Due to a highly volatile marketplace, Gartner (news, site) specifically advises that you avoid comparing vendor placement in prior years, but it's still exciting to see who made the cut in the Enterprise CMS Magic Quadrant this time around.

Leaders include Oracle, IBM, Open Text and Microsoft, while players like Autonomy, Xerox and Hyland Software sit in the other three brackets. Observe:

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Gartner ECM Magic Quadrant

The Market

If you're a regular around these parts then you probably know that Enterprise Content Management has somehow flourished during these tough economic times. According to the analysts at Gartner, this strange success story can be attributed to three drivers:

  • We're up to our necks in choices and with each release it seems the content is becoming more complex. Volume and complexity are stimulants for concern and investment.
  • Heavy competition means ever-changing price points. According to Gartner, pressure from open-source, "stack" or suite vendors has driven the price per seat in proposals down to discount level, resulting in higher demand.
  • Often no single person controls the budget for all of an organization's ECM components and solutions, so point purchases remain common. These are often for independent projects whose business sponsors have a single return on investment (ROI) target.

It also helps that a reported 80% of enterprise content is unstructured, and the need to manage the risks associated with that mountain of information requires a lot of focus. Accordingly, each vendor in Gartner's quadrant was evaluated for their ability to execute and their completeness of vision. Heavily weighted criteria included overall viability, customer experience, product/service and offering strategy.

Happy to make it big time, Oracle's VP of Product Management, Andy MacMillan, spoke words that could probably be appropriately applied to the solutions from the other leaders: "We believe Gartner's recognition of Oracle as a Leader in Enterprise Content Management is a reflection of our continued commitment to simplify content management for all users and to integrate content management with business processes that drive organizational success."

The Future is Now

Like we said, the market is a highly volatile place right now. There's been an increasing number of spikes in realizations around suite functionality, process control, records management, etc. And because of these fast-paced changes and turnovers, Gartner insists that now is the time for organizations to re-evaluate their content architecture--especially those that haven't done so in the last 5 years.

Solutions from vendors such as Oracle and Microsoft are beginning to look and act a lot like end-to-end problem solvers, though each still has its drawbacks. In fact, Gartner advises against going with a vendor simply because it's in the Leader section, as "all selections should be buyer-specific, and vendors from the Challengers, Niche Players or Visionaries quadrants may be better matches for your business goals and solution requirements."

Use the quadrant for insight to how the ECM market is currently reacting to the changing tides, and vendors' current product offerings and overall strategies.

Head over to the full review here for more detailed information, including the pros and cons of each vendor according to Gartner.