The latest WCM Wave from Forrester has hit the market and the key focus is on integration. It's time for a vendor deep dive.

Forrester's report, "The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management For Digital Customer Experience, Q2 2013," was written by Stephen Powers and David Aponovich, both long-term followers of the web content management market. 

We've seen key aspects of the web content management market change over the years, especially with less focus on "web content" and more on "customer experience." Now, Forrester refines the discussion a little bit further to talk about "digital customer experiences" and hence another new industry acronym may have been born (DX). We don't want to dwell in terminology though, instead getting on to the meat of the report findings.

The vendors were evaluated on three levels:

  1. Current offering, based on the following criteria: 1) content management; 2) websites and layout; 3) globalization and localization; 4) content targeting; 5) multichannel; 6) social and community controls; 7) publishing and deployment; and 8) measurement.
  2. Strategy and the path to execute on that strategy
  3. Market presence

Let's take a look at what each Wave vendor has brought to the table.

Forrester's Wave for WCM: The Vendors

The WCM Wave Leader: Adobe

Adobe tops Forrester's Wave and it's been at the top of both the Wave and Gartner's Magic Quadrant for a few years now. Adobe ranks #1 for both its current offering, which is a pretty solid list of digital marketing elements, and for Strategy. I'm not sure how many people actually still equate Adobe with the Flash Player, the PDF viewer and the Creative Suite, but many organizations see there's so much more than that to Adobe (and we've watched that evolution over the last few years).

Adobe acquired Day Software for CQ5 web content management, Omniture for testing and analytics and a few other companies for complementary solutions. Forrester notes the lack of e-Commerce functionality, but Adobe's been pretty clear about its tight relationship with e-Commerce provider hybris. We also know that Adobe's marketing automation capabilities including integration with Eloqua (which we mentioned when we looked at Adobe's Marketing Cloud).  

The WCM Wave Strong Performers: SDL, Sitecore, Autonomy

What is SDL's primary differentiation? It excels in localization and globalization. That you can't deny. But SDL's pretty strong in a few other areas as well, including it's targeting and personalization with SmartTarget, it's social media marketing with the Alterian acquisition and it's new mobile delivery capabilities with the Bemoko acquisition. SDL ranked third for strategy, and #2 for current offering in Forrester's Wave, showing that the WCM vendor is working hard to pull together all the components of a digital experience platform.

SDL recently introduced the latest version of its WCM product: Tridion 2013, which has a strong focus on delivering the right content to the right people. A redesigned workflow engine, the bundling of processes and a new connector framework were highlights of this latest release (note that the Wave was based on the last version of SDL).

Forrester does note that SDL lacks the momentum that a number of other vendors on the list have. I expect that's a matter of working much harder to get its name out there in the CXM market, and a little bit related to a traditional view of SDL as a translation and structured content technology vendor.

Sitecore also makes the strong performers list, and interestingly, it's the only vendor on the list that sells itself as a complete "suite." Sitecore offers all the necessary goods for CXM including web content management, marketing automation, analytics and e-Commerce. This is good, according to Forrester, and hits the mark for companies who don't want to worry about integration, and look for a consistent user experience on the backend. But it also means that Sitecore may not be as advanced in some areas as other vendors who have integrated offerings that came via specialist acquisitions. 

Sitecore defends the suite vs. best of breed approach, calling it instead a "best of need," and that's where Sitecore hits the mark.

Also in the strong performers category we find HP Autonomy, who to be honest, we don't hear a lot about when it comes to customer experience. The products are there, including WCM via Interwoven, rich media management, search and the well-known IDOL engine, but the last time we talked about Autonomy from this perspective was late 2012. There were a number of new enhancements to its customer experience strategy discussed, but lately it feels like Autonomy is lost under all the fraud accusations.

Next we come to Oracle, who has been on a big push lately to sell its CXM strategy. But to be honest, I've had a hard time understanding how it's web content management platform fits with its digital marketing push (which included the acquisition of Eloqua). According to this report, Oracle has some big plans to integrate its WebCenter offering with other CXM components including e-Commerce, CRM and predictive analytics, but I think the jury is out on where it's all really going to go. Also interesting to note that Oracle didn't participate in this research, so you have to wonder if that's telling you something.

The final vendor to make the strong performers list is OpenText. Last year OpenText was talking customer experience, this year although that's still a part of its offering, it has shifted its marketing focus back to the IT folks (back to its roots), understanding that the CIO continues to have a key role in technology decisions today (despite the call to the CMO to step up). OpenText is very focused on the value of information and it does have a number of products/solutions that address the needs of the marketing buyer. It is true though that we haven't seen much in the way of updates on its WCM offering, or how it integrates with other CXM components.

And overall, Forrester says it's not impressed with the new "information management" messaging. But here's an interesting thought -- maybe OpenText has chosen not to play the acronym game, choosing instead to focus on what its customers are talking about and how to best handle content, no matter what its purpose. Is that a smart play? It's certainly differentiating OpenText from the rest of the CXM market. 

There's one final group we need to cover, the contenders: IBM, Microsoft, Ektron and Acquia. We'll cover these tomorrow in our final look at Forrester's Wave for Web Content Management. Stay tuned.