Thoughts on the Forrester Wave for Content Management Suites

Dwayne Doshier is a Strategic Consulting Lead

Forrester Consulting
The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q4 2018, has been released. After careful review and analysis, we’ve generated some thoughts and insights on what it all means.

General Impressions

  1. Scoring has changed to reflect the increasing importance of service partners and practitioner support. Few manufacturers, distributors, or retailers have the platform-specific expertise or the integration expertise to deliver complex implementations of content management systems (CMS) with ecommerce, product information management (PIM), digital asset management (DAM), product lifecycle management (PLM) and analytics. Forrester rightfully recognized the importance of partners by allocating 25% of the strategy score to partner programs, the same weighting as having a viable cloud-based offering. Leading platform providers have invested in building strong partner networks with technology skills and domain expertise as a differentiator. Platform providers that have developed a strong partner network have shifted the focus of supporting the developer – frequently provided by a partner – to supporting end users with configuration tools, educational offerings, and meaningful communities of interest. Practitioner support is a new scoring criteria worth 10% of the strategy score.
  2. Providers are no longer hesitant to focus on an industry vertical. Amplience stormed into the strong performer category with a focus primarily on D2C retail and an offering that provides campaign-centric tools well suited to collaborative planning across marketing, merchandising, and creative teams. Amplience’s native cloud offering outscored several of the Leaders in cloud strategy and in pricing transparency, both critical inputs to making informed platform selection decisions.
  3. Platform provider strategies clearly recognize that a CMS alone cannot provide the full customer experience. Vision is much less important as a scoring factor than the prior Wave because the needs of the market are clear. Momentum has shifted toward microservice architectures and headless APIs that enable integration of content management with the commerce platform and broader technology ecosystem. The decision between CMS and commerce to “own the glass” for defining and delivering the experience is much less relevant than integrations that provide graceful solutions to complex interactions across brand, product, purchase, service, support, and sales enablement.

WCMS Platform Perspectives

Our thoughts on a few of Gorilla’s partners providers covered in the Wave:

  • Adobe continues to be the dominant leader in strength of current offering and market presence. Adobe Experience Manager has few solution gaps and is a compelling choice for marketing driven organizations that can also benefit from Adobe’s marketing, data, and analytics products. In 2018, we saw increased demand for Adobe Experience Manager to provide multichannel consistency across websites and digital signage, a capability almost completely unique to Adobe’s offering. The recent acquisition of Magento and a formalized mid-market offering will continue to attract customers seeking a single technology provider even as the technologies are different.
  • Sitecore has moved into the leader category based on a breadth of strategic choices to refresh leadership, partner with Salesforce, and acquire a DAM. Sitecore earned the highest overall score for strategy including top scores for their partner program and extensive support for the .NET developer community. The overall score for current offering also is strong, with a notable high score for the variety of extensions available from the Sitecore marketplace. We continue to see significant investment in Sitecore by branded manufacturers desiring to deliver personalized experiences. In B2B manufacturing industries, brands using Sitecore are integrating with best-in-class commerce engines, further reinforcing the value that Sitecore provides in delivering personalized experiences based on buying as a job rather than shopping as a consumer.
  • Bloomreach maintained a strong current offering while significantly expanding market presence. Creating a leading product, integrating an acquisition, and growing the customer base are incredibly difficult to do individually. Bloomreach addressed all three needs. Bloomreach earned the second highest score for current offering, higher than Sitecore and Acquia – both in the Leader category. Achieving a high score for current offering required commitment to integrating the acquisition of Hippo CMS. Their clear focus on the retail roadmap will continue to enhance search and merchandising capabilities and a commerce offering has been announced for “folks who are tired of being Amazoned”.
  • Amplience can disrupt with a new approach for a plan-driven, campaign-centric management approach to CMS based on a deep understanding of the multiple teams that create content for retail organizations. The vision to “create once, publish anywhere” is the nirvana for retailers serving content to a branded website, a seasonal microsite, a mobile app, and emerging voice technologies using content from copywriters, graphic designers, photographers, and third parties, all requiring legal review. Moving content planning from an ad hoc process of maintaining a spreadsheet into a digital workflow supported by an online campaign calendar has the potential to enable organizations to deliver time-sensitive campaigns. The second highest score in content offering and the top score in cloud offering reinforce the relevance of Amplience as a new addition to the Wave.

Expectations for 2019

Gorilla expects 2019 to be filled with acquisitions and better use of back-office data to deliver experiences:

  • B2B ecommerce platforms will acquire CMS technology to deliver the complex experiences required by B2B buyers. Leading ecommerce platforms address the transactional needs of complex catalogs, personalized pricing, and purchasing paths but provide limited capabilities for the pre-purchase brand experience or the post-purchase service experience. The recent Forrester Wave™ for B2B Commerce Suites highlighted the specific content management capability gaps in this area, with only 3 providers noted to provide sufficient functionality.
  • Big data is all the rage, but a better use of existing ERP and CRM data in content driven experiences is the near-term opportunity for most manufacturers and distributors. Common data models, microservices architectures, and APIs will continue to unlock the value of back-office data in ERP and CRM for customer-facing experiences, including CMS. The Open Data Initiative between Adobe, Microsoft, and SAP seeks to unlock the ERP and CRM data in Microsoft Dynamics and SAP HANA for better use in the Adobe Experience Cloud. The Salesforce Customer 360 product – currently in closed pilot but expected to be released in 2019 – will act as a hub between separate Salesforce clouds including the commerce clouds and a potential acquisition of a CMS.

Gorilla will continue to create experiences that deliver outsized business results for our customers. Our partnerships with Leaders and Strong Performers in the Forrester Wave for Content Management Suites provide the technology framework for leading B2B and B2C companies. Our people deliver the results to change businesses and industries.