IBM and CoreMedia have joined forces in the IBM Smarter Commerce partner ecosystem, giving the content management provider and Gartner Magic Quadrant for WCM visionary some Big Blue wings.

The WCM vendor, with about 150 employees, announced the news Monday at the National Retail Federation's 103rd Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City that its LiveContext platform is joining the IBM WebSphere Commerce. 

IBM's Players

What is the IBM group all about? It serves IBM customers with already-existing platforms and technology in the areas of:

  • Analytics and business intelligence 
  • Campaign management and marketing 
  • Community, social and customer engagement 
  • Content management and rich media 
  • Order management and fulfillment 
  • Omni-channel – in-store and mobile 
  • Payments, pricing and tax 
  • Product management and configuration 
  • Search optimization

CoreMedia falls into the content management category.

David Aponovich, senior analyst for Forrester Research, told CMSWire that ecosystems like these, whether you call them software vendor ecosystems, partnerships, partner programs, solution providers or anything else, are relevant.

"And they are growing in the digital customer experience market," Aponovich said. "Even the largest software vendors cannot provide every piece of software technology their clients are looking for. And in many cases, enterprises already have bits and pieces of technology from an array of vendors."

Creation of these formal partner “ecosystems” enables smaller or diverse vendors to create linkages to the larger software vendor’s platform, not to mention gain inroads to the customers of the larger vendors, he added.

"These partnerships typically mean a proven software integration between systems exists," Aponovich said, "or there’s a promise that they’re going to work together to integrate applications."

He called CoreMedia’s news this week with IBM a good example. Their CoreMedia LiveContext application is intended to provide advanced customer experience capabilities to enterprises that use IBM WebSphere Commerce.

"There’s an explicit stamp of approval, if you will, on the use of CoreMedia LiveContext with IBM WebSphere Commerce," Aponovich added.

Where CoreMedia Ranks in Industry

Last year, CoreMedia was named a Gartner MQ Visionary in web content management. Scoring at the top of this category for Gartner were Adobe, SDL and Sitecore. Close to them in the Leaders quadrant were Oracle, HP and OpenText. 

IBM? Right next to Microsoft below the Leaders in the Challengers area.

Challengers are said by Gartner to have strong products, but they are unable to keep up with market trends like the increasing importance of user context, multichannel output and interoperability with other systems such as CRM, DAM and multichannel campaign management.

Learning Opportunities

CoreMedia is a Visionary, those who ranked high on completeness of vision, but a bit lower on ability to execute (compared to the Leaders). Forward-thinking in technology such as unique multilingual capability, they lack some core feature, and they may also need to improve financial strength, service and support or sales and distribution channels to make it into the Leaders category. 

Next to CoreMedia in 2013 were Ektron, EpiServer, GX Software and Acquia.

What Does IBM do for CoreMedia?

Together, IBM WebSphere Commerce and CoreMedia LiveContext will help retailers deliver customer experiences and infuse every aspect of the online experience with rich contextual content, the companies said.

IBM WebSphere customers will now be able to leverage CoreMedia LiveContext to increase, they say, the impact of digital content, help secure improved engagement levels and translate improved loyalty into higher online sales with a greater emphasis on context provision at the point of purchase.

CoreMedia -- Adaptive Personalization Module

CoreMedia 7 debuted in 2013, and it includes the Adaptive Personalization Module that focuses not just on a person's interests but also customer context such as previous visit history, transactions, social networking history and the like.

The Adaptive Personalization Module resides in the CoreMedia Studio, an integrated editorial tool designed for designing, previewing and publishing contextualized experiences. Those experiences can be based on behavioral, situational, historical, predictive and social user data. Furthermore, content can be targeted based on tracking relative and accumulated visitor behavior.

Title image by OlenaB (Shutterstock).