Last week we took a first look at Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals and saw that if there appears to be little movement in the placement of vendors in each Quadrant, there are substantial changes in the market. Today, we take a look outside the Leaders’ Quadrant to see who is making it, and in what way. 

Horizontal Portals

Just to recap, Gartner’s definition of a portal is as follows:

[A portal is] Web software infrastructure that provides interaction with relevant information assets knowledge assets, and human assets by select targeted audiences, delivered in a highly personalized manner.”

This in turn is broken down into Vertical and Horizontal portals, where Horizontal Portals are those that integrate and aggregate information from cross-enterprise applications and line-of-business tools.

While IBM, Liferay, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP still dominate the Leaders’ Quadrant, there are other notable vendors across the other Quadrants. They include:

  • Challengers: OpenText, Red Hat
  • Niche: DNN, Drupal, eXo, Temenos, United Planet
  • Visionaries: Adobe, Backbase, Covisant, Salesforce

To make it into the Quadrant in the first place, vendors must, among other things:

  • Provide support for different portal scenarios including customer facing, employee facing, and partner facing deployments.
  • Offer security administration including access administration.
  • Integrate with a wide range of data sources, applications, content and services.
  • Offer personalization and end-user customization.

Challengers Quadrant

You can see a full list of the criteria required in the full report. On top of that, to make it into the Challengers Quadrant, vendors must demonstrate significant ability to build and implement portals. They are distinguished from the Leaders’ by the lack the portal-specific vision that characterizes the Leaders.


OpenText’s Portal is marketed primarily as part of the Customer Experience Platform, which also includes WCM, social media and digital asset management. It also positions its portal as a core part of the development of its Enterprise Information Platform

  • Strengths: It is well equipped for large customer facing sites, with customers characterizing it as a total information and customer experience offering. They also score its scalability, and ease of administration higher than competitors.
  • Cautions: Customers also say it requires more building than many of its competitors and comes with less out-of-the-box capabilities. It also demonstrates little momentum relative to other providers.

Red Hat

JBoss Portal v6.0 was released in March of this year. With it, Red Hat underlined its lean approach to portal building. It also decided to retire its UXP offering, Site Publisher.

  • Strengths: It has established significant visibility and use across large organizations and has assembled an integrated portfolio of infrastructure offerings, like its OS platform, Red Hat Linux. It is flexible enough to support the mixing and matching of different frameworks.
  • Cautions: Enterprises that expect immediate business usability may find it difficult to get it up and running without specific in-house skills sets. It rarely appears in vendor selection shortlists, even if some enterprises are attracted to its low startup-costs.

Niche Quadrant

The Niche Quadrant is the most populated of all the quadrants here, reflecting a high level of specialization in the market. Niche players focus on a limited set of portal deployment scenarios and have limited reach outside their home markets.


Formerly known as DotNetNuke, DNN provides a framework of dynamic modules which exist within a hierarchy of containers that are placed on pages. There is also a security and permissions model that applies to different elements of the system. DNN is used with 750,000 websites globally.

  • Strengths: Has distinct abilities across the Microsoft technology stack. Those looking for a .NET alternative to SharePoint often go here. DNN can support and manage multiple sites on one instance.
  • Cautions: Has shown only limited integration capabilities with other enterprise systems. Faces tough competition from SharePoint at the high end of the portal market.


One of the most widely used open-source packages for publishing and managing websites, Drupal also supports portal scenarios through a hierarchical framework of components.

  • Strengths: Has been widely adopted in external facing scenarios across the public, media and entertainment verticals.
  • Cautions: It is rarely seen as a portal option for organizations and has been criticized for its complexity relative to simpler packages that are moving upmarket in functionality.


Positioned in the emerging UXP market, eXo Platform, now in v4.0, is a standards compliant Java-centric portal. eXo Cloud supports collaborative content management, workflows, and social computing.

  • Strengths: Built from the ground up, eXo Platform offers other functionally like WCM and document management without having to integrate with other systems. eXo is aggressively pursuing UXPaaS as a concept and, as such, is ahead of the competition here. Offers easy deployment on public or private clouds.
  • Cautions: While there is value in the out-of-the box deployments, it also needs complicated custom development. It is a small vendor with weak market presence and deals with business-to-employee scenarios, generally speaking.

Temenos Group-edge IPK

Temenos bought edge IPK in September 2012 and now has 3,700 employees across 57 international offices. It is characteristic of a lean portal offering with multichannel, multidevice, and multilingual possibilities.

  • Strengths: Brings a lot of experience and weight to the financial services domain and with the acquisition, customers stand to get better support, more resources and a clearer roadmap. Temenos now has edge IPK's user experience advancements and an installed base.
  • Cautions: Lacks visibility and traction in the broad, global, horizontal market and rarely appears on buyers’ shortlists. While Temenos may improve the offerings global presence, its financial service focus could impact customers outside of that vertical.

United Planet

Based in Germany, United Planet’s base is largely concentrated in Europe. However, it has a growing network that is reaching worldwide which focuses largely on the SMB space. Its principal product is Intrexx v6.0 which integrates easily with IBM, Microsoft and SAP.

  • Strengths: Its low-cost packages and minimal coding are big attractions, with customers reporting faster-to-market time than most. It also compares favorably with other portal offerings. Enterprises with lean IT departments are likely to be satisfied with it. It has a growing large enterprise base.
  • Cautions: While the out-of-the-box features may be easy to use, customizations are a lot harder. A small vendor with fewer than 100 employees, it may find expansion difficult. It has little visibility outside of its geographic range.

Visionaries Quadrant

Finally, there are the Visionaries. These are vendors that have a firm grasp of emerging customer needs and the potential impact of new technologies. In alphabetic order they are:


Housed in its Adobe Experience Manager offering, Adobe’s horizontal portal capability benefits from Adobe’s other technologies, making it a suite-orientated portal vendor. Adobe has clearly stated its intention to move into the UXP sapce.

  • Strengths: Its market foothold and UXP ambitions make it attractive to organizations looking for customer facing portals. Its technologies and services are open-architected, extensible and standards-based. Customers say its products are flexible, usable and easy to integrate.
  • Cautions: Despite is substantial capabilities it remains virtually unknown for the delivery of portal frameworks in the enterprise. Its focus on digital marketing makes it risky for use in non-digital marketing scenarios. Customers say there is a Sharpe learning curve with it.


Over the years Backbase has evolved into a lean portal platform based on a modern, Web-orientated architecture and widget based container model. While its initial foothold was Europe only, it has made considerable ground in North America over the past year.

  • Strengths: One of the most respected vendors in terms of time to implement, Backbase is an agile, innovative vendor delivering new capabilities at a rapid pace. It launched Launchpad earlier this year, offering portal implementations using prebuilt Web widgets, which 50% of its customers are using already. 
  • Cautions: It is a small vendor that is competing in a market dominated by several large vendors. As a lean vendor it is under pressure to expand its portfolio. Some customers report that its pace of innovation has left them without support for some products.


As a wholly owned subsidiary of Compuware, Covisiint has broadened its functional reach and industry appeal to become a pioneer in cloud-based horizontal services. It is moving towards an IPO, according to a recent filing with the SEC.

  • Strengths: Offers unique functionality for those looking for support for enterprise, B2B portal initiatives. Its experience and support for complex security and identify schemes, and data exchanges gives it advantages in its established manufacturing market. Demonstrates deep understand of its markets’ needs.
  • Cautions: Its focus on specific verticals, especially the car industry, has resulted in lower market awareness. Some of its customers report problems consisted with a vendor struggling to keep up with demand.

The poster child of SaaS, has expanded its scope into portals among other things. Its Communities offering is the centerpiece of its portal strategy. It can also act as a UXP for those working off

  • Strengths: A high profile in CRM, social and mobile computing, it offers, with Communities, faster time to market, easier implementation and better initial performance than many of its competitors. Customers cite its mobile functionality as a big benefit.
  • Cautions: Despite its high profile, the portal capabilities of continue to be well hidden from many buyers in the market. The result is that fully live, mature, productive implementations are relatively rare. Customers say it is missing some capabilities, like content management.

And that's the Gartner MQ for Horizontal Portals for this year. Watch out for developments here in the coming months.