To get into Forrester's Web Content Management Club, you have to have a few things. Like $50 million, for starters.

Forrester's top 10 WCM vendors, which the Cambridge, Mass.-based research organization announced yesterday in its Wave, must have at least $50 million in WCM or digital experience revenue annually.

They also need "significant interest from Forrester clients" and "experience as the primary solution for web content management in large organizations."

In other words, we're swimming with web content management sharks here, not pond minnows. 

Which shark has the best bite? Forrester researchers said Adobe Systems for its Adobe Experience Manager 6.0. 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.  

Let's take a peek into how Forrester researchers analyze each shark.

How Does Gartner MQ Compare?

Before we evaluate the vendors, it's notable to stack up Forrester's against rival Gartner's, the Stamford, Conn.-based research firm that produces similar industry reports called Magic Quadrants.

Gartner in October released its Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. Acquia made the biggest leap, jumping from a "visionary" to a "leader."

Gartner Research grouped Burlington, Mass.-based Acquia into the WCM leaders space alongside returnees Adobe, Sitecore, Oracle and HP. Also making a surge was IBM, which jumped from last year's "challengers" pool into the leaders category.

SDL and OpenText got the boot from the leaders group, both being named by Gartner as "challengers." Microsoft stayed put in the challengers division.

Some companies in Gartner's MQ did not appear in this week's Forrester Wave. 

  • CrownPeak and Telerik appeared in this year's WCM Magic Quadrant after being left off last year's. CrownPeak was named a visionary while Telerik got into the "niche players" category.
  • GX Software dropped down a peg, going from visionary to niche, and Automattic made the opposite switch, improving from a niche to a visionary.

Neither of those four made the Forrester cut, whereas Ektron nor EPiServer earned Gartner love.

Adobe: Marketing Savvy

Adobe hasn't slowed down in this market. Just this week Adobe moved into the government cloud space with its Java-based CMS, Adobe Experience Manager. Forrester applauds Adobe for addressing marketing needs in its WCM and its acquisition strategy.

It could use improvement in areas like digital asset management and extranets, researchers said.

Sitecore: Solid Suite Approach 

Sitecore's .NET WCM, Sitecore Experience Platform 8, includes strong content tagging and targeting, according to Forrester. Sitecore 7.5 introduces an Experience Database (xDB) that is designed to help end-users make immediate use of customer data.

Sitecore needs more customers and better native mobile app support, according to Forrester. 

Acquia: Cloud-First Drupal Guys 

Acquia's "large and active" PHP-based Drupal community of developers is a strength. Its CMO boasted on Twitter about being among the only cloud-first vendor in this Wave.

Acquia also has solid content management and delivery functionality, Forrester researchers reported, but needs better marketing and commerce integration.

Learning Opportunities

HP: Extranet Specialty 

HP, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif, has a Java-based offering called HP TeamSite 7.5. HP’s offering is appropriate, Forrester researchers said, for extranet scenarios and is strong in content tagging and targeting.

It could improve in areas including multichannel delivery and mobile apps.

IBM: 'Revitalized WCM' 

IBM’s Java-based Customer Experience Suite 8.5 and Employee Experience Suite 8.5 has solid marketing and commerce integration.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company needs work in its cloud capabilities and testing features, according to the analysts.

OpenText: Content Management Veterans

Enterprise information management (EIM) provider OpenText, of Waterloo, Ontario, certainly knows the EIM space.

For WCM, it offers the Java-based OpenText Web Experience Management 10.5 CMS that comes with strong content and digital asset management features, according to Forrester. It could use work in testing and analytics.

Oracle: Needs Growth

Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle made the cut here, but faces some challenges. Formerly Fatwire, the Oracle WebCenter Sites version is a Java-based WCM that is "not yet seeing growth," according to Forrester.

Oracle must improve multisite delivery and multichannel support. 

SDL: Differentiates on Localization

SDL’s Web CMS cloud offering includes solid content authoring and tagging, multichannel delivery and multisite support. Forrester researchers, however, see opportunities for the Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, company, such as a focus on mobile apps.

Ektron, EPiServer: Together in Cloud

Discussing the Ektron-EPiServer merger under investor Accel-KKR, Forrester researchers said "we believe customers will have time and a migration path to any future merged product and company."

As for the current standalone CMS offerings, Ektron's .NET-based CMS V9.1 platform includes strong multisite support and APIs but needs better content targeting, workflow and global presence, according to Forrester.

The Stockholm, Sweden-based EPiServer Cloud, a NET-based offering includes developer support and cloud hosting experience, Forrester researchers found, but also could use work in content tagging and taxonomies and customer segmentation. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by Glyn Lowe Photoworks.