Forrester Evaluates Top Web Content Management Systems
Forrester published The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017. Of the 15 platforms Forrester evaluated for the web content management report, Acquia, Adobe, and Episerver lead the pack; Hippo, Sitecore, and SDL have been named as “strong performers”; OpenText Teamsite, IBM, e-Spirit, Progress Software, Oracle, Jahia, Crownpeak, and Magnolia are "Contenders" whereas OpenText WEM is the solitary “Challenger”. According to Forrester, the report is designed to help application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals make the right choice. The study concludes that “six solutions stand apart, while others are heavily investing.” In this article, we will look into those six solutions as well as the changing web CMS landscape.
As soon as the report was published, CMS-Connected reached out to Forrester’s Senior Analyst Mark Grannan to discuss the evolution of the web CMS landscape and the changing enterprise requirements. First off, Mark explained the evolution by dividing it into three main phases. According to him, in the first two phases, we have seen the arrival of web content management systems and we created those static pages with a desktop-centric approach. With regard to the state of the web CMS industry, Mark said: “Today, we are shedding those archaic concepts and moving into the third phase, where the focus is more around dynamic experiences supported with a wealth of other data. We are cross-pollinating them with functional capabilities coming out of commerce solutions or analytic solutions.” He also discussed how going beyond the web has become mainstream and stressed: “The notion of moving beyond the web is probably one of the most powerful elements of evolution. In that scope, API-based content delivery and microservices are hugely important.”
After all, he believes that web CMS is playing a critical role acting as a hub to orchestrate content. By orchestrating the content, he means the pulling, sterilizing, delivering, tracking, and optimizing of it. In other words, coordinating that content across all these different digital priorities. In short, a very nimble, agile approach to content and experience is really where the industry is heading, according to Mark Grannan.
We also asked him whether there were any changes in requirements and criteria in the report, and he told us that their criteria is consistent but evolving at the same time: “We have absolutely focused on the Forrester clients’ needs as we always have.” What they really look for first, is if the vendor has a solution which is mature enough and from there, Forrester analysts inquire if the vendor has the right partners, capabilities, and track records. Mark also indicated that they took a wider view this year, including more providers than they have in the past and for good reason, those vendors have been around for a while and are providing a great customer value. In the past, they might have had the limited geographic scope or limited ecosystem to support larger deployments. However, now that they have overcome those issues, Forrester accelerated the number of vendors evaluated. He believes, the driving factor behind this improvement is the fact that many vendors had moved to the PaaS models: “In some ways, cloud democratized some of the capabilities, and as a result, we are seeing more options in the market - which is fantastic.”
When it comes to changing enterprise requirements, he discussed the changing relationship between marketing and IT teams: “I think marketing teams have historically struggled with the partnership with their current IT relationships. IT’s goals were misaligned with marketing teams’ needs as the focus on stability, uptime, and performance whereas marketing teams focus on content production, campaigns, and lifecycles.” To tackle this disconnection, he explained: “When you take that operational aspect of managing where the infrastructure is and move it to cloud either through a partner or a vendor by automating a lot of those capabilities and giving a lot of transparency to the data, you will lighten the burden on the central technology teams. You will reach the point where they can start to take some of the guardrails away so marketing and other practitioner groups like commerce or service can start to operate much more freely. That element of streamlining and automating the operation is absolutely a game changer in today's enterprise as you can simply move faster and with more agility by testing and creating more personal experiences.”
To me, it is certainly exciting to witness the WCM market moving from being monolithic to be a more modular and granular industry. As Mark also stressed during the interview, cloud-first strategy reinvented the WCM space. Therefore today, we see more web content management vendors providing solutions which can seamlessly integrate with different sets of third-party technologies. As Forrester analysts indicated, in today’s marketplace, the key differentiators are semantic content, APIs, cloud, and marketing features as the buyers’ are looking for the platforms that can help them deliver contextual digital experiences to their own customers.