Gartner didn't add or drop too many names from the 2013 MQ for Web Content Management, especially at the top. Adobe, SDL, Sitecore, Oracle, HP and OpenText all stayed in the Leaders quadrant, with IBM and Microsoft sitting in the Challengers' spot.
Lonely at the Top
For two years in a row, the Leaders quadrant has been nearly identical, and the only difference this year is Ektron dropped back into the visionary quadrant. That's exactly where it sat in 2011 before becoming a leader last year. For the rest of the Leaders, it's a repeat of 2012. As we noted in our market overview of this report, WCM systems are being asked to do more and more, to the point where there is becoming significant overlap with other categories.
Specifically, customers are seeking greater WCM and horizontal portal integrations, thus enabling more robust collaboration within businesses. As vendors attempt to offer one unified platform that can do these things and more, Gartner foresees a future where this user experience platform becomes the next evolution in online channel optimization.
Leading WCM systems from Adobe, SDL, Sitecore, Oracle, HP and OpenText are the ones that drive market transformation, Gartner reports. They have strong channel partners, perform consistently finance wise and offer integration with other business applications, among other things. Here's what Gartner had to say about the Leaders' strengths and cautions.
Adobe has the most complete mobile strategy of the WCM vendors, Gartner found, and its design background comes through via how user friendly customers rate its Experience Manager. Adobe CQ, part of the Experience Manager, has an architecture that allows for serving content from one place across a variety of mobile delivery technologies. This includes device detection, mobile sites, mobile Web apps and hybrid mobile apps.
As Adobe acknowledged with the Neolane buy, its digital marketing suite is not quite refined enough for some customers, the report cautioned. The other big issue with Adobe is that it doesn't always play so nice with SharePoint deployments. It has an Experience Manager SharePoint connector, but Gartner cautions that kind of setup should be thoroughly researched with others that have attempted similar integrations.
Additionally, as Adobe is very focused on digital marketing, other segments may be going a bit undeserved. Customers are looking for more functionality in customer service, B2B and business to employee scenarios.
SDL has been more focused on ecommerce and marketing lately, and its work optimizing online experiences has raised the market's expectations, Gartner found. The company's acquisition strategy also won praise, particularly for the recent buy of bemoko for its mobile strategy.
At the same time, SDL is a late comer to mobile, and it will continue to lag behind other vendors in this area until bemoko is integrated. Furthermore, SDL has not done a good enough job of selling itself, the report found. SDL is often getting excluded from customer short lists because some find it too expensive compared to other .NET systems or lacking in features compared to some Java based systems.
This doubly hurts SDL because it could be using its .NET prowess to play up its compatibility with SharePoint, the report found. In fact, SDL had been a leader in this regard in working alongside SharePoint deployments for Internet presence in 2009. SDL rarely makes it customer short lists in this context either.
Sitecore has also been focusing more on marketing, Gartner noted, and its strategic services were found to be timely and effective. It's even started to focus more on the Japanese market, a route that could give it a leg up when it comes to places like China. Sitecore's multilingual and device simulation abilities were also cited as strengths, but its price may give some potential customers pause.
Gartner analysts found Sitecore to be perhaps even a bit too focused on marketing, to the point where it may even be hurting its customer service abilities. Likewise, Sitecore often is associated with SharePoint deployments, and this could hurt it in the long run as SharePoint becomes less of a consideration.
OpenText is a company that embraces complexity, and as such, there are two WCM systems that could be considered. There's Web Experience Management that is part of the Customer Experience Management suite, and then there's Web Site Management, a separate system. WEM stands out for its personalization and targeting ability, and its recent interface update including HTML5 and in line editing.Gartner also liked its partnership strategy with SAP, Microsoft and Oracle.
Cautions here were OpenText seems to have lost some momentum to more effectively marketed large WCM systems, and to more modern looking smaller systems. Additionally, having two WCM systems is apparently confusing to customers, and there doesn't seem to be a simple way to nudge customers using WSM to the more enterprise ready WEM. Gartner also found OpenText's higher level focus on information management to be a bit out of alignment with WEM.
Gartner calls HP's combination of offerings in the WCM market very compelling, and gives praise to its strong partner system. HP's TeamSite/LiveSite is worth a look for those looking to devise a digital strategy, the report found, and HP customers that are using old versions of them should consider upgrading.
HP has unfortunately not advanced its WCM progress in the last year, Gartner reported, and part of that is there doesn't appear to be any reinforcement on this front from company leaders. Also, while HP has made inroads to many IT departments, it is having more trouble connecting with marketers.
Oracle WebCenter Sites' strength lies in its long and solid track record, and Gartner found it to be technically and architecturally sound and high performing. With recent acquisitions of Eloqua and Endeca, Oracle also has the tools it needs to meet customers' demands on integrations with ecommerce, portals, marketing automation and content analytics systems.
In part because of Oracle's many acquisitions, however, some companies are finding themselves having to migrate to a new system right in the middle of an ongoing project. Oracle has a product called Web Center Content that it positions more as an enterprise content management system, but some customers had been using it as their WCM.
Oracle has been recommending those customers move to WebCenter Sites instead, and those that don't may see their WebCenter Content deployments get less WCM support over time.
Oracle, like HP, doesn't seem to be able to generate much excitement about its WCM offerings outsite of its own customer base, Gartner found, and it's a sign the company has seen a marked decline in market presence in the last year.
Microsoft + IBM Challenging
Challengers were the smallest segment in this quadrant, with Microsoft and IBM being the sole entrants. Gartner liked IBM's ability to appeal to a wide swath of customer types because of its Customer Experience Suite that combines Web Content Manager with related products. Specifically, customers needing products in the ecommerce, mobility, search, forms, analytics and social areas all can be served with Web Content Manager as part of a comprehensive approach.
As a mega vendor, as Gartner put it, IBM can cater to a variety of needs, and in keeping with one of the themes of this MQ, IBM does a good job with connecting Web Content Manager to its WebSphere Portal. This offers lots of flexibility for customers, and can help serve needs for things like rule based personalization and a proper framework for integrating other apps.
Cautions for IBM were that customers often complained about complexity, and there may be compatibility issues around using other portal vendors in conjunction with Web Content Manager. Also, because IBM is so big, it often sells its WCM tools as part of a larger package, and it rarely winning on WCM alone.
Finally, we have Microsoft in the Leaders quadrant. A fitting end to this section considering Gatner's emphasis on horizontal portal and WCM interoperability. With SharePoint, Microsoft has a near death grip on the portal market, but that certainly not the case with its WCM offerings. Microsoft offers SharePoint Online for midsize organizations that need very basic site publishing needs, and the Enterprise Client Access License of the premises based SharePoint 2013 for WCM.
Microsoft's strengths were its enhanced mobile and tablet rendering along with improved use of Fast search technology and responsive Web design for the on premises release of SharePoint 2013. Overall, SharePoint is said to offer a good mix of content management, search, portal, collaboration, social, BI and other apps for a general purpose tool.
On the other hand, Microsoft is late to the game when it comes to personalization and content targeting, Gartner found. That means customers that are looking for those features are recommended to check out Microsoft references from those with similar use cases. Many companies are supplementing SharePoint with more capable WCM tools, the report noted, and SharePoint Online as a cloud environment is simply too basic for the enterprise.
We haven't forgotten about the Visionary and Niche Players quadrants, and so we'll cover them in a separate piece.
Image Credit: S.john / Shutterstock