Reading the tea leaves of recent WCM Analyst reports
Posted by dguarnaccia on August 19, 2009
It’s been quite an exciting couple of weeks in the WCM world with 2 major analyst firms releasing reports that rate key vendors in the market. Both Gartner and Forrester published new reports, and the reaction and debate on the Gartner report has been spirited to say the least. Gartner released their Magic Quadrant for the Web Content Management market, an upgrade from last years Market Scope. The reason they felt they needed a Magic Quadrant was because they felt that WCM marketplace as a whole was starting to reinvent itself, and was starting to shake loose of the commoditization that had gripped that marketplace for last few years. Gartner explains it this way “In the past year, the market has experienced dynamic, evolutionary trends that once again warrant its coverage in a Gartner Magic Quadrant” You can see the entire report here: http://sitecore.net/en/Products/Resources/whitepapers/Gartner-Magic-Quadrant-2009.aspx
Overall, I think a lot of the confusion stems from what the 2 Axes mean. You can read of official definition in the MQ report, but in my experience, the two different measures come down to this: Ability to execute means company size and financial backing and Completeness of vision is more tied to product strategy and current offering. When taken with that perspective, then the MQ chart starts to make a lot more sense.
In a nutshell, you have Opentext, Autonomy and Oracle positioned vertically higher than the rest of the pack due to their size and weight in the marketplace and a relatively decent track record, while some of the more capable offerings like Sitecore and Tridion (Tridion being ranked higher vertically than Sitecore due to being owned by SDL, a publicly traded company) are postioned furthest to the right as leaders in terms of product capabilities and strategy. In the challenger quadrant, we have IBM, EMC and Microsoft all postioned moderately vertically high, but very low on the product capability front, which aligns to what most of us know about the WCM capabilities of MOSS, IBM’s LWCM, and the Documentum WCM components. Companies in the niche quadrant are just that, emerging new vendors that are small, and have a very tight focus instead of broad appeal. As a marketer for Sitecore, I’m very happy with this positioning. It validates our direction, particularly with our Online Marketing Suite and I see this as confirmation from Gartner that Sitecore is delivering what they feel is the future of our marketplace.
I also mentioned that Forrester recently published a report. This week, Forrester released their new report entitled “Five Additional Options To Consider For Web Content Management” that can be found on the Sitecore site here: http://www.sitecore.net/en/Products/Resources/whitepapers/Forrester-5-Additional-Options-for-WCM.aspx As you might know, Forrester has a strict rule about how many vendors they’ll cover in their evaluation reports, called “waves”. They limit those reports to a maximum of 10 vendors. In June, Forrester released the Wave report titled “The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management For External Sites, Q2 2009” and Sitecore wasn’t included in that Wave due to missing the revenue requirements by the smallest of margins. The 5 Additional Options report was created largely to cover a few key vendors that Forrester wanted to include in the Wave, but couldn’t due to Wave Methodology restrictions. What is interesting about this report is that it talks about the new emerging vendors (Sitecore and 4 others) that are starting to challenge the larger, more established vendors. While I would argue that we are a large, established player already, and are easily larger than Tridion and Day (who are covered in the Wave) in terms of WCM Sofware sales, it’s still think the report is a good one. Sitecore again does very well, being highly ranked in all categories, and outscores all the other vendors in the report.
So what does this all mean? I think the bigest complaint that everyone has about these reports is that they aren’t really helping you select a short list at first glance, and they are mixing apples and oranges in some ways. I think there are a few things you can take away from these two reports in general. First, that vendors on the right side of the MQ are in most cases are a better bet than ones on the left side. My arguement here is that the further to the right the vendor is, the more in touch that vendor is with the marketplace and future direction. Remember, WCM investments are 3-5 year investments. Its’ important to find a vendor that will keep investing and growing the platform you purchase. Vertically speaking, you can get a feel for the organizations abilty to deliver what they said they will. What kind of war chest they have at their disposal. Is it fool proof? Of course not. Some people call the challenger quadrant the “quadrant of death” because those vendors have the resources to execute but choose not to execute strongly in the given space. Should you use these charts and reports to pick a WCM vendor? No, you shouldn’t. These reports are conversation starters. They help you figure out who to talk to, and help you build a list that gets you to a short list, but not necessarily to provide you one ready made.
My suggestion is this: If you have access to analysts firms such as Gartner or Forrester, setup an inquiry and tell them what your goals and requirements are, and let them guide you. Both organization do 1000’s of inquiries on WCM selection and can give you some excellent advice. There are also a lot of excellent selection consultants that can guide you through the process (for a fee of course 🙂 ).
Good luck reading your own personal tea leaves.