focus and cultural fit.
TCS stands out on its overall applications management capabilities and market share in this area. They have been the most successful company when it comes to winning large competitive applications management. Clients praise their ‘customer first’ mindset and delivery track record. They have improved their overall satisfaction score to be #1 on satisfaction for Applications & Digital services.
The next category of the Challengers have almost similar capabilities in terms of managed services, technology skills and the portfolio of services. All of them also have a large global delivery network and some marquee clients in Belgium with long standing relationships. However, they are not at the same level as the Leaders - in terms of overall scale of business and presence across industry sectors.
We have 2 companies in this category: Cognizant and Infosys.
Cognizant is very present in financial services, telecommunications and life-sciences with a growing presence in manufacturing with some recent wins. Compared to their Indian peers, they have a more balanced local workforce – both in delivery and account management. They also have a more consulting like approach. This year, Cognizant has suffered more than other providers from high attrition rates (>30%) and we have seen some churn at all levels since the joining of their new CEO.
Infosys has been present since long in Belgium and have some huge clients within Manufacturing and Telco. They have very strong application management skills and also experience in systems integration. They tend to have deep strategic relationships with several clients where they are often present for more than 10 years. While historically strong, we see less of them in recent competitive wins. Also their vertical structure seems to afford less attention to Belgium.
As there were questions on this category last year, we clarify that the Niche category is not a negative category. Niche players have also mature service offerings and can have very high client satisfaction scores. They may well be the best choice depending upon your situation and requirement. Players in this category are placed here due to their focus on a niche service area (e.g. only digital transformation), or a niche industry segment (e.g. financial services or mid tier companies only). This is a matter of choice and strategy and by no means to be considered negative. The only category to be avoided on our square is the Low Performers category.
We have 8 companies in this category: Atos, Cegeka, Cronos, Deloitte, Delaware, DXC, IBM & Wipro.
Atos For application and digital services, Atos is restricted mainly to the European institutions and public sector where they have very good satisfaction scores. They have good nearshore and offshore capabilities and their Poland center comes in for particular praise. The last year had been a very good year for Atos Belgium with some big wins at the Flemish community and Agfa.
Cegeka is focused on custom development (.Net and Java) and Microsoft Dynamics. They are active on mid-market clients, primarily within public-social and healthcare. They do not have offshore capabilities but focus on proximity and strong cultural fit.
Cronos is one of the new additions to this square. Cronos focusses on mid-tier clients through a collection of small companies, each of which focusses on a small niche. Their strategy is to focus on emerging technologies. They have extremely good client satisfaction scores. The most commonly encountered company during our interviews was their SAP company Flexso.
Deloitte scores lower on Scale and Capability primarily because they do not offer application management services. However, they are very strong on systems in (particularly SAP and Salesforce) and digital transformation. Clients admire their consulting mindset and professional approach, cultural fit and very strong alignment with the business.
Delaware has a very strong niche position for SAP and Microsoft services at the mid-market clients. Their strength is systems integration, deployment and cloud migrations. They have a strong team on digital workplace and collaboration. They are praised by clients for their technical knowhow, flexibility and client centricity.
DXC is traditionally known for their infrastructure business – however, 60% of their Belgian revenues come from applications. DXC has a strong focus on applications development and systems integration. They have a lot of good credentials around digital transformation, particularly within the Public sector. They have high client satisfaction scores and are particularly strong in the public sector.
IBM is the second new entrant to this square. While they have strong capabilities across several areas (applications management and development, systems integration, consulting), and a large team in Belgium, they have sub-par client satisfaction scores. Following the split with Kyndryl, IBM still retains the GBS services and consulting practice .
Wipro is the third new entrant to this square. Their score represents a combination of scores for Wipro and 4C (the acquisition made by Wipro focused on Salesforce). As of the moment, Wipro has a small presence in Belgium which does not do justice to their global scale and capability. But their renewed global and local leadership has identified Belgium as a growth market and you can expect to see more of them in the future.
Any provider who has an average satisfaction score of <2.6 is placed within the category of Low Performers. Fortunately, we do not have any application service providers in this category for this year.
Infrastructure & Cloud Square
This year, we have 9 companies represented in our Infrastructure and Cloud Services Square. The companies making their debut on this square are Accenture / Avanade and Stefanini. Last year, the Infrastructure & Cloud services square was not a happy square with 3 of the 6 profiled companies being in low performers. Happily, all of them have improved on their satisfaction scores – though overall level of satisfaction still remains lower than the Applications & Digital square.
Infrastructure services cover cloud transformation, datacenter, workplace and service desk. We continue to exclude network management services from our assessment.
We have a new leader! Kyndryl replaces HCL as a leader and joins Atos in this category. Both of these companies have very strong capabilities in cloud transformation, datacenter management, digital workplace and service desk. They have the strongest scale of business locally and a presence across different industry segments.
Kyndryl: We indicated last year that purely based on scale and capability, IBM would have been a leader. This year Kyndryl made a big improvement on satisfaction scores to trigger this change. They have a strong scale of business in Belgium (double that of nearest competitor) with a strong hybrid cloud offering and global capability. Independence from IBM gives them more flexibility to work with market leading solutions in each segment (e.g. choice of public cloud).
Atos has a complete portfolio of services across datacenter, cloud transformation (public cloud, Atos One cloud), workplace and service desk. They are the only company present across the entire spectrum – they have a strong presence across all industries, government and all sectors and European institutions, and they are present at clients from mid market to large enterprises. While globally Atos continues to be under pressure, they have done well in Belgium with some big wins last year at the Vlaams Overheid and Agfa.
This year, we have a crowded list of Challengers with the list expanding to 5 companies. These are HCL, Fujitsu, DXC, Cegeka and Capgemini. All of these companies have a broad and mature service offerings backed by strong tooling and industrialization. What separates the Leaders from the Challengers in this year’s square is primarily the market share in Belgium.
HCL stands out in the Challengers with the highest satisfaction rating (consistent with their performance last year). It has the most future looking and mature service offering. They have an aggressive approach to the cloud and a strong digital workplace offering. This year they have announced a big deal with Proximus to jointly target the mid market clients. While their presence in Belgium is limited, their few clients are the top names in their industries.
Fujitsu is the 2nd largest infrastructure services company globally and are also big in Belgium – primarily in the European institutions and public sector, but also in the industry. While they are less industrialized compared to their competition, they are more flexible and adapt well to the small and mid-tier clients which is their focus. They have a strong global Blockchain CoE in Belgium that was recently recognized by Forbes.
DXC has a complete service offering and strong capabilities both locally and offshore. They have made a strong improvement in their satisfaction ratings and now sit strongly in the Challengers category. DXC focuses on building modern applications on a secure cloud platform rather than their traditional datacenter business. While the company has been shrinking globally for 7 quarters now, their revenues are gradually stabilizing.
Cegeka is focused on the mid-market segment. They are very strong within public-social, healthcare and within the mid-tier banking and insurance companies. They have strong competencies and a good nearshore capability. Clients praise them for their good delivery capabilities and strong cultural fit.
Cap Gemini is one of the few players active on both applications and infrastructure services. They have also improved their client satisfaction scores since last year and now sit in the Challengers category. They have a broad presence across the industry and public institutions and good cloud credentials.
As there were questions on this category last year, we clarify that the Niche category is not a negative category. Niche players have also mature service offerings and can have very high client satisfaction scores. They may well be the best choice depending upon your situation and requirement. Players in this category are placed here due to their focus on a niche service area (e.g. workplace or service desk), or a niche industry segment (e.g. financial services or mid tier companies only). This is a matter of choice and strategy and by no means to be considered negative. The only category to be avoided on our square is the Low Performers category.
We have 2 companies in this category: Accenture (Avanade) and Stefanini.
Accenture (Avanade) marks its debut on the Cloud services / Infrastructure square as a niche player, on the back of several engagements from Avanade (its JV with Microsoft). Avanade has strong capabilities in cloud transformation to Azure and a managed services offering for Microsoft. Client satisfaction rates are very high. Avanade tends to focus on the small to mid-tier clients which are not a focus for Accenture.
Stefanini marks its debut as a niche player in the Cloud services / Infrastructure square. While their service offerings cover all the core Infrastructure / cloud services, their core strength is Digital Workplace and Service Desk for which they have the highest satisfaction scores in this square. Clients appreciate their customer focus, service delivery. flexibility and ease of doing business. They are a particularly good fit for small-mid tier clients.
Any provider with an average client satisfaction score of <2.6 is placed within the category of Low Performers. Thankfully, we had no more low performers in our square this year as all three service providers in this segment last year had improved satisfaction.
While this year, we do not have a Square for Security services, we profile below some of the most important players. The security space is vast and different providers are strong in different areas. We believe the Cybersecurity space is organized into the following three categories:
Advisory: Advisory covers strategy, architecture and definition of the perimeter. Key players: Accenture, PWC and Deloitte
Implementation: Implementation covers the deployment of the different solutions.
Managed Security Services (MSS): MSS covers a wide area of operations (e.g. running the SOC, managed detection and response, disaster recovery and resiliency). Key players: Capgemini, Atos, Kyndryl, Proximus
All of these companies have extensive Security capabilities with strong teams, comprehensive offerings and strong credentials.
In addition, we see niche providers like Nviso and Excellium at the mid sized clients.
Below we present a brief profile of the key competencies of the top security providers in Belgium.
Capgemini has over 4500 cybersecurity experts around the world of which 1500 in Europe and a strong presence in BeLux. They have 14-15 SOCs around the globe and through their SOC in Luxembourg they service ~15 clients within the BeNeLux. They have a comprehensive Security services portfolio across advisory-implementation- managed security services (MSS), but are particularly strong in MSS where they serve several financial and manufacturing customers.
Atos has over 6000 security professionals, with a strong team in BeLux and 16 SOCs around the world. Through targeted acquisitions of Evidian (I&AM) and Paladion (MDR), they have acquired key capabilities in this domain. They are often touted as the CyberSecurity leader in Europe. Atos strengthened its Cyber-security business in BeLux through its 2020 acquisition of Security specialists Digital.Security which brought it 250 people across France and BeLux.
Kyndryl also has a comprehensive Security services offering across Advisory-Implementation-MSS. They have a well defined stack of Security services and freedom from IBM now allows them to work with the best in class software providers in the different areas. They are also particularly strong in MSS with a number of customer in financial services and the industry. Their main SOC however remains in Poland for which they are dependent on IBM – a possible weakness which they should eliminate in the future.
While Accenture also has a complete Cyber security portfolio including MSS, they are particularly strong on the Advisory and Implementation services. With 12 SOCs around the world and different cyber labs, they offer a strong business driven approach to Security.
With 350 people in its cyber-security division, Proximus is a key player on the Belgian market. They offer diverse solutions across securing your network and end point devices, to operating your SOC and resilience/ reliability services.
As a final comment, as many of the data breaches in the recent times have surfaced on account of lapses traced back to service provider, we strongly recommend building in the notion and fundamentals of security into all your service provider contracts.