Research giant Gartner recently released its Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WCM) report, outlining strategies and techniques for optimizing company Web sites for efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Authors of the report include Toby Bell, vice president in Gartner Research; Mick MacComascaigh, research director with Gartner Research and the lead analyst for Web content management; and Jim Murphy, research director in Gartner's Web and Cloud group.
The report stresses access, experience, consumability, usability, and interoperability when designing web sites for the customer experience. Bell, MacComascaigh, and Murphy also discuss the impact of portable devices like iPads, netbooks, and smartphones on website design and what should be taken into consideration by organizations.
"There's no doubt that community and mobility represent new horizons for online channel optimization," says Bell. "Many Gartner clients ranging from traditional media to financial services to government agencies have wondered on inquiry calls whether they should ‘invest in an iPad app.' I wonder aloud in these discussions whether they can better attract the attention of users by leveraging critical mass in social communities rather than isolating their content in an independent application that may or may not capture the attention of broader audiences. Generally, I would advise prototyping for devices only after I have a strategy that supports the business value in doing so."
According to Bell, understanding the context of audiences is essential to web site design. He says that context and experience are continuing to "overlap," creating an impact on the customer. The problem, atleast so far, is that impact marketing has yet to be fully understood by businesses or effective analytics.
Bell elaborates that, at present, the customer experience greatly depends on speed and that user experiences should be perfected with this component in mind. Although the report does stress both Internet application interoperability and information interoperability, Bell recognizes that, "The business may have a hard time distinguishing."
Bell explains, "The former will depend on interfaces and the latter will depend on semantic mediation and RDF/XML. This will happen industry by industry and [WCM] as a platform won't be isolated in their online channel optimization toolbox. Portals, RIA, Web services, standards, etc. will all partly define how [WCM] fits in a broader ecosystem of information exchange and user experiences."
"The simple rule for organizations: understand the outcomes you're hoping to achieve and continuously measure against targets," advises Bell.
As with all Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, the vendors were placed in one of four categories:
Leaders, according to the report, are responsible for "market transformation." They're set for for the future, have strong partners, broad platform support, and good customer support:
- Oracle's Fusion Middleware strategy has seen influence from its content management capabilities. WCM is "an integral component of Universal Content Management (UCM) 11g." Oracle has seen recent improvements to UCM and has "done well to intregrate its Site STudio WCM capabilities as part of its WebCenter portal strategy."
- Autonomy was first recognized in March 2009 with its purchases of Interwoven. Since this acquisition, the company has enchanced its technology set and added more capailities through intregration and analytics platform. Autonomy currently has a strong focus on particular business scenarios and improving usability making them one of Gartner's leaders.
- Open Text has the largest market share in WCM. Its two main WCM offering include Web Site Management and Web Experience Management (based on the acquisitions of RedDot and Vignette.
- SDL sees its WCM product as part of its bigger strategy for "Global Information Management." SDL has seen growth through acquisition and continued development of products like SDL Tridlon, along with other models that optimize online experience, have raised the quality, innovation, and expected value in the market.
- Sitecore's flagship product is based on .NET. In 2009, the company added Online Marketing Suite to its core platform. Recently, Sitcore added Email Compaign Manager to enhance marketing and sales execution in the B2B domain. Sitecore is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
- FatWire Software was one of the first vendors in the WCM community to focus on optimizing user experience over technology. FatWeire has excelled in selling to prospects in sales and marketing and has sustained a higher growth than the overall WCM market. Its flagship Content Server product is in its seventh major release.
Challengers have strong products, but lack a product strategy that reflects market trends.
- Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server 2007 was popular immiedately upon release. Microsoft's focus on core platform capabilities has permitted independent software vendors, Web agencies, and implementation partners to build their own business models on the foundation of this business strategy. Microsoft is "one of the richest partner ecosystems in the WCM market."
- IBM has worked steadily to add analytics, social media, and personalization to IBM Lotus and continues to gain customer interest in a world of mobility, context-aware, and cloud-hosted solutions. IBM Lotus's WCM offfering is part of the users experience strategy of IBM Project Northstar.
Visionaries are very technically focused and possess innovation for developing and marketing products. Their weaknesses lie in financial strength, execution, community accpetance, or developing strong partnerships
- Clickability has a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that is composed of open-source components. Clickability has recently extended its capabilities with Website Marketing Acceleration giving a strong reputation as a provider of SaaS-based horizontal solutions.
- CoreMedia's content management system (CMS) platform is now in its fifth major release. Although CoreMedia has previously been defined as a Niche Player, but since improving its scores in innovation, marketing understanding, and market strategy, Gartner has named it a Visionary.
- EPiSever's flagship offering, CMS, has been on the market for 11 years and is in its sixth major release. In addition to being a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, EpiServer has demonstrated consistent success in developing "strong footholds" outside its home of Scandinavia by attracting many customers and partners in other regions. EpiServer has proved to be a success in the open-source community and has made many software components available as open-source.
- Ektron was formly known for providing an in-context Web authoring tool for techbnology providoers. But, Ektron has evolved, providing "high-quality, high-usuable WCM" for enterprises known for innovoation. Its flagship offering CMS400.NET is in its eighth major release with modules for marketing optimization, analytics, e-commerce, and social media. Ektron is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
- Day Software's flagship Communique offering is in its fifth major release. The Communique offering, based on Java EE has a "two-pronged appeal," according to the report: "delivering optimized multichannel campaigns for makreting organizations and providing a versatile platform for broader, integrated ECM efforts."
Niche Players focus on a segment of the market and only support applications that apply to that specific segment.
- Altex has been known for providing solutions to the digital media industry. Atex's expertise in this domain coupled with the horizontal capabilities of the WCM is "highly sought after" in today's market.
- Alterian no longer produces the SaaS-based Peperrio that appealed to small enterprises. The company now offers Alterian Content Manager, formerly known as Morello. Autonomy has also pruchased Techrigy and its SM2 product to supporting online engagement with social media monitoring and analytics.
- Percussion Software has been marketing the Percussion Approach, a mix of its CMS and solutions and services. Its strategy goes beyond simple WCM and includes community marketing, social media, and analytics. The flagship Percussion CM System products, previously known as Rythmyz, is in its sixth major release.
- Dynamicweb Software markets products that have a strong focus on WCM and e-commerce. Traditionally, Dynamicweb Software has narrowed its interests on small and midsize companies, but it has increased interopability for more complex solutions, making the company more appealing to large enterprises.