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August 17, 2009

Searching the Magic in Gartner’s WCM Quadrant.

Posted by

Brice Le Blévennec

The Web Content Management (WCM) market is a very evolving and very competitive landscape with thousands of providers of WCM solutions in several ranges. For decision makers it’s not always easy to reveal which solution is right for them; enabling them to generate higher business value in their Web presence. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WCM (MQ) aims to help decision makers understanding the fresh vitality in the WCM market.

WCM solutions in their traditional form are no longer enough from a business perspective; the several mergers and acquisitions during the last years in the WCM landscape show that WCM solutions are synergizing with other ECM components like Digital Asset Management (DAM), content-centric collaboration, records- and document management (DM). On top of that organizations often augment WCM tools with capabilities including multivariate testing, search engine optimization, ad-insertion, search and recommendation technology to help achieve the desired results from their overall Web presence.

Gartner identifies the following key trends currently shaping the WCM market further:

  • enhanced usability for non-technical users
  • increased popularity of open source solutions
  • greater interest in Software as a Service (SAAS) offerings
  • growing importance of dynamic context-based content delivery

It’s really a pity that even though there is a clear trend towards open source, no single open source solution was able to make it to the MQ. In fact, Garner’s exclusion criteria make it somehow impossible for an open source solution to enter it. I give an example: “the total software revenue (licenses, updates,…) of the vendor should exceed 8 million dollars”. Of course the ‘pure’ open source solutions will probably never ever reach that figure, since they are totally free of license cost! Maintenance and support is often provided through a network of partners and not directly by a vendor.

There is also inconsistency with the Forrester Wave for WCM (which is, by the way, not including any open source neither). Forrester Research ranks Oracle “only” sixth after SDL Tridion, Autonomy Interwoven and a few others. Gartner ranks Oracle (=Stellent) as the leader in their MQ because of its ability to integrate with other Oracle products, including their CRM system. I’m not really a fan of big monolithic ‘vendor locked-in’ solutions reaching far beyond the boundaries of what I’d define as WCM and which is opposed to the ‘loosely coupled’ & ‘separation of concerns’ principle.

Another thing to keep in mind while reading the report is that many of Gartner’s evaluation remarks have to do with a vendor’s “marketing effectiveness”, “communication” and “awareness”; things that might be more relevant to investors and other vendors but not so much to buyers. The report is from that perspective often too high-level and strategic ignoring the details that are often so important. I’m following Tony Byrne from CMS Watch here stating ‘To evaluate a WCM solution the vendor’s story does not really matter, what they actually do matters’.

Even though the MQ contains valuable information about the WCM market our advice is not to use it as your only source in the decision process for your WCM and to look at it from the right perspective: keeping in mind that it is not purely an evaluation of WCM solutions, otherwise it could be misleading.

Searching the Magic in Gartner’s WCM Quadrant. | Digital Asset Management

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