Yesterday we saw in the Forrester Wave for Enterprise CMS Suites 2011 for Q4 that there is a shift in the enterprise CMS market away from the big, lumbering giants of a couple of years ago toward more content-centric apps designed to fulfill a specific business function. Today, we’ll take a look at how some of the major vendors are dealing with this challenge.

Before looking at them, though, let's take a quick look at the methodology Forrester used to pick the 12 vendors it assessed; that way no one can be accused of bias in relation to one product over another and preserve us all from heated discussions on the matter.

So how did Forrester arrive at the list of 12 vendors, and why this 12? There are, after all, as many vendors as there are grains of sand on a beach -- well, actually that’s an exaggeration because there isn’t, but there sure are a lot of them.

Forrester says it developed the list from an initial pool of vendors that was narrowed down based on:

  • Product fit
  • Customer success
  • Forrester client demand

Vendors that had limited customer references and products that didn’t fit the scope of the evaluation were eliminated. The evaluation criteria were then drawn up based on product qualification, lab evaluations, questionnaires and demos with client references.

Evaluations were sent to the vendors for their review and the evaluations were adjusted to provide a better view of the offerings.

Forrester, in devising these criteria, gave default weightings to reflect the needs of large user companies and/or other scenarios as outlined in the Forrester Wave report.

This is an important point and one that should be kept in mind looking at the companies as it means not all vendors were even considered, with a considerable number excluded.

Ultimately, like the Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, they only reflect a segment of the market; any company that is considering investing should consider all vendors in the market to provide the kind of products the enterprise is looking and not base it solely on the contents of these reports.

The Four Horsemen of Enterprise CMS

As an overview of the market then, Forrester titles with the interesting heading: The Four Horsemen lead while role players address specific content areas. We quote this verbatim to show that it is Forrester that came up with the apocalyptic reference, and not us.

In case you weren’t aware, the Four Horsemen in question are: EMC, IBM, OpenText and Oracle

If you wanted a proper analogy, though, devil worship might be better place to start. Placing your trust in large enterprise CMS suites to do everything your enterprise needs to get done is like holding a Black Mass; an interesting concept, but ultimately pointless -- what you’re waiting to appear for just ain’t gonna happen.

Opinions aside, this is the point of this "Wave" report: Businesses are slowly coming around to the realization that, to carry out business needs, they will probably have to turn to specific applications, rather than all-encompassing suites -- the point being that they really aren’t all encompassing at all.

Turning back to the apocalyptic horsemen, Forrester has identified a market where:

  • EMC, IBM, OpenText and Oracle continue to lead the pack across all enterprise CMS technologies, delivering comprehensive suites of technology that can provide wide spectrums of functionality.
  • Microsoft has extended the enterprise CMS use of SharePoint, enabling it to move into two of the technology areas that we identified yesterday: Foundational and business. The lack of support for the imaging and output management technologies leaves Microsoft as a Contender in the transactional area.
  • Hyland just keeps building out its functionality to address new technology areas such as team collaboration technology, or records management. It doesn’t have a lot of support for persuasive or global enterprise deployments, which is holding it back.
  • ASG, HP, Laserfiche, Perceptive and Xerox provide rich functionality with a narrow focus, offering capabilities aimed at specific technology areas.
  • Open-source Alfresco continues to develop as an alternative to proprietary players with its focus on foundational and business content providing organizations with a low-cost alternative

Forrester Wave ECM 2011 Q4 Overall
Forrester Wave ECM 2011 Q4 Overall

And here they are:

Alfresco

Positioned as a Strong Performer in the business segment and a contender in the overall and foundational segments based on the fact that Alfresco has a well-rounded enterprise CMS product focused on addressing the fundamentals. It targets organizations looking for lower costs and small footprint with a technology that integrates enterprise CMS with social software. It still lacks functionality for transactional and persuasive content.

ASG

ASG is positioned as a Contender in the overall, foundational and transactional segments and as a Risky Bet in the business segment. It has a competitive enterprise CMS offering that focuses on managing transactional content. It focuses on organizations with heavy transactional content needs.

EMC

As might be expected, EMC is a leader in all four enterprise CMS-type segments. A legacy player, it has a broad range of functionality for all types of enterprises. An innovator, it has developed the industry’s first VMware vFabric-enabled vCube cloud architecture for private, public and hybrid cloud environments.

HP

HP Trim offers a suite for document and records management. HP is ranked as a Strong Performer in the overall, foundational, business, and transactional areas. While it supports some transactional capabilities. it has to partner with other enterprise CMS vendors to provide high-volume transactional capabilities. HP Trim adds to its foundational capabilities with a strong, transparent SharePoint integration.

Hyland

Hyland is a consistent performer in all four segments as a result of its well-rounded functionality. Has had considerable success targeting specific verticals such as healthcare, public sector and financial services with integrated document imaging and archiving repository needs. It has strong out-of-the box integration capabilities, but a lack of web content management is holding it back.

IBM

IBM is a Leader in all four areas as a result of wide-ranging functionality in enterprise CMS. It also provides collaboration integration through LotusQuickr and Connections products, as well as through its SharePoint integrations. Its weak point is its lack of support for persuasive content management and reliance on third-party products for rich media management.

Laserfiche

Laserfiche is a Contender in all four segments with a particularly strong bent for transactional content management. It uses transactional content technologies to deliver packaged horizontal solutions to more than ten industry segments. Laserfiche’s weaknesses lie in the business and persuasive content technology areas.

Microsoft

With the release of SharePoint 2010, Microsoft's position has been changing and is likely to change over the coming years. It is a leader in business and foundational areas. Its rapid growth in popularity is attributable to its collaboration and content management support. Enterprise CMS functionality is delivered as an infrastructure component of the overall SharePoint functionality. It generally require third-party integration for transactional content.

OpenText

OpenText is a Leader across all segments. It is the largest pure-play vendor with aggressive acquisition strategies strengthening its enterprise CMS capabilities with a wide range of functions. Its challenges lie in its ability to rationalize the overlaps resulting from enterprise CMS acquisitions and integrate newly acquired technologies.

Oracle

Oracle is another Leader in all sections because of its wide range of capabilities. It has rebranded its enterprise CMS products as WebCenter, which includes its new portal platform, weaving enterprise CMS into the fabric of the portal. WebCenter is available to the entire core Oracle products, thus providing enterprise CMS functionality to other Oracle products, such as Siebel or PeopleSoft.

Perceptive

Perceptive is a Strong Performer in the overall category. Its strongest point is in its transactional segment. It focuses on providing vertical solutions to a particular set of verticals and has a focus on non-programmatic integration capabilities that Forrester describes as is “particularly impressive." It needs to strengthen its capabilities in addressing persuasive content for it to be seen as a better-rounded enterprise CMS vendor.

Xerox

Xerox ranks as a Strong Performer in the overall, foundational, and business areas. With the acquisition of ACS, it can deliver on-premise and SaaS-based solutions and uses its ACS product Online Document Management (ODM) to deliver high-volume transactional enterprise CMS functionality. One of Xerox’s strengths is its scalability and integration with office devices. Xerox’s weakness in supporting web content management, archiving and SharePoint integration as a role player.

You can find out more on this report.