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Gartner's Magic Quadrant for WCM... Who's In Who's Out

It is that time of year again when Gartner publishes its annual report, The Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, which is designed to guide companies that are in the process of evaluating a Web Content Management solution for their business, by providing an in-depth analysis of leading vendors. 

Let’s discuss how much those little dots have migrated around this year. Are there any new kids on the block? Who lost ground on their competitors and who jumped from one category to another over the past year? But, before diving into these changes, for those who are not acquainted with the report, I would like to take a moment to briefly explain how Gartner ranks vendors and what each quadrant means. 

Gartner measures vendors based on Ability to Execute, which rates how well a vendor sells and supports its WCM products and services globally as well as Completeness of Vision, which focuses on the vendor's potential and points to its future chances of success. This year Adobe was the top leader in terms of "Ability to Execute," and Sitecore won Gartner's heart for "Completeness of Vision."

The Stamford, Conn.-based research firm rates vendors also in four categories:

  1. Leaders: The vendors that drive market transformation and are prepared for the future with a clear vision. Having strong channel partners, a presence in multiple regions, consistent financial performance, broad platform support, and good customer support are the fundamental attributes to be named under this category. 

  2. Challengers: The vendors that perform well for many enterprises and have the vision to succeed in the future, as only having a product strategy does not fully reflect market trends, according to Gartner’s analysts.

  3. Visionaries: The vendors which are forward-thinking and technically focused but need to increase their Ability to Execute, which includes market understanding, marketing strategy, sales strategy, product strategy, business model, vertical/industry strategy, innovation, and geographic strategy. 

  4. Niche Players: The vendors which focus on a particular segment of the market, such as size, industry and project complexity. 

Moves on the Leaderboard

Gartner deposed OpenText, SDL, and HP from the leader's quadrant while returning leaders Sitecore, Adobe, Acquia, Episerver, IBM, and Oracle kept hold of their spots in this category. In fact, it’s pretty much the same picture as last year as Sitecore has once again placed highest in "Ability to Execute" while Adobe is positioned the furthest in “Completeness of Vision”. Adobe has been recognized by Gartner as a Leader in the 2016 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management research report for the sixth consecutive year while Sitecore has landed in the Leaders’ quadrant for seventh consecutive year. 

Last June, as CMS-Connected reported, OpenText, a Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management provider, acquired HP Inc.'s Customer Communications Management (CCM) assets, including TeamSite, LiveSite, and MediaBin, for $315 million. According to Gartner report authors Mick MacComascaigh and Jim Murphy, the acquisition caused the company to lose its spot in the leader quadrant for two main reasons: 

  • Although OpenText now has their WCM products offerings, OpenText Web Site Management, OpenText Web Experience Management, and OpenText TeamSite, the report concludes that “most customers strongly favor vendors that pursue a clear vision with a single flagship WCM offering.”

  • The company’s aggressive acquisition strategy resulted in a lack of interoperability with third parties, compared to the other vendors on the leaderboard. 

Due to that acquisition, HP got the boot from the 2016 Magic Quadrant for WCM as its remaining offerings are no longer relevant to this space. 

This is the second time in three years Gartner moved SDL from the Leader’s quadrant to the Challengers’. As we reported earlier, this year the organization has gone through some big changes: New Focus, New CEO & New Strategy. According to the report, these changes “have allowed competitors to increase their lead over SDL in the WCM market.” From the users’ perspective, Gartner claimed that customers could be confused and concerned about the company's long-term direction.

CMS-Connected has reached out to Arjen van den Akker, Product Marketing Director SDL Web, and asked his input on Gartner’s authors’ conclusions regarding the strategic shift and its solution’s differentiator: “SDL has made a strategic shift towards a highly targeted best-of-breed approach that focuses on content management, language and in particular the complexity associated with the intersection of the two.  We believe this is the silver bullet for the type of companies that SDL serves: larger enterprises with a multibrand and/or multiregional presence that struggle on a day to day basis to manage brand and message consistency across hundreds of websites and other digital channels in dozens of languages. SDL’s technology and services are unparalleled in this space,” he said. 

On the flip side, the report cited: “SDL differentiates itself by improving and streamlining translation and localization so that customers avoid having to use many third-party products and services for this costly process.” In response to that statement, Akker also added:” We believe this is a big and growing market, and no other vendor is able to address it in the way that SDL can.”

If you would like to hear more on SDL’s WCM solution WEB 8 you can watch the 16-minute vendor spotlight segment of the CMS-Connected Show aired on July 28th. 


Acquia is the Rising Star

Acquia, a Drupal-based open source content management system, made a big leap from the "Visionary" quadrant to the "Leader" quadrant with nine other WCM giants occupied in 2014. In the following year, Acquia made another jump in the same category, moving up to the fourth-ranked among the nine leaders in Ability to Execute from the bottom of that category. This year the MQ once again recognized the company’s consistent progress as Acquia narrowed the gap on Sitecore and Adobe. According to the report, the biggest drive behind this “unprecedentedly rapid and responsive pace of development” is Acquia’s fostered and prioritized focus to the Drupal community. 

CMS-Connected has reached out to David AponovichSr. Director, Product Marketing - Digital Experience & Drupal at Acquia, asked his comment: "Innovation is open source’s biggest advantage, and organizations rely on Drupal because it brings a modern framework and tools for engaging, highly personalized experiences. Drupal 8 is a major new release that makes it possible for global brands to succeed with their most ambitious digital initiatives. The Acquia Lightning distribution of Drupal 8 is built for these organizations, helping them to get started fast and taking months out of their implementation time."

“We feel Acquia’s recognition as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the third year in a row is a testament to our leadership in cloud-native digital experience platforms,” said Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia. “Acquia has demonstrated how the combination of open source and cloud creates a solution with unmatched agility for customers. We are proud that an increasing number of the world’s leading organizations rely on Acquia to power their web and digital experiences.”

Episerver's Excellent Pricing Model

About a month ago, Episerver entered into an agreement to acquire Peerius, a provider of intelligent omnichannel personalization in the cloud, in an effort to create a comprehensive digital experience platform in the cloud. One of the newbies of last year in the Leaders’ category, Episerver, retained its spot on the leaderboard this year. The report speaks very highly about Episerver’s pricing model, citing: “Its highly granular and flexible model facilitates modest beginnings, especially for midsize deployments, and enables gradual scaling up to meet the needs of large enterprises.” 

Gartner also cautions that competitors’ offerings often are recommended by implementation partners even in some cases where Episerver would have been the best fit. To address the Gartner’s comment, CMS-Connected has reached out to James Norwood, Executive Vice President Strategy, CMO at Episerver, and he explained: “Gartner rightfully calls out one of the challenges of the WCM space, in so far as it is predicated like very few others on indirect implementation partners, such as digital agencies and systems integrators, who tend to have developed practices around multiple software vendors. This means that market success, and clearly, per Gartner, Episerver has strong momentum, requires well-established partner relationships. Selling and marketing to and with partners is just as important as generating direct demand. Episerver for instance, and in recognition of this, recently added six new resources in the USA – aimed solely on partner engagement, development, marketing, and sales support. Gaining partner mindshare is key to success in WCM.” He also stated in the Episerver’s press release: “Again being recognized as a Leader by Gartner, we feel is a strong validation of our capabilities and global partner ecosystem.”

Kentico The Newbie 

In the past, the report cited Kentico under the list of vendors who would provide a very high value to any client looking for quality content management but haven’t been able to meet the revenue threshold. This year Kentico made the cut and entered the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for web content management, being named a ‘Challenger’. The report recognized the company’s efforts of expansion into the North American market, considering its relatively small size and origins in the Czech Republic. From the users’ perspective, the report states the vendor’s offerings are an excellent value for the money but lag behind its close rivals in terms of the breadth of capabilities, that’s why the research firm warns decision makers to make sure the available functionality is adequate for their current and future requirements.

Our Media Reporter Laura Myers interviewed with Kentico’s CEO Petr Palas and asked him: "To challenge a market is an interesting position to be in and brings about the thought of change, are there ways Kentico is hoping to change the market in the future?" Here’s what he had to say: 


On a side note, Kentico hosts a Digital Marketing and Website Development conference taking place in Las Vegas this November 2nd-4th. The CMS-Connected Show will be recording LIVE at the event to discuss marketing automation and how to best bridge the gap between the sales and marketing teams so that campaigns can succeed.  

Visionary Hippo 

Hippo is the only provider of WCM to make a significant move from the Niche Players to the Visionaries quadrant over the past year. Hippo CMS is the only open-source Java WCM technology included in this report. The reasons behind Hippo’s improved positioning in this year’s Magic Quadrant are “increasing confidence in the commercially supported open-source model”, “its granular, object-oriented architecture”, and “the improved user interface for business roles” in Hippo’s new release, version 11. 

CMS-Connected has reached out to Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, CMO at Hippo, and he stated:  "We believe that being named a Visionary shows how our product is redefining the WCM industry, which is the key part of our future-focused vision. We have a long history in the WCM industry, and in 2008 we noticed that the demands of the customers were going beyond the available WCM solutions and decided to rebuild our product from scratch (which we launched end of in 2010). We first wanted to build this amazing new product before starting to advocate it. Now we have that product, a great partner ecosystem, and happy customers. So the next step is marketing."

However, the report also suggested that “Hippo’s marketing execution lags behind that of some competitors” and “need to make further efforts to differentiate itself.” Therefore, Brenninkmeijer also weighed in on these comments for our readers and explained: “As a bootstrap company, we knew we had to do things differently, so we are executing a marketing strategy which is aimed at more viral marketing tactics with our open-source model, and most importantly, providing a product and service that makes our customers love and advocate for us. And the numbers show that we’re on the right track." 

Meanwhile, Microsoft is given the boot as it has focused its attention more on the digital workplace and less on WCM, according to Gartner. However, I believe that Microsoft will surge back next year. 

Market Overview 

The report points out that technological advances are enabling a new level of possibility, and the aspirations of innovative companies are increasing. Therefore, for many organizations deploying WCM, greater agility is the essence of their strategy to deliver engaging, seamless digital experiences. In this regard, here is the Gartner’s analysts’ input on the market: 

  • The concept of customers for life" is the approach that brands should take to keep established customers.

  • The "outbound" and "inbound" communications will replace the "continuous communication." It’s the WCM’s job to make sure of the relevance, sensitivity, and effectiveness of all such communication. 

  • The market is not rigid anymore as it gets more modular, granular and atomic. 

  • Cloud-first strategies will win the day. 

  • Microservices with a high level of interoperability will enable WCM elements to be coupled with different sets of third-party technologies.

Many enterprises choose to only consider vendors on the list and pick one from the Leaders quadrant. Although industry reports like G2 Crowd’s 2016 Summer Report, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (MQ), and Forrester’s Wave help businesses make the best technology decision for their organizations, I do not think that businesses should limit themselves to vendors on these reports when evaluating content management systems. For businesses, it’s imperative to have the right players and plan in place, considering every organization has its own unique needs and goals to meet. For the market, I certainly agree with the conclusion MacComascaigh and Murphy made in the report: “The most exciting days in the WCM market are still ahead.”

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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