kitten in a cage

Nothing stays the same in web content management (WCM) except change.

It's one of the things I love about the space.

Since Gartner just published its 2015 Magic Quadrant for WCM, I turned to three WCM leaders — Erik Hartman, Robert Rose and Janus Boye — to get their views on the Quadrant, the industry and what’s next for the industry. 

We shared Hartman's insights in Part One. Today, in part two, we hear what Rose has to say.

Take Two: Robert Rose

Robert Rose
Rose is the Chief Strategist for the Content Marketing Institute and senior contributing analyst for Digital Clarity Group. He is the author of Managing Content Marketing, which spent two weeks as a top ten marketing book on As an expert in content marketing strategy, digital media and the social Web, he innovates creative and technical strategies for a wide variety of clients.

How does the MQ affect customer decision making?

Rose: It has little to do with decision making and everything to do with consideration in the first place. 

The Magic Quadrant provides base line of relevance to large enterprises looking to solve problems and helps customers reduce the number of solutions to consider. It’s a huge vote of confidence from whatever part of the quadrant you’re looking at. The Quadrant becomes crucial to which systems enterprises consider but has little to do with what decision actually gets made.

How does placing in the Quadrant impact vendors?

Rose: It’s a hugely positive, mostly because of the impact on shortlists. It’s one of those things where vendors — especially newcomers — start getting considered where they would have never been considered before.

Once you cross the Magic Quadrant threshold, you’re “in the club.” Enterprises that would normally be risk averse to trying something new, innovative and unknown will consider you.

My experience is that those companies that make it into the Magic Quadrant and stay typically have much longer trajectories of success because they are now considered part of a more elite group of solutions.

This is, let me emphasize, not exclusive to the upper right part of the Quadrant.

Depending on what you’re looking for, any solution on the Quadrant could be the ideal fit. Maybe you're looking for something avant-garde or your needs might be more conventional and stable. There’s no part of the Quadrant that’s necessarily better than any other — upper right doesn’t necessarily translate to the greatest value, or the right fit for every company.

What's the difference between Best of Breed vs. Marketing Suites in the MQ?

Rose: On its own, Best of Breed versus Marketing suite doesn’t matter. What matters is how agile a solution makes an organization. Plenty of Best of Breed solutions are slow and difficult to integrate, and plenty of suites are agile and work fast. It’s agility that matters, not the package.

How important is programming language?

Rose: Language is becoming less important, though it still has some place in many organizations. Certainly culturally.

That aside, there are some technical advantages to various types of foundational technology — everything from fast development to stability and interoperability.

For the marketing decision maker, language might not be crucial. It might be key to the architecture of the business, though.

What will cause future disruption in the MQ?

Rose: For starters, the Magic Quadrant isn’t terribly innovative. It tends to be a very slow moving vehicle for showing what new and innovative solutions are out there.

Those who make it have passed some line, but a very strong line that Gartner sets, but based on their strength as vendors, they should have passed long before. Is the MQ an innovative vehicle for showing what solutions are really popular? Probably not.

If you’re asking what’s next, understand that the MQ may already be behind. I would look to which CMSs are helping organizations develop audiences, move marketing in an agile way and create digital and content driven experiences that tie relevant content together in a way that integrates the entire buyer’s journey.

Those are the innovations. But very few solutions are actually doing this.

What about open source vs. proprietary?

Rose: It’s like the foundational technology issue. I don’t see it as terribly relevant in the marketing world.

Marketers don’t care, they just want technology to work in solving their problems.

What I would say is that open source solutions tend to iterate faster than closed source solutions. I may get hate mail on that point, but my experience is they tend to innovate a bit faster.

Ultimately though, it’s like foundational technology — if your business cares, it's an important consideration. Most marketing organizations don’t care, as long as they become more agile.

What’s most important to many organizations is how a solution is innovating in the area of expertise related to the solution. How is the solution delivering digital experiences? This should go beyond software, beyond a service agreement or a maintenance agreement. The ability to deliver ongoing expertise that a business needs to keep up with iterative changes happening in the marketplace. That’s the new innovation.

Should enterprises take note of any special innovations?

Rose: Most importantly, enterprises should look for the companies that are really connecting experiences — beyond tracking and optimizing content on the website, the companies that are connecting owned media properties, social, blogs and the customer community based on traffic and behavior on the website. Brands need optimized and connected content experiences in a way that’s not truly being done yet.

Keeping Up With the Series

Read more of Capturing the Web CMS Zeitgeist:

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Laura D'Alessandro.