Three vendors who weren’t there 10 months ago cracked the leaders category of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WCM).

The Stamford, Conn.-based research firm today released its latest ratings of vendors who produce technologies for enterprises to manage online content. The report was authored by Gartner analysts Mick MacComascaigh and Jim Murphy. 

Moves at the Top

The newbies in the leaders category include OpenText, SDL and EPiServer, the latter which merged with longtime Gartner MQ staple Ektron earlier this year. The returning leaders included Adobe, Sitecore, Oracle, IBM, HP and Acquia.

Acquia CMO Tom Wentworth was a happy camper with its second straight leaders nod.

It remained the lone open-source Web CMS provider — powered by Drupal — in a leaderboard field of proprietary software vendors.

The big news in the leaders group may be Sitecore’s leap over Adobe in its “ability to execute.” Adobe edged out Sitecore in the last Gartner report, but Sitecore grabbed the top spot today for the first time.

However, Adobe beat Sitecore for “completeness of vision,” leading the pack this time around after finishing second to Sitecore 10 months ago.

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. Gartner only looked at vendors with at least $15 million in WCM software revenue in 2014.

Acquia ranked fourth among the nine leaders in ability to execute this time around after being at the bottom of that category last time. It nearly overtook Oracle. This marks its second straight Gartner Web CMS with the biggest leap among vendors. 

Ektron and EPiServer were each “visionaries” in Gartner’s MQ 10 months ago. But, combined as a company, they are a leader.

OpenText and SDL, meanwhile, were each “challengers” before moving to the top this time around.

Gartner  WCM

Gartner rates vendors in four categories:

  • Leaders: Should drive market transformation. Prepared for the future with a clear vision and a thorough appreciation of the broader context of digital business.
  • Challengers: Solid vendors that can perform well for many enterprises. May have a strong WCM product, but a product strategy that does not fully reflect market trends.
  • Visionaries: Forward-thinking and technically focused. 
  • Niche Players: Focus on a particular segment of the market, as defined by characteristics such as size, industry and project complexity.

Who’s In, Out?

Telerik was acquired by Progress Software shortly after the last MQ was published. The vendor, Progress, now rates as a niche player. 

Hippo and e-Spirit rates as niche players.

Hippo’s latest innovation, Hippo CMS 10, caters to marketers trying to deliver more personalized digital experiences With this release, Hippo claims it has moved out of the category of foundation technology focused on productivity to a solution designed to drive ROI based on content performance.

E-Spirit, meanwhile, just released a complement to its FirstSpirit web content management system -- a Corporate Content Cloud initiative that underscores how content drives digital transformation, officials told us. It's about using content more effectively and consistently to improve the customer experience across touchpoints and throughout the entire customer journey. 

Automattic, CrownPeak and CoreMedia earned Gartner’s citation as visionaries again in this week’s report, and Microsoft, GX Software, eZ Systems and Squiz are returnees, with the latter three staying in the same Gartner spot. 

Microsoft, meanwhile, went from a challenger to a niche player.

Easier to Use

Gartner sees three factors shaping the Web CMS space:

  • Highly mature technology
  • The ease with which non-IT professionals can access and use the technology
  • The highly ambitious goals of line-of-business users' digital strategies

Officials cited annual growth of more than 11 percent with 2014’s total Web CMS software revenue at $1.4 billion. Enterprises still see WCM mainly as dealing with the volume Web content.

But, Gartner’s researchers noted, “a rapidly growing number of enterprises and midmarket organizations are raising their expectations of the digital channel. They are seeking to connect successfully with target audiences and engage these audiences with highly contextualized, cross-channel experiences. Multiple areas of focus are now converging around WCM, allowing organizations to achieve their ambitions for customer satisfaction, marketing, CRM and digital commerce by including WCM in the mix.”

Forrester’s Take

How did this Magic Quadrant compare to Gartner competitor Forrester Research’s take in this same space?

Forrester researchers in February reported Adobe Systems for its Adobe Experience Manager 6.0 has the best software. Sitecore was also named a leader.

Acquia, OpenText, SDL, HP, IBM and Oracle were cited by Forrester as "strong performers." And Ektron and EPiServer -- now merged -- got nods individually as "contenders." In all, the top 10 includes six American-rooted companies, three European and one Canadian.