Real Story Group (RSG), an independent analyst firm, just released an update to its Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology vendor map.

Given the scope of this technology space, it is hardly surprising that this one contains as many vendors are there are stations in the New York City subway. The research also identified what RSG defines as the trending — and fading — technologies.

This Old Train Keeps Moving

According to RSG founder Tony Byrne, some of the long term trends that have been noted over the years persist.

Most notable among these: The fact that while the bigger vendors occupy the main positions in the space, the smaller players — those that provide peripheral technologies that cater to specific enterprise needs — still provide significant offerings that should be explored, even if it means traveling a bit.

In keeping with the subway analogy, Byrne notes that while the main stations are big, exciting and full of action, the ones at the end of the lines are often cheaper, easier to live with and a better fit for the tasks at hand.

Byrne also noted that, as always, the number of "stations" a given vendor passes through does not necessarily indicate quality or weigh in the market place, but merely provides a visual representation of what vendors say they have to sell.

The map this year’s contains seven lines, including:

  • Web Content and Experience Management
  • Digital and Media Asset Management
  • Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software
  • Marketing Automation and Social Technology
  • Enterprise Mobile Technology
  • Portals and Content Integration
  • ECM and Cloud File Sharing

Needless to say all the big vendors are sitting there at the Times Square of the Digital Workplace and Marketing Technology space. But only Oracle has all seven lines passing through it. IBM has six, all but Digital and Media Asset Management.

Microsoft, Adobe and Salesforce are all there at major junctions, along with EMC, Google and SAP all offering major junctions. They're formidable players, but not as big as those sitting at the center.

2014-11-13  RSG Digital Workplace map.jpg

 Digital Workplace and Marketing Vendor technology map 2015. (High resolution map available here)

Byrne warned that this only represents what vendors say they offer and not their effectiveness. So it is probably best if you map your own way to whatever goal your enterprise has in mind.

Coming and Going

To find out more about this year’s map we asked Byrne to explain the research in more detail.

Emerging Trends

One of the most striking trends is the rise of media and asset management solutions as a core enterprise need, along with the growth of new vendor entrants that are filling the vacuum left by “older” players who have been slow to innovate.

It seems that the problems posed by bloated platforms and the solutions offered by agile vendors pervades the entire technology space.

Byrne also expects some consolidation in the marketing automation and social technology marketplace, adding that this would be underscored by the rise of significant new players.

Receding trends

Byrne points to the demise of open source as a differentiator as more and more mixed models emerge.

Keep in mind here, before anyone starts penning angry posts to us, that this does not mean he is suggesting that open source will disappear, but rather that it will become more widespread and “normal” than it has been previously.

Another interesting point is that despite the often frantic action in the cloud file sharing market place, it too is receding in importance to such a degree that, he says, that they removed it as a separate line from the map and combined it with the enterprise content management map.

Other notable trends include the fragmentation of the WCM (web content management) and enterprise social collaboration marketplaces.

Byrne said Microsoft has achieved greater clarity recently and has increased its focus on digital workplace environments rather than on the needs of digital marketers. Sure, he said, the mobile experience management and WCM lines still go through the Microsoft station, but the company is putting comparatively little energy into those technologies.