It's that time again. The who's who of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WCM) -- in the form of Challengers, Leaders, Niche Players and Visionaries --  is the buzz du jour and so are some interesting sector revenue numbers. The market predictions are rosy as is the focus on Web Engagement Management (WEM). Let's have a look.

The Need for an Online Presence

Who says the web as we know it is dead? Sure, we are seeing a lot more capabilities available other than traditional websites, but traditional websites are not going anywhere. They're just evolving.

No where do we see this more clearly than in the new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.

Gartner says that 80% of the Web CMS (WCM) inquiries they have had since the second half of 2009 were from clients who wanted to gain more business value from their online presence. Of course, the external website is only one of several online channels, and traditional publishing capabilities are only one component of what is demanded of modern WCM systems.

Web Content Management is Highly in Demand

According to Gartner, the WCM market saw revenues of US$ 890 million in 2009, and they predict that the market will exceed US$ 1 billion this year, growing annually at a compound rate of 14% from 2009 to 2014.  

It's also interesting to note that 60% of the worldwide WCM revenue comes from North America, clearly underscoring the drive towards and/or sustained focus on this market by many European vendors (e.g., Alterian, EPiServer, eZ Systems, Sitecore and Telerik). EMEA accounts for 26% and Asis/Pacific 11% of the revenues.

As we've seen from the number of acquisitions in the last year or so, the WCM market is consolidating -- particularly the larger, enterprise vendors (see Open Text's acquisition of Vignette and Nstein). But you also see still new vendors entering the market, both proprietary and open source, and many with cloud-based solutions. Mind you most of these don't make Gartner Magic Quadrant because they don't meet the requirements (many do however get a nice little mention in the index -- something new for Gartner).

Who does make the list is the who's who of Web content management and includes:

  • Leaders: Open Text, Autonomy, Oracle, SDL, Sitecore, FatWire
  • Challengers: Microsoft (SharePoint), IBM
  • Niche Players: Atex, Alterain, Percussion Software, Dynamicweb Software
  • Visionaries: Day Software, Ektron, EPiServer, CoreMedia, Clickability

Of course, there will always be challenges for organizations implementing new systems and the economy is top on that list. Maybe even more important to recognize is the continual struggle between the business, who wants -- and needs -- to get something to market quickly and IT, who needs to ensure the right solution is implemented in the proper manner. 

Engaging on the Web is Critical

Developing your online presence is certainly about more than having a really nice website, but the key thing to recognize is that today's web content management systems are at the heart of your web engagement strategy. Just about everything you can do to engage with your audience is facilitated or aided by a solid content management and distribution core. 

Gartner also recognizes this in the report, outlining the key trends affecting the buying decisions for Web content management. What is important is the need to consider the "overall experience delivered to users and not just the content." This overall experience includes multi-channel delivery, the user experience, integration with backend systems that will help optimize the visitor's experience and more.

We'll take a closer look at these trends in another article, but suffice it to say there's a lot more to web content management then simply managing content. WCM vendors recognize this and are adapting their offerings accordingly. It will be interesting to see how the market plays out this year. Are more consolidations in the near future? Or will we see the mid-market WCM players taking a stronger position? We'll be watching.