Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Web CMS: Diving into Vendor Strengths & Cautions

11 minute read
Barb Mosher Zinck avatar

What's the best part of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for web content management? It's that you can see quickly the strengths are each vendor and what you need to know before you move forward (also known as cautions).

It's all the talk now, Gartner's newest Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management is out the wild and everyone wants to know who's one it and why. For a quick summary you can check out what I covered already -- the basics.

Today it's time to dive into a bit more detail. Why are the leaders (Adobe, SDL, OpenText, Oracle, HP, Sitecore) still the leaders? What tipped Ektron into the leaders quadrant? How did Acquia get on the list? All good questions, all in time.

Before we dive in, I'm not going to spend time going through Gartner's evaluation process. It's a fairly standard process for them and most of you know it by now. Maybe the only things you need to keep in mind are that vendors must apply to be considered and there is a revenue threshold they must meet. So it's possible there are other great WCM platforms out there, but these are the heavy hitters.

WCM Leaders

For the record, there isn't one vendor in the leader quadrant of the MQ that I haven't talked to at some time or another. The platforms are nothing short of impressive and each one does bring a unique point of view to the table.


When we talk Adobe for WCM we are, of course, talking Day Software -- although at some point we have to stop saying that and get on with things. The WCM platform is now called Adobe CQ and is Adobe's web experience platform tying into its Digital Marketing Suite.

Strengths include ease of use for non-techies and strong analytics. And let's not forget the Digital Marketing Suite. Gartner states that operations are not as cohesive as they could be and that Adobe's focus on digital marketing lends itself to a smaller market (both size-wise and horizontally). This is interesting to hear considering Adobe is clearly enterprise focused and large enterprises at that.


If you pay attention to the WCM market at all, you likely been watching what is happening at Ektron. It's a vendor that has grown significantly in terms of both functionality and customer base the last few years -- inclusion in the leaders quadrant should be proof of that. Ektron recently released version 8 of its Web CMS and also has its Digital Experience Hub.

A strong partner ecosystem, a management team that is experienced and the DEH are listed as strengths. There is a caution that Ektron may be not paying as much attention to its mid-sized customer base now that it's taken hold at the enterprise level. But the most important caution to consider is its multilingual capabilities as it tries to take its business global.


HP makes the list because it acquired Autonomy, and we've all heard of Autonomy. In a way, it's strange to see it in the leaders quadrant when the news about its performance hasn't been exactly great. However, I think that more likely means it's all relevant and what's poor performance to one company isn't really that bad at all in the greater scheme of things. Autonomy has taken its WCM platform and integrated analytics and search, enabling it to be a strong contender in the CXM space.

Gartner see Autonomy IDOL as a real strength and says it has a strong brand across a number of industries as well as very loyal customers. A lack of clarity around its vision and strategy for CXM are listed as cautions. A perception of being expensive and complex is also noted.


OpenText continues to sell two separate solutions based on acquisitions: Web Site Management (WSM) and Web Experience Management (WEM).

For organizations looking for a broad enterprise strategy, Gartner says OpenText integrates its WCM platforms very well into the broader platform. It also has a great partner ecosystem and has been working hard on its CXM Strategy.

Apparently, however, the dual product strategy is confusing to some. Gartner also says the WEM solution is not as intuitive as other offerings,although it is easy to use.


Oracle has been in the news much recently talking about its CXM vision and strategy. Part of the CXM family is WebCenter Sites, joined by products such as Siebel, Endeca, ATG Web Commerce (check the news on the Commerce platform) and Real Time Decisions (RTD). It also recently picked up a social media management platform, Vitrue.

Along with this broad set of capabilities, Gartner says Oracle's inclusion of other non-CXM capabilities such as document management, records and retention and archiving are nice complements. In addition, Oracle RTD enables Oracle customers to personalize and contextualize content.

Overlapping products, compelling integrations and a stronger presence in the internal collaboration environment are all listed as cautions for Oracle.


SDL Tridion leads SDL's presence in the CXM market, and its abilities in terms of managing content on a global and local basis is a key selling point. The addition of Alterian for social media capabilities and campaign management has been a plus. SDL is moving quickly into the North American market (it's a UK-based WCM vendor).

Complex implementations is noted as a caution as is the need for a clearer strategic direction. And although as a .NET platform it will play nicely with SharePoint, SDL is not selling this point very strongly.


Sitecore wraps up the leaderquadrant. Along with its Web CMS, Sitecore offers a Digital MarketingSystem (another .NET vendor). There is a wide range of products in theCXM line up including an Email Campaign Manager, engagement analyticsand a commerce engine thanks to an OEM partnership with Insite Software.

Sitecorestrengths include its SharePoint story, and its multilingual andmultichannel capabilities. Adaptive Print Studio is also mentioned as itsupports both the online and offline experience.

Learning Opportunities

Sitecore needsto work on its partner ecosystem and it needs to move faster executingits vision says Gartner. The fact that it's a .NET platform is alsoconsidered a potential drawback for customers who want the Java or LAMPstack.

WCM Challengers


IBM retains its position in the Challengers quadrant with Web Content Manager (version 8 was recently released). The Web Content Manager can be acquired as part of IBM's more inclusive Customer Experience Suite or it can standalone.

An already large customer base and ecosystem is a plus, but also very important is IBM's focus on Suites (there's an Internet one and an Intranet one), and its Portal platform. All the analytics acquisitions also clearly demonstrate the importance of analytics in IBM's solutions and platforms. Web Content Manager may be tied a little to closely to WebSphere Portal for some people accordingly Gartner -- that's one caution. Another is that although the latest version is much better, the platform can be complex to implement.


Here we are talking SharePoint and although SharePoint 2013 is out in beta with some much improved web content management capabilities, it's not what keeps it in the Challengers quadrant. What keeps it here right now is SharePoint 2010.

Although SharePoint is popular among Gartner clients, it's not often used for external web presences. It's a combination of capabilities that makes it a popular workplace tool. And you can't deny the ecosystem.

According to Gartner, SharePoint's strength is also its weakness. A catch all tool means it doesn't do anything really well -- at least not in the WCM space where personalization and content-targeting are critical capabilities. SharePoint 2010 is not your digital marketing tool of choice.

WCM Nice Players

Atex:  I had an opportunity to talk with Atex recently and was very intrigued by their offering. Atex acquired Polopoly WCM in 2008 and released the latest update in January of this year. Gartner lists its strength as its deep media industry experience and its tenure in the market (it's the oldest of all the vendors listed). As far as cautions, usability for non-business users lags behind many and the need to move beyond its current market are mentioned.

Dynamicweb: As a .NET platform one of its strengths is that it can integrate nicely with SharePoint, as well as Microsoft CRM and ERP solutions. Another strength is its competitive pricing on its e-commerce module. Gartner also indicates that Dynamicweb is starting to move into the North American market but cautions that it is really only at the starting gate. In addition to this, its marketing capabilities are still young.

e-Spirit: e-Spirit is another German WCM vendor. The platform is called FirstSpirit (we talked with the company about its view on WCM not that long ago). Experience integrating with other platforms such as IBM Websphere (Portal and Commerce) and SAP Netweaver Portal demonstrate that it can work well in a mixed environment. Gartner also lists the AppCenter as a strength.

eZ Systems: Another open source WCM solution, eZPublish is the name of the content management system. Building on theLAMP stack, eZ offers both a commercial on-premises solution and a SaaSoffering. eZ Systems has a broad range of capabilities to support thecustomer experience which includes recommendations, search (eZ Find),analytics/optimization, e-commerce, CRM and more. Although it embracesits open source culture, eZ Systems does not depend on it. Size and the need for more capabilities are cautions along with its "publishing" orientation.

Limelight Networks: Limelight's strength is that it's apure SaaS platform and many organizations are looking more to thismodel to meet their requirements. This, along with its online video capabilities and Number 2 listed CDN make it worth a look.

Squiz: Squiz is an Australian open source WCM vendor, with a strong search integration via Funnelback and analytics via Google Analytics. Its biggest strength is its context-aware capabilities which comes from the search integration. The need for a partner ecosystem and better interoperability with other systems are listed as cautions, as is its lack of presence outside Australia and Western Europe.

WCM Visionaries

Acquia: Acquia is new the MQ this year, finally meeting the revenue requirements. Acquia supplies a number of services for the popular Drupal open source web content management system. It also runs Drupal Gardens -- a Saas-based version of Drupal. The pluses are that it has some very strong open source visionaries behind it, customers speak highly of it and the Acquia Commons offering is pushing an online channel strategy that moves beyond web content management. The cautions: Lack of deep marketing oriented capabilities and the need to develop a strong partner ecosystem were two of the cautions listed. Lack of presence in some areas was also mentioned.

CoreMedia: CoreMedia is a German-based Web CMS, currently in version 6 -- but the rumor is that something big is brewing. Strengths, according to Gartner, include high usability, including the Studio tool for power users and the Content Delivery Engine. Also mentioned is the partner ecosystem and its Elastic Social product. Cautions? It's presence outside Europe isn't as strong as it could be, it's lack of marketing/sales on the broader digital marketing strategy (CoreMedia still focuses on being "the best Java WCM"). Also interesting is a lack of interoperability in heterogeneous environments (potentially more a marketing issue than a real problem.

EpiServer: A .NET CMS from Sweden, EPiServer has been slowly growing its US presence.Gartner touts its GUI and ability to easily tailor the experience to different touchpoints. A modular architecture enables it to quickly add-on new capabilities (Social Reach and Site Attention are two of these). According to Gartner, EPiServer needs to beef up its marketing-oriented capabilities and get in with the SharePoint ecosystem better.

GX Software: From the Netherlands, GX Software offers WebManager for WCM and Blue Conic for multichannel engagement. The combination of the two is its strength in addition to a partnership with Pitney Bowes. It's still a relative unknown in North America and needs to work on both interoperability and usability.

Final Thoughts

There is much more detail in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management then I have outlined here. So make sure you check it out. While your decision to purchase a certain platform is based on your needs and requirements, reports like this do provide a starting point on where you might want to start short-listing potential vendors. Obviously getting much deeper requires speaking to vendors directly. That's when the fun starts!