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The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems

 

 FOR APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT & DELIVERY PROFESSIONALS
The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q4 2018

The 15 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

By Mark Grannan with Allen Bonde Madeline King

Why Read This Report

In our 26-criterion evaluation of web content management system (web CMS) providers, we identified the 15 most significant ones — Acquia, Adobe, Amplience, Automattic, BloomReach, Contentful, CoreMedia, Crownpeak, Episerver, Kentico Software, Magnolia, OpenText, Progress, SDL, and Sitecore — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report shows how each provider measures up and helps digital experience (DX) and strategy professionals make the right choice.

Key Takeaways

Adobe, Acquia, And Sitecore Lead The Pack

Forrester’s research uncovered a market in which Adobe, Acquia, and Sitecore are Leaders; Episerver, BloomReach, Amplience, and Kentico are Strong Performers; Contentful, SDL, Automattic, OpenText, Magnolia, and CoreMedia are Contenders; and Crownpeak and Progress are Challengers.

APIs, Content Analytics, And Cross-Channel Delivery Are Key Differentiators

As traditional web CMS technology becomes outdated and less effective, improved content analytics, APIs, and cross-channel delivery dictate which providers lead the pack. Vendors that can provide flexible content architecture, smarter content management, and flexible cross-channel delivery position themselves to successfully support their organization’s experience-led transformation.

DX Pros Are Looking For Vision And Momentum From Web CMS Partners

The web CMS market is growing because more digital professionals see web CMS as a way to address their top challenges. This market growth is largely due to the fact that digital pros increasingly trust web CMS providers to act as strategic partners, advising them on top CMS decisions.

KEEP AN EYE ON FIVE KEY CAPABILITIES FOR YOUR WEB CMS STRATEGY

Channel-centric technologies are increasingly under threat as enterprises pivot to embrace digital journeys that span channels and time. The evolution from web CMS, to experience CMS, to headless CMS, and next to agile CMS reflects how this landscape is responding to changing customer needs. (see endnote 1) We may not even call this a web CMS in the future. For current strategies, digital leaders should ask questions around five key capabilities to invest in the right solution for their organization:
  • 1. Practitioner-centric insights accelerate content processes across channels. Do our practitioners have easy-to-use tools that incorporate insights into their content workflows? Do these tools enable collaboration and content planning to replace or complement slow, serial processes?
  • 2. APIs support flexible delivery into a myriad of channels. How many channels do we want to support with common content? What security and permissions features do we need to secure our APIs? Do we have the development expertise to leverage API-first solutions?
  • 3. JavaScript (JS) components and frameworks increase app-like dynamism. Is static content limiting our customer engagement? Can we deliver significant performance improvements by blending client- and server-side elements? Are we failing to attract new talent because we don’t use modern frameworks?
  • 4. Microservices architecture streamlines integrations and releases. Will a service layer approach relieve integration stress on the CMS and core systems? Can modern integration and deployment techniques accelerate releases? Do we want to use this platform for more than web infrastructure?
  • 5. Cloud promises faster time-to-market, elastic scaling, and AI/ML features. (see endnote 2) Can we gain cost and operational efficiencies by moving out of the data center? How would cloud-enabled portability and scalability support new types of development? Would new cloud-based services like smart image tagging accelerate our content supply chain?

WEB CMS EVALUATION OVERVIEW

To assess the state of the web CMS market and see how the vendors stack up against each other, Forrester evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of top web CMS vendors. After examining past research, user need assessments, and vendor and expert interviews, we developed a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria. We evaluated vendors against 26 criteria, which we grouped into three high-level buckets:
  • Current offering. Each vendor’s position on the vertical axis of the Forrester Wave™ graphic indicates the strength of its current offering. Key criteria for these solutions include: content (e.g., analytics and contextualization); experience operations (e.g., web, multichannel, and governance); architecture (e.g., extensibility and deployment); and extensions (e.g., testing and optimization, eCommerce, and site search).
  • Strategy. Placement on the horizontal axis indicates the strength of the vendors’ strategies. We evaluated each vendor’s vision, cloud strategy, service partner program, pricing transparency, developer program, and practitioner program.
  • Market presence. Represented by the size of the markers on the graphic, our market presence scores reflect each vendor’s product customer count and global presence.

Evaluated Vendors And Inclusion Criteria

Forrester included 15 vendors in the assessment: Acquia, Adobe, Amplience, Automattic, BloomReach, Contentful, CoreMedia, Crownpeak, Episerver, Kentico Software, Magnolia, OpenText, Progress, SDL, and Sitecore ( see Figure 1 ). Each of these vendors has:
  • A track record as the primary solution or essential supporting pillar for web content management in large organizations. Specifically, current Forbes Global 1000 customers cite them as a strategic customer-facing or partner-facing web platform.
  • Forrester clients that express interest in learning more about the evaluated vendors, frequently asking about the evaluated vendors within the context of inquiry, advisory, and/or consulting.
  • Enterprise customers and local operations (support and account management) in at least two major regions (North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, or the Middle East and North Africa) for at least the past year.
  • Three referenceable, current enterprise customers (using this version or a recent as-a-service release).
  • Regional or global service partners that have supported enterprise-level deployments in the past year.
Figure 1: Evaluated Vendors And Product Information

VENDOR PROFILES

We intend this evaluation of the web CMS market to be a starting point only and encourage clients to view detailed product evaluations and adapt criteria weightings to fit their individual needs through the Forrester Wave Excel-based vendor comparison tool ( see Figure 2 andsee Figure 3 ). Click the link at the beginning of this report on Forrester.com to download the tool.
Figure 2: Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q4 2018

Figure 3: Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems Scorecard, Q4 2018

Leaders

  • Adobe paves the way for a cloud-first, insights-driven future. Adobe’s focus now includes a pragmatic, cloud-first, midmarket bundling that incorporates more Analytics and Target capabilities and is more approachable and affordable than piecing investments together from the broader Experience Cloud offering. Adobe’s strengths include simplified pricing in early 2018, a historically strong partner program, and relatively strong practitioner enablement with Experience League. However, references continue to mention the high-cost/low-utilization conundrum. Others told us about the developer program’s growing pains with changing the courses and certifications. While Adobe’s partner program remains large and sophisticated, clients said that partners had Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) developer quality issues resulting from high demand.
  • AEM Sites now includes “Experience Fragments” that enable practitioners to combine content “chunks” into reusable groups for rapid assembly. Adobe’s embedded content analytics capabilities stand out, even though the entire field is still immature here. Contextualization is also a standout, as Adobe’s Live Copy feature allows for flexible inheritance. Conversely, Adobe’s weaknesses stem from most references not yet using many of its features like Experience Fragments, and while Adobe’s extensibility strategy is getting stronger with the pivot to Adobe I/O, it’s still focusing on the Adobe portfolio first and foremost.
  • AEM Sites remains a top choice for enterprise marketing buyers demanding sophisticated tools, but increasingly, Adobe is also a good fit for experience-led midmarket organizations of all industries, even government, given its well-rounded compliance certifications.
  • Acquia streamlines and embraces headless, with better practitioner tools on the way. Acquia has overhauled its strategy in 2017 and 2018 with the addition of two OEM’d products and an almost entirely new executive team. Acquia Cloud’s strategic strengths center on Amazon Web Services (AWS)-centric optimizations leveraging more native services and streamlined multisite management from Cloud Site Factory, about which one reference said, “Before, you had to decide day one between the two paths. Now you can adjust as you go.” Acquia’s strategic weaknesses include a lack of cloud portability (e.g., Docker), and practitioners’ user programs are left primarily to partners. Additionally, practitioner-centric features such as automatic upgrades and a simplified authoring UI are slated for upcoming releases.
  • Acquia Cloud is technically versionless, and the latest Drupal Core release (version 8.5 for this research) could in theory be the last manual upgrade. While Acquia’s current offering is on par for content management basics, Acquia relies on separate products for more advanced features — Acquia Lift, for content syndication, testing, and optimization and Acquia DAM for managing assets at scale. References told us Lift is getting better but still is not on par with other solutions. Acquia’s standout strengths are deployment “pipelines” tooling for continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and overall performance and scalability. Additionally, Acquia’s decoupled approach, including Node.js hosting, enables Cloud Site Factory to drive single-page application (SPA) front-end frameworks.
  • Acquia remains a good fit for technology-led organizations across industries, even government, given its well-rounded compliance certifications, but practitioner tooling will require separate investment in Lift, DAM, and Journey.
  • Sitecore regains momentum with broad cloud and prebuilt accelerator appeal.Sitecore has made dramatic shifts in the past 18 months, including new executive leadership, a full embrace of Azure deployment, a return to midmarket focus, partnership with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and an acquisition of a digital asset management (DAM) provider. Sitecore’s strategic strengths include a historically strong partner program and a healthy set of cloud deployment options. However, references want better road map execution and platform-as-a-service maturity as they wait for the UX “horizon” rewrite for simplified authoring and a new dashboard as well as version 9.1’s (released during this research) official JS framework support.
  • Sitecore Experience Manager has recently brought CRM integration improvements, new AI capabilities, and Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) upgrades. Sitecore’s current capabilities for developers are largely on par with expectations, but marketing features to integrate more content repositories via the Data Exchange Framework and historically strong marketing features for personalization stand out. While two references confirmed running 9.0 and SXA, one reference wanted more ready-made documentation, saying, “It’s too simplistic when setting up personalization.”
  • The real reason to buy Sitecore aligns with its broader platform vision. But Sitecore Experience Manager is a solid set of digital marketing tools that increasingly work with minimal configuration while retaining customizability and the freedom to run in multiple cloud deployment models.

Strong Performers

  • Episerver’s cloud chops and feature set grow but at an almost frantic pace.Episerver’s private equity ownership changed hands during this evaluation. We expect this to accelerate its acquisitive strategy, the pivot to Azure-only deployment, and its focus on embedded AI features. Episerver’s strength for cross-pollinating its acquisitions (e.g., Peerius and CMS) is creating new offering bundles (e.g., “individualized content”). However, Episerver’s strategic push creates a potential disconnect with legacy clients, especially Ektron customers. Episerver’s service partner enablement, especially in North America, needs help, as references cited a lack of online training and testing for the developer program, conflicting quotes for the same bundles, and limited education to the market on this fast-moving portfolio.
  • Episerver’s CMS benefits from refactoring of legacy capabilities into microservices and allows for “laddering up” on key capabilities. For personalization, the core CMS starts with rule-based targeting, and “visitor groups” add persona targeting, but an add-on, Advance, layers on behavioral data personalization. While Episerver released its headless API in March 2018 and a reference SPA using its content delivery API was in progress during this research, many of the advanced features were too recent for references to validate adoption. Additionally, Episerver’s content analytics don’t yet compare with market leaders.
  • Episerver remains a solid choice to accelerate digital engagement, especially when aligned with marketing or eCommerce goals, but increasingly, it’s less solid as a standalone CMS. As Episerver reaches “full” multitenant support in 2019, it should boost its relevance with marketing and eCommerce groups directly.
  • BloomReach’s strong development and personalization need a clearer strategy.After acquiring Hippo CMS, BloomReach has built its strategy on a strong focus on cloud and microservices. BloomReach’s strong cloud strategy focuses on containers, while competitors align with Azure or AWS. Yet challenges remain in the transition of the Hippo community, fragmented documentation, and an unclear vertical focus. References expressed concern over road map transparency and not fitting into BloomReach’s retail focus. BloomReach’s partner ecosystem has yet to break out of its shell, as one reference said they had to train up a third party; however, recent hires point to imminent partner ecosystem focus and growth.
  • BloomReach Experience Manager accelerates digital experience development with a new services layer, dubbed CRISP, to ease integration efforts. A renewed marketplace supports packaged connectors and speeds front-end development with a library of prebuilt modules. One reference cited development and extensibility strengths as the reason they’ll employ it across a wide range of apps. The personalization features remain respectable, and contextualization is a historical strength. However, BloomReach’s UI needs an update, and some enterprise-level capabilities are still lacking, as references cited legacy difficulties with complex permissions and Oracle database support.
  • BloomReach’s retail centricity is a natural fit for commerce-and-content scenarios, which should amplify when BloomReach’s site search is cross-pollinated in 2019. Beyond retail, BloomReach Experience Manager fits well with digital engineering teams that need cloud deployment flexibility but can’t sacrifice merchandiser and marketer tooling.
  • Amplience brings multichannel content planning and delivery for brands and retail.Amplience’s web CMS offering is the newest among this field and focuses on commerce scenarios. It has rapidly gained traction with a strategy that is cloud-native, leverages deep commerce partnerships, and is supported by a hyper-relevant service partner ecosystem focused on retail eCommerce. While Amplience’s developer focus is relatively modern thanks to its microservices architecture, both the developer program and the practitioner program are still forming. Amplience’s limited track record for full-stack web CMS and narrow industry focus limit its strategy score compared to others in this evaluation.
  • On the product front, Amplience’s Dynamic Content’s biggest strength is a unique approach to content planning and collaboration that places a cross-channel, cross-campaign calendar view front and center. While many enterprises in nonretail settings will find this concept foreign, enabling collaborative content planning, tasks, delivery, and high-level attribution all in one platform is a game-changer for commerce scenarios. Amplience does not bake in A/B testing or optimization. One reference told us, “We decided we wanted best-in-class for CMS, and then tie into best-of-breed solutions.” Technology-led groups may find Amplience’s multitenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach and the lack of deployment and configuration controls too much of a change over current web operations.
  • Amplience is a good fit for progressive content-and-commerce scenarios for direct-to-consumer retail organizations that demand upfront collaborative planning across channels.
  • Kentico’s transparency complements a full-featured offering, but headless is separate. Kentico’s increasing enterprise client interest and larger agency partnerships build on top of a long history in the midmarket. Kentico’s transparency sets it apart in this field. References cited the history of a publicly available road map, while one reference gave top marks because “they publish their pricing and don’t do strange deals.” However, Kentico’s two-offering approach fragments its vision, as the separate Kentico Cloud focuses on the headless CMS scenario. Additional refactoring in the next major EMS release will add .NET Core, microservices, and containerization and help minimize this gap with Kentico Cloud.
  • Kentico EMS’s recent strengths include boosted data privacy controls and guidance as well as native connectors to CRM solutions. Overall, Kentico EMS’s strengths hinge on an accessible set of broad but shallow marketing and commerce capabilities that traditionally fall outside of a web CMS purchase but that references consider “good enough” to avoid multiple independent investments. EMS’s current weaknesses center on an aging code base. While a recent release improved scalability, a reference still said, “It’s good, but you have to know what you’re doing to make it scale predictably.” Additionally, the remaining ASP.NET architecture can make the content model fragile.
  • Kentico EMS is a solid all-in-one package for web CMS plus native marketing features. However, a new blended model that partners are experimenting with may prove more interesting for complex enterprise scenarios: Kentico EMS globally, and Kentico Cloud as a content hub federated out to the individual countries to use.

Contenders

  • Contentful’s API-first and cloud-native approach excels but lacks practitioner tooling. Contentful offers a headless CMS and has a growing track record for enterprisewide deployment. Contentful’s strategic strength is the flexibility to support any front end and the granularity of the API documentation, which is a game-changer for developers. Contentful has recently introduced a consortium of partners dubbed the “Digital Experience Stack,” which could prove an interesting alternative to typical solution bundles. One difficulty facing clients has been a shift in Contentful’s commercial strategy that focuses on collaborative environments (“spaces” as a product, project, site, repository, etc.), which significantly upped some existing customers’ costs. The biggest strategic gating factor is that Contentful’s approach toward practitioners remains nominal at best.
  • Contentful’s approach to content hinges on the JSON schema to build a super flexible content model. Coupled with the robust APIs, one service partner reference touted the ability to build a “CMS UI” on top of Contentful that served the needs of the partner’s client. However, references told us about the need for caution regarding complex content model references due to performance impacts against different front ends (e.g., Ruby versus Angular). More significantly, Contentful does not have the comparable marketing feature set when looking at practitioner features for a drag-and-drop, form-based editor with support for contextual variants and personalization logic.
  • Contentful is a good fit for progressive digital initiatives that want to unify content services across channels and projects but also have adequate developer resources at the ready.
  • SDL refreshes core content and APIs, but complexity and strategy limit relevance.SDL’s unified knowledge management and web CMS strategy has focused on verticals such as airlines and pharmaceuticals with strong needs in structured document management and language services. SDL Tridion Sites has three cloud deployment options and support for Alibaba Cloud, but we did not speak with any references leveraging these offerings. SDL’s ability to handle geographic and organizational complexity is appealing, but this is starving the partner ecosystem and preventing transparency; as one reference said, “I don’t like their road map strategy because it’s hidden.”
  • SDL Tridion Sites’ recent strengths include DXA reference implementation updates, new search to replace the divested Fredhopper tool, content hub features, GraphQL replacement of the OData framework, and container support. Despite this raft of significant updates, clients still feel the UI and deployment are complex. One reference said, “It’s very complicated to install, and we’ve struggled to package this, and so we end up with lots of manual add-ons into each environment.” While the “Experience Optimization” module for personalization is good, references didn’t use it. SDL’s BluePrinting architecture and access rights help support compliance regulations (e.g., GDPR, etc.), but the only default certification today is ISO 27001. (see endnote 3)
  • SDL Tridion Sites remains a good fit for regulated organizations operating with strong, centralized governance, while new deployment architectures lend themselves to flexible options for a wider variety of digital experiences.
  • Automattic’s hyperscale managed hosting is poised to disrupt if it adds features.Automattic’s strategic strengths are a deep understanding of and connection to WordPress Core, robust cloud hosting, and internet-scale performance suitable to large-scale media publishers. To address enterprise concerns going forward, Automattic makes up a significant portion of the 50-person WordPress security team to solve for security within WordPress Core and heavily backs a beta project, Gutenberg, that will be instrumental for moving to a component-based architecture and authoring experience. Automattic’s strategic alignment with Google’s AMP and PWA philosophy aligns with an ethos to grow the “open web.” (see endnote 4)
  • WordPress.com VIP’s current strength relies on its code review processes that weed out any bad code and scalability up to millions of requests per second leveraging a private content delivery network. WordPress’s headless capabilities were cited as a “hidden gem” commonly used to drive JS framework front ends and experiment with omnichannel strategies. However, VIP’s weaknesses lie with a lack of off-the-shelf components and component-based architecture. While Gutenberg promises to solve the latter, some references were waiting for official support. Automattic will need to either build or license these component libraries from its partners and combine with Gutenberg to better compete in the enterprise space.
  • WordPress.com VIP is a good fit for organizations that demand unrivaled code reviews and performance. More broadly, WordPress is for those that share a like-mindedness with one reference who told us, “I want to see the same tools from my daily life, at work.”
  • OpenText TeamSite’s architecture modernizes, but limited enablement stymies growth. TeamSite is now the flagship of OpenText’s trio of CMS offerings, and thus it will be the benefactor of the microservices OpenText is planning (e.g., customer analytics and audience management). OpenText has its own cloud, but TeamSite retains its public cloud focus as evidenced by most references deploying on AWS and its recent Azure certification. Unfortunately, TeamSite’s go-to-market strategy has lost momentum. Partners are predominantly longtime TeamSite specialists from the early Interwoven days; however, OpenText overhauled the partner program structure, so that may change. Developer and practitioner enablement remain outdated; as one reference lamented, “Documentation should be improved and made publicly available.”
  • TeamSite updates bring a new forms designer, enhanced mobile emulation, integration with Magellan for text mining, Solr search to replace IDOL, and more prepackaged components. API management capabilities have also improved, and now LiveSite Content Services REST API has fairly strong SPA and PWA support. However, TeamSite’s long heritage in this space explains why one reference called the TeamSite architecture “ultraflexible but not dummy-proof.” TeamSite’s extension strategy is focused on cross-pollinating across the OpenText portfolio, especially for DAM and testing and optimization.
  • TeamSite is a good choice for complex enterprise scenarios, where technology teams plan to continue Java competencies but want hybrid cloud and modern front ends.
  • Magnolia’s cloud strategy is taking shape but still just rolling out to initial customers. Magnolia’s change in ownership due to a private equity investment runs in parallel with a change in focus. The broader strategy is shifting heavily to embrace the marketing practitioner as version 6 promises a redesign focusing on drastic simplification in addition to lofty ambitions for AI/ML, CI/CD, and content hub capabilities. Standing in contrast, Magnolia’s IT-centric, open source, Java-focused heritage showcases why Magnolia’s managed hosted offering took over a year to onboard its first enterprise client and is still fine-tuning.
  • Magnolia features new lightweight integration with JavaScript, signaling a future with JS prioritization over the more cumbersome Java. Magnolia’s references routinely cite how “approachable” the solution is. One reference told us, “Magnolia can handle scaling and failover on commodity infrastructure.” Regarding Magnolia’s experience management features, another reference said, “Not a lot of features, but there’s a good foundation to achieve more.” Specifically, current marketing capabilities struggle because segmentation and rules-based targeting require heavy manual selection and entry.
  • Magnolia remains a good fit for technology-led teams looking to modernize legacy extensions, increasingly with JS, while unifying web infrastructure and processes and retaining full control.
  • CoreMedia boosts its focus on commerce, but limited partners hobble growth.CoreMedia, a German company that has long served government and media, now focuses on content-and-commerce scenarios with a renewed emphasis on the North America market. CoreMedia’s single-tenant approach to cloud makes sense given Germany’s privacy climate, but it stands in stark contrast to competitors sharing a content-and-commerce focus. While there are large, multinational service partners building out CoreMedia practices, the evidence was limited during our research. References cited the difficulty of finding or training knowledgeable and skilled developers. One reference told us, “It’s equally as complicated as WebSphere.”
  • CoreMedia’s strengths include improved eCommerce and marketing hub connectors, a reference site for eCommerce scenarios, updated headless APIs, and updated Docker support. One reference referred to CoreMedia as a “poor man’s DAM,” as features such as autocrop around a focal point on an image allowed them to avoid investing in a separate DAM solution. CoreMedia’s approach to contextual authoring includes multichannel and targeted content that allows for solid multichannel publishing; however, a reference struggled with the lack of device-specific targeting. The biggest weakness is that the architectural elements remain dated and complex; as one reference told us, “There’s no repeatable process to support deploying up through different staging to production.”
  • CoreMedia is focused on consumer packaged goods and retail needs for content and commerce, and given the traditional Java tech stack, CoreMedia is a good fit for IT-led deployments that want to retain more control than a typical SaaS solution.

Challengers

  • Crownpeak’s acquisitions elevate governance, but the core CMS falls behind.Crownpeak’s Evidon acquisition demonstrates the vendor’s focus on customer data privacy and reporting. This is timely for GDPR and other and ensuing data privacy standards, and it spurred the mantra for “respectful” experiences that bake in governance. Crownpeak continues to focus on marketing over developers and thus will modernize its UI off of Silverlight and improve component-based drag-and-drop features. Crownpeak’s strategic downside remains the lack of developers and services partners who have bought into this vision for CMS. Despite listing some larger agency partners, Forrester was unable to verify their strategic alignment. Crownpeak’s cloud strategy made it a pioneer in this industry, but today it has neither embraced a self-managed and automated (e.g., DevOps) approach to infrastructure nor enabled true multitenant, microservices-based SaaS benefits.
  • Crownpeak Digital Experience Management Platform quickly refactored ActiveStandards (now Digital Quality Management, or DQM) into the native CMS authoring and editing workflow, making it the only solution in this field with in-line content governance. Crownpeak’s offering allows for marketing features including targeting and optimization and a recently rebuilt and scalable site search capability. However, current clients often routinely access these new features because while Crownpeak is making headway on back-end improvements like moving to .NET Core, clients are still on generation 1, and references said it’s hard to move.
  • Crownpeak remains a viable solution for multisite scenarios, but its increasing focus on governance makes it a standout choice for brochureware in regulated industries or geographies. This is especially relevant if IT teams are willing to endorse and then stand aside to allow Crownpeak to act as marketing’s path to self-publishing.
  • Progress Sitefinity’s cloud reboot has a clear path forward, but hurdles remain.Progress has had a tumultuous couple of years, starting with a major corporate restructuring, plus the disbanding of its Digital Factory initiative, which had been a significant portion of its cloud strategy. (see endnote 5) Sitefinity now has a new management team and product documentation site, yet strategic downsides remain with the lack of a publicly available, detailed road map and reliance solely on partners for Sitefinity CMS cloud hosting. While Progress includes freemium bundling of Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud to boost marketing analytics capabilities, references cited volatile pricing but a static feature set. Sitefinity’s partners are commonly longtime partners, many with ties to the product development team. Sitefinity lists larger partners, but Forrester was unable to confirm strategic alignment.
  • Sitefinity’s latest updates make big strides to modernize some of Sitefinity’s core architecture to ASP.NET and begin to enable formal cloud deployment support, but the most visible evidence is the new and simplified authoring UI. While the drag-and-drop features exist, they’re built on legacy web forms technology. Incompatibility was evidenced as one reference cited that old, non-“feather” components cannot be personalized. While Progress will replace legacy foundations in a future pivot to .NET Core, this will pose a serious upgrade challenge.
  • Sitefinity remains a good .NET web CMS solution for simpler digital needs among midsized enterprises that want to continue managing their own deployment or using a services partner to manage it.

FIVE VENDORS IN TRANSITION BEAR WATCHING

We didn’t include five vendors from our 2017 evaluation in the 2018 evaluation because they did not meet our inclusion criteria for client interest or enterprise viability for the current solution. Enterprise buyers, or current clients, may want to track these alternative vendors as they transition:
  • IBM and HCL partner up, and Watson Content Hub is not yet enterprise-ready. IBM’s Web Content Manager offering was long considered the web CMS counterpart to WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Commerce, but now HCL manages much of that portfolio’s development and release schedule. (see endnote 6) While we wait for a road map and vision for this new portfolio, we’re also waiting to see how the more-focused IBM team develops Watson Content Hub, which did not have enterprise references when we did the research for this report.
  • Oracle WCS relies on partners for cloud while Content Cloud readies to relaunch.Oracle’s top-down mandate to pivot to cloud products and revenue left the Web Center Sites (WCS) product in an interesting place because the Content and Experience Cloud launched but was not a viable, enterprise-ready product. New product leadership, notably from Acquia, aligned systems integration partners to shoulder more of the cloud hosting and support of WCS so it can still be sold as a “cloud” product. Meanwhile Content and Experience Cloud should evolve more quickly, starting as a headless service that integrates across the Oracle CX Cloud.
  • Jahia’s new leadership team is rebooting its go-to-market approach. With another round of funding from its private equity partner, Jahia is now led by a new team of executives, many sharing a notable history at Sitecore. Jahia’s new strategy and road map focus on rolling out core elements such as commerce partnerships and privacy, but we’re waiting to see how these efforts take hold and translate to new customer and partner traction.
  • e-Spirit’s slow traction outside DACH turns to commerce and content partnerships.e-Spirit’s FirstSpirit offering continues to emerge from its DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) home base and establish more partnerships with services firms and software companies. For this evaluation, Forrester was unable to verify strategic service partners that support global rollouts, but we have seen some evidence that this is in progress. e-Spirit won some accolades for its partnership with Commerce Cloud at Dreamforce 2018, which could be a good signal, as competition in the content and commerce arena is strong.
  • OpenText WEM remains supported, but TeamSite is the go-to CMS product.OpenText has long been a multiple web CMS product company from its acquisition of RedDot (Web Site Management [WSM]) and Vignette (Web Experience Manager [WEM]) and most recently TeamSite. With the addition of TeamSite, WEM is a supported product but not the preferred web CMS for new clients. OpenText is building a strategy and set of offerings to migrate more legacy WEM clients onto TeamSite, and while we have not yet seen significant traction, this is a departure that bears watching.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL

Online Resource

The online version of Figure 2 is an Excel-based vendor comparison tool that provides detailed product evaluations and customizable rankings. Click the link at the beginning of this report on Forrester.com to download the tool.

Data Sources Used In This Forrester Wave

Forrester used a combination of three data sources to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. We evaluated the vendors participating in this Forrester Wave, in part, using materials that they provided to us by August 23, 2018.
  • Vendor surveys. Forrester surveyed vendors on their capabilities as they relate to the evaluation criteria. Once we analyzed the completed vendor surveys, we conducted vendor calls where necessary to gather details of vendor qualifications.
  • Product demos. We asked vendors to conduct demonstrations of their products’ functionality. We used findings from these product demos to validate details of each vendor’s product capabilities.
  • Customer and partner reference calls. To validate product and vendor qualifications, Forrester also conducted reference calls with three of each vendor’s current customers and three current partners.

The Forrester Wave Methodology

We conduct primary research to develop a list of vendors that meet our criteria for evaluation in this market. From that initial pool of vendors, we narrow our final list. We choose these vendors based on 1) product fit; 2) customer success; and 3) Forrester client demand. We eliminate vendors that have limited customer references and products that don’t fit the scope of our evaluation. Vendors marked as incomplete participants met our defined inclusion criteria but declined to participate or contributed only partially to the evaluation.
After examining past research, user need assessments, and vendor and expert interviews, we develop the initial evaluation criteria. To evaluate the vendors and their products against our set of criteria, we gather details of product qualifications through a combination of lab evaluations, questionnaires, demos, and/or discussions with client references. We send evaluations to the vendors for their review, and we adjust the evaluations to provide the most accurate view of vendor offerings and strategies.
We set default weightings to reflect our analysis of the needs of large user companies — and/or other scenarios as outlined in the Forrester Wave evaluation — and then score the vendors based on a clearly defined scale. We intend these default weightings to serve only as a starting point and encourage readers to adapt the weightings to fit their individual needs through the Excel-based tool. The final scores generate the graphical depiction of the market based on current offering, strategy, and market presence. Forrester intends to update vendor evaluations regularly as product capabilities and vendor strategies evolve. Vendors marked as incomplete participants met our defined inclusion criteria but declined to participate in or contributed only partially to the evaluation. For more information on the methodology that every Forrester Wave follows, please visit on our website.

Integrity Policy

We conduct all our research, including Forrester Wave evaluations, in accordance with theposted on our website.

ENDNOTES

  1. See the Forrester report ” Coming Soon: Agile Content Curation And Orchestration Will Redefine CMS. 

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  2. AI/ML: artificial intelligence/machine learning.

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  3. GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation.

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  4. AMP: accelerated mobile page; PWA: progressive web app.

    “Back to text”

  5. Details of the company’s restructuring and the impact on its product strategy are found in its Form 10-K. Source: “Form 10-K: Progress Software Corporation,” United States Securities and Exchange Commission, January 26, 2018 (http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NASDAQ_PRGS_2017.pdf).

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  6. Source: “IBM August Digital Experience Newsletter,” IBM, August 2018 (https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=60018960USEN).

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