Content Engineering, Insights

The 2015 Gartner WCM Magic Quadrant: Our Reactions and Takeaways!

Gartner Magic Quadrant

Depending on where you sit, you either love the Gartner Magic Quadrant, or you hate it.

You love it as an IT manager tasked with due diligence to select a new CMS. As the media in the web content management space, it gives you something to talk about and sound credible. As a participating WCM vendor, you love the promise of all those new leads you may now see by merely being added to the short list of many selection committees.

And you may also hate the MQ. As a smaller vendor that does not meet the inclusion criteria, you can only dream of your time in the spotlight.  As an analyst, you likely have your own view of the vendor landscape. And as marketer, you’re probably asking “who the heck is Gartner”.

For us at Kanban, we love to see our technology partners like Adobe, Hippo, HP, and IBM recognized for their success. Working hands-on with many of the tools in the MQ, we have our own opinion-shaping experiences that may not always align with Gartner’s view. Most of all, we are excited by what the MQ suggests as far as the state of the WCM market.

The Magic Quadrant aims to provide a qualitative analysis into a market and its direction, maturity and participants. Gartner analysts rate vendors upon two criteria: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Using a methodology which Gartner does not disclose, analysts’ component scores lead to a vendor position in one of four quadrants: Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players.

Taking an annual snapshot of a very dynamic industry is not always very telling. So we thought we would compare the 2015 MQ to the 2014 MQ to illuminate our perspective in 5 key findings…so here goes!

Finding #1 – Leaders create some distance from the rest. Comparing the two most recent MQs, we see a much broader distribution of vendors across the quadrants. More vendors can be found in the upper right and lower left extremes in 2015 over 2014, suggesting a more stringent and granular review process by Gartner.  This also suggests that leaders, with greater resources, are able to make larger investments in product development.   True?  Not so fast…

Gartner Quote

Finding #2 – HP, IBM, Oracle remain leaders, but lose ground to Sitecore & Adobe. HP, IBM and Oracle have larger coffers than Sitecore and probably Adobe, so perhaps sheer numbers are not the difference makers.  Perhaps it’s a matter of focus and execution. IBM, HP and Oracle have diverse product portfolios where WCM represents a fraction of their business. Could this have such dramatic ramifications? Sitecore is very focused on content and commerce, and it shows in their features and functions as a standout amongst the .NET field, but it is a relatively smaller player. Adobe, a large organization with diverse products, is focused enough on the marketer and WCM to move the needle in the MQ, but for the first time in several years, Adobe must watch as Sitecore edges them out in their ability to execute.  We tend to think the unification of content and commerce for both Sitecore and Adobe is making an impact here.

Finding #3 – Microsoft, Acquia and eZ Systems make big moves, not all in the right direction.  Microsoft falls down and to the left with the largest year-over-year shift, suggesting its focus on intranets is paying off only in terms of its ability to alienate the bulk of the WCM market.  Acquia demonstrated the largest upward and to the right move of any vendor, suggesting that the PHP community is finding refuge in the open-source-plus-support model.  Time will tell if the enterprise starts taking PHP/Drupal seriously.

Finding #4 – “Open Source Plus” is gaining traction.  Hippo, with their open source plus benefits model (Hippo is the only Java-based open source vendor in the MQ), and Acquia’s relatively strong performance as the MQ’s PHP/Drupal contingent, suggests the promise of open source platforms with enterprise level support has a robust value proposition.  These vendor options provide lower cost support subscriptions compared to enterprise software’s complex license models and often come with vibrant developer communities, however, by our accounts, the mid-market will lead this sea change with large enterprises sure to follow.

Finding #5 – Modest change despite a volatile market. The WCM space is certainly not idle.  There are perhaps 50+ viable vendors in the market, with new players entering all the time. Setting Gartner’s inclusion criteria aside, the MQ represents a fraction of the market with just 19 vendors.  Real Story Group, for example, covers about 35 WCM vendors. So with all of this in mind, you would expect more changes.  Hippo is the only new product in the MQ this year.  Telerik was purchased by Progress and Ektron was absorbed by EPiServer. So are we entering a period of stagnation for this space?  Absolutely not, argues Forrester and many others. A report like this MQ is really just surface-level evaluation of the players and represents little in terms of features and functions.  There are many strong niche players in the MQ that perform at or above the level of the Leaders quadrant, particularly around core content management features and functions.  There are many vendors not noted in the MQ at all that may be right for you.

Bonus Finding – Language matters, or does it? Just 3 (Automattic/Wordpress, eZ Systems and Acquia) out of the 19 vendors in the MQ are built with PHP as the application platform.  The remaining 16 split fairly evenly between Java and .Net, however, amongst the leaders quadrant, there is a noticeable bias towards Java (6 Java, 1 PHP and 2 .Net).   With SaaS/cloud options aplenty, language is likely to diminish in importance for all but the most technical of buyers.


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