Oracle Corp building North America
Oracle made the leap from contender to leader in the latest Forrester Wave for Digital Experience Platforms

Forrester made a significant change in the leaderboard of its Digital Experience Platforms Wave released last week: 

Oracle is now the lone leader, displacing Adobe.

This is the third time Forrester evaluated digital experience platform vendors, also producing Waves in 2014 and 2015

Oracle was a “contender” in 2014 and a “strong performer” in 2015. Forrester demoted Adobe from a leader to a strong performer this year, where it was in the original DXP Wave.

It’s the second time Forrester, the Cambridge, Mass.-based technology research firm, named only one digital experience leader. It had no leaders in its first DXP Wave in 2014.

Oracle: Strong PaaS, Vision 

Forrester rated vendors based on their current offering (how they do in content, marketing, commerce, service, analytics, customer data, personalization and development and operations) and strategy (vision and roadmap, consistency and cohesion across the portfolio, cloud strategy), with several sub-categories within each.

Salesforce had the strongest strategy in this DXP Wave, according to Forrester. Oracle, Sitecore, Acquia and Sprinklr are in a virtual tie for second place here.  

Oracle led in the current offering department. 

So why the giant leap into the leaderboard for Oracle?

Forrester Wave authors Mark Grannan and Ted Schadler reported the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based provider has the broadest set of capabilities of any of the 14 “significant” digital experience providers it researched.

They cited Oracle's offerings in content, commerce, marketing, data, analytics and customer care.

Although Oracle lacks in customer analytics and digital intelligence, Grannan and Schadler noted Oracle's focus on making deployments simple and its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) strategy on the Oracle Cloud. (Editor's note: The report was written before Oracle's most recent updates to its PaaS offering.)  

PaaS deployments provide application development and deployment tools abstracted from the underlying cloud infrastructure on which they run your apps, and Forrester is clearly a fan. Grannan told CMSWire earlier this year PaaS removes friction from the delivery process by automating infrastructure tasks which allows digital practitioners to focus on content.

Oracle also scored well in the areas of commerce (second behind SAP Hybris), service (tied for first with Salesforce), personalization (second with Salesforce behind IBM), development and operations (second behind IBM) and vision (tied for first with Salesforce). 

(Editor's note: Read the follow up post which further explores the methodology of the DX Platform Wave here)

Adobe: Lack of Commerce, Cloud

Why no leader love for Adobe from Forrester?

Adobe continued to score well in content (alone in first), customer data (alone in first) and service-partner presence (tied with SAP Hybris in first).

But the Adobe Experience Cloud owner got poor marks in commerce once again because it currently does not support an offering there, instead relying on third-party integrations. Adobe also scored poorly in service and development and operations.

Forrester had Adobe behind leaders Acquia, BloomReach, Salesforce, Magento and Sprinklr in cloud strategy.

Adobe offers “no significant PaaS,” includes a challenging systems set-up experience and “has work to do to refactor its core functionality for the cloud," Forrester authors reported.

DXP Wave Newcomers: BloomReach, Magento, Liferay, Sprinklr

Oracle’s ascension did not represent the lone change in Forrester’s DXP Wave.

Magento, Liferay, BloomReach and Sprinklr made their debuts this year.

BloomReach, after the acquisition of the open-source Hippo CMS, has pushed digital experience delivery through a tight integration of content and commerce.

In April, Sprinklr released capabilities in marketing, advertising, research, commerce and customer care that built on Sprinklr's efforts to provide a "holistic" customer experience management (CXM) platform. 

Ragy Thomas, founder and CEO of the 8-year-old New York City-based company, told us then, "We're advocating for the abandonment of the idea of best of breed point solutions and advocating for best of suites."

This appears to reflect Forrester’s thinking in its latest Wave. Grannan and Schadler noted a “highly fragmented and fractured market for digital experience software.” 

This, they reported, leads to vendors creating and acquiring “the building blocks of a great digital experience.”

Forrester researchers also noted Sprinklr is an example of a “microsuite,” meaning vendors that focus on “emerging” challenges like social, internet of things (IoT) or personalization but come with a “modest scale of their delivery services or ecosystem.”

Sprinklr has attempted to address this, Grannan and Schadler noted, with small acquisitions and “throwing away the code and rebuilding the relevant portions on the common codebase.”