Sunday, February 12, 2012

Web Content Management

Vendor Strengths and Cautions


Adobe acquired Day Software in October 2010, which provided it with the products and positioning necessary to make a stronger impact on the core WCM market. In February 2011, Adobe released its Web Experience Management solution, formerly known as CQ 5.4. (See "Vendor Rating: Adobe.")

  • The acquisition of Day makes Adobe a leader in this space. Its solution's look and feel make it one of the best Java-based products in the WCM market. Non-IT users like its usability and give it consistently positive reports.
  • Adobe has prioritized close integration between its WCM technologies and the analytics capabilities from its acquisition of Omniture. The inclusion of technologies from Day has given the market clarity and direction. The pursuit of a "customer experience platform" pits Adobe squarely against other large companies in this market.
  • Adobe has embraced its mobile strategy. Adobe's additional capabilities and excellent reputation in the area of mobile technologies will enhance its ability to support customers as they strive for more relevant, context-aware, cross-channel interactions with audiences. Clients can build out their online channel, and key verticals can include their plans for mobile applications into this more cohesive strategy.
  • When Adobe targets marketing, including chief marketing officers (CMOs), it must do a better job of differentiating itself from best-of-breed vendors, as well as from stack players. Its messaging is trying to catch up with the market, whereas Adobe should try to drive the market further. This shortcoming may confuse the market and unnecessarily extend sales cycles in a market where sought-after solutions are becoming more complex.
  • Adobe needs to improve its sales strategy and execution. It needs the right type and number of personnel who can articulate the value of an optimized online strategy for specific industries and then guide customers to success.
  • Many customers are confused about how they can build broader, more effective strategies that incorporate more of Adobe's capabilities. Gartner still receives inquiries from clients who use Omniture but who have not been contacted by Adobe to help them exploit synergies with CQ5. Adobe has announced, however, that it has merged the business units that managed Omniture and the CQ5 (and other enterprise products for customer experience) product families. This should help, but it remains to be seen how quickly this alignment will address the challenges mentioned and enable Adobe to be more aggressive in competing against the interoperability capabilities of best-of-breed WCM vendors.


Atex has a long history in the newspaper, media and publishing sectors, particularly concerning editorial content management, advertising, subscriptions and supporting digital strategies.

  • Atex has made significant efforts to expand the quantity and diversity of its partners for its sales, advisory and implementation channels. This partnering strategy will give Atex more OCO capabilities and help it achieve significant interoperability in the broader ecosystem of technologies required for OCO.
  • Atex has the expertise, reputation in advertisement placement technology and intellectual property needed to help clients achieve multichannel experiences that are context aware. Atex needs to translate this messaging to verticals beyond media, such as gaming, entertainment, travel and leisure.
  • Atex has emphasized its relatively new Atex Tablet Publishing (ATP). Although promoting one channel in a market that focuses more on multichannel or cross-channel engagement carries risks, the popularity of the iPad for which ATP is designed will help Atex gain visibility and traction, particularly in the media industry where clients are eager to find new ways of making money from content that now appears "free" on their websites.
  • Atex has not yet expanded its reputation significantly beyond the media industry. It does have reference customers in other verticals (a requirement for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant), but it still runs the risk of its client base eroding before it gains traction in neighboring verticals.
  • Gartner rarely sees Atex (Polopoly) shortlisted — even where it would provide a good functional fit. Atex has improved its overall marketing, but its messaging and execution trail those of many competitors.
  • Atex claims to have a cohesive strategy for companies to manage their online and offline channels together, rather than in silos or integrated through custom code. However, interactions between Gartner and such companies suggest that these claims are either overstated or that Atex has not communicated exactly how clients can achieve this with the latest technology offered. Atex must be clearer about what components it can provide and more pragmatic in helping these clients execute on such a vision.


With IBM Web Content Manager 7.0, IBM seeks to expand its influence and appeal to marketing executives and other influential business roles. Though IBM continues to offer Web Content Manager as a stand-alone product, its Customer Experience Suite combines WCM with portal, e-commerce, analytics and application integration, among other capabilities, including FileNet Content Manager.

  • IBM Web Content Manager's integration with WebSphere Portal enables customers to integrate applications and data sources via a wide range of mechanisms, including through prebuilt portlets and widgets, specific connectors, packaged adaptors, development tools and standards support. The WebSphere Portal integration also allows enterprises to use a common personalization engine and shared authorization repository that applies to both content and applications, thereby avoiding the redundancy and conflict often created when companies implement separate WCM and portal software.
  • Web Content Manager already has a large, active customer base. It has undeniable growth potential due to its bundling with WebSphere Portal and other assets, IBM's large ecosystem of partners, its global presence with operations in 170 countries, and expert sales and consulting relationships with large financial services, government, telecom, retail and healthcare companies.
  • Web Content Manager is architected and instrumented for analytics, whether the analytics comes from IBM or partners. Web Content Manager and WebSphere Portal work with Omniture, Webtrends, and IBM's own Coremetrics and Unica subsidiaries to deliver "Active Site Analytics." This enables enterprises to track data about user behavior in the site examined and send it to a partnering service for analysis.
  • Customers continue to report usability issues with Web Content Manager. With v.7, IBM has managed to close the gap somewhat in this regard between it and other offerings in the market. However, in Gartner conversations with clients that removed IBM from their shortlists, we observe that the vast majority did so because of usability. As IBM adds product capabilities and builds Customer Experience Management, the vendor is hard pressed to create both a seamless experience for business users and a cohesive, easy-to-deploy platform for IT organizations.
  • For some customers, Web Content Manager is hitched too firmly to the WebSphere Portal Platform. A unified portal WCM platform may be valuable to enterprises with complex needs, but those with investments in other portal platforms may find the combination unnecessarily burdensome and expensive.
  • Web Content Manager comes up in fewer than 5% of Gartner client calls as a shortlisted option. Even in contexts where the IBM offering might be a potential fit, it tends to be excluded because of price and lack of functions.


SharePoint 2010 and its predecessor's near ubiquity continue to generate massive interest in the product's WCM capabilities. While the product has been used most frequently to support internal content management and collaboration, Microsoft's customers and partners continue to apply the platform to customer- and partner-facing websites.

  • More than 38,000 enterprises use SharePoint for a wide range of purposes. A small portion use SharePoint for their external Web presence, but SharePoint has become the center point of many enterprises' content management and collaboration strategies. Whether provided by Microsoft or its continually growing ecosystem, SharePoint continues to evolve toward enterprise-class solutions.
  • SharePoint constitutes a comprehensive platform that spans formerly separate categories, including content management, search, portals, collaboration, social computing, business intelligence and composite applications.
  • Microsoft has the largest and most vibrant ecosystem of consulting, implementation, system integration, independent software and infrastructure partners of any WCM provider.
  • SharePoint remains a general-purpose technology. It lacks refinements geared to specific business scenarios and influencers, such as marketers, who often lead online initiatives. SharePoint's personalization and content-targeting features, which are urgent needs for external websites, are still largely geared toward internal scenarios. The success of other .NET WCM systems, such as those of Ektron and Sitecore, indicate that Microsoft less readily suits the needs of online marketers.
  • Although the SharePoint for Internet Sites edition makes licensing more attractive in externally facing situations, enterprises looking to provide collaborative, social, advanced search, analytics and business process facilities to external audiences will pay a relatively high price. The most advanced deployments will require SharePoint for Internet Sites, Enterprise, as well as a separate license for FAST Search. These substantial license costs — in addition to implementation, customization and design services to equip SharePoint for an advanced and readily consumable WCM platform — will make cost higher for many customers than competitors with more specialized and out-of-the-box WCM capability.
  • SharePoint's WCM capability does not match well with some established third-party portals and e-commerce platforms that are often crucial to customer-facing sites, especially Java EE offerings from providers such as IBM, Oracle and OpenText. While SharePoint has improved interoperability with support for standards such as WSRP and Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS), SharePoint is rarely used as a WCM system in those environments. SharePoint is, however, being used increasingly as a document management system for some Java-oriented sites. Customers looking for cohesive and uncomplicated integration between WCM and Java-based portal and e-commerce platforms should look to other providers.

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