Gartner trimmed OpenText, SDL and HP from the leader's quadrant in its latest industry report on web content management (WCM).

Six other vendors — Sitecore, Adobe, Acquia, EPiServerIBM and Oracle retained their spots on the leaderboard in the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm's Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, which it released yesterday.

Another Acquia Lift

According to Gartner report authors Mick MacComascaigh and Jim Murphy, Boston-based Acquia made the biggest positive move, closing the gap on Copenhagen-based Sitecore and San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe.

But Sitecore and Adobe still lead the WCM pack, based on Gartner's criteria of completeness of vision and ability to execute. It was the same story last year, with Sitecore edging Adobe for execution but Adobe winning in the vision department, Gartner concluded.

Acquia, a Drupal-based, open source content management system, jumped from a visionary to a leader in 2014 and hasn’t left the leaders’ spot since. It's the lone open source vendor among the leaders.

Microsoft, rated a niche player last year, failed to make the cut this year. MacComascaigh and Murphy said Microsoft has focused its attention more on the digital workplace and less on WCM. 

Gartner's Criteria for Inclusion

Gartner only analyzed vendors with at least $16 million in WCM software revenue in 2015. Gartner includes revenue generated by sales of WCM software and software maintenance and support services.

Gartner ranks vendors based on completeness of vision, which focuses on the vendor's potential and points to its future chances of success and ability to execute, which rates how well a vendor sells and supports its WCM products and services globally. 

It places them in one of four quadrants: 

  1. Leaders: Those who “drive market transformation” and are “prepared for the future with a clear vision and a thorough appreciation of the broader context of digital business.” 
  2. Challengers: Those who may have a strong WCM product but have a product strategy that “does not fully reflect market trends.”
  3. Visionaries: Those that are “forward-thinking and technically focused” but need to improve and execute better.
  4. Niche Players: Those who focus on a particular segment of the market, such as size, industry and project complexity. But that, according to Gartner authors, “can affect their ability to outperform their competitors or to be more innovative.”

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web CMS

Leaderboard Shuffling

This year marks the second time in three years Gartner moved OpenText and SDL from the leaderboard. SDL sold off some of its assets this year. 

In addition, HP sold its customer experience software suite to OpenText this spring. 

While Gartner authors saw that move as bringing a “substantial installed base of large enterprises,” it may also be a current weakness for OpenText, the Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management provider. OpenText, Gartner cautioned, now offers three WCM products: OpenText Web Site Management, OpenText Web Experience Management and OpenText TeamSite.

“Most customers strongly favor vendors that pursue a clear vision with a single flagship WCM offering,” MacComascaigh and Murphy wrote.

OpenText Strategy

Just yesterday, OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea remarked about his company's CX products at the OpenText Dialogue 2016 conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. According to a tweet from CMSWire author Lukasz Szostak, a partner at TBSCG, a global professional services and cloud computing group:

OpenText did not immediately respond to CMSWire's request for comment.

SDL Strategic Shift

Gartner authors reported SDL Web, SDL's flagship WCM product, helps organizations “prioritize content integrity and relevance across digital and analog channels, devices, regions and media.” It has also improved its translation and localization offerings. 

However, MacComascaigh and Murphy wrote, “mixed marketing messages and a shift in focus have left some SDL customers confused and concerned about the company's long-term direction.” 

“Some customers report,” they continued, “that SDL's granular architecture, flexibility and extensibility come at the cost of complexity.”

Open-Source Hippo Gains

Amsterdam-based Hippo, an open-source, Java-based Web CMS, jumped from a niche player to a visionary in the past year. Gartner authors see the provider’s “completeness of vision” as much improved. And it also bumped it up on the “ability to execute” scale.

Hippo has improved the user interface for business roles in Hippo version 11, according to MacComascaigh and Murphy. They called the Hippo architecture “granular” and “object-oriented.” They reported customers often talk about a “steep learning curve” at the beginning of Hippo deployments.

WCM: Foundation for Digital Experience

WCM is key to providing engaging digital experiences to multiple audiences and is quickly becoming a mission-critical component of digital initiatives.

“Technological advances,” they wrote, “are enabling a new level of possibility, and the aspirations of innovative companies are increasing accordingly. Increasingly, aspirations are directed toward consistent achievement of the 'best next customer experience.'" 

WCM helps companies establish “continuous communication” with customers and ensure the "relevance, sensitivity and effectiveness" of that communication. “Conversations will start earlier in the customer relationship and will need to evolve with the ongoing journey of that customer,” MacComascaigh and Murphy wrote.

Title image by Tamara Menzi