Slate.com can, on a good day, get millions of page views per hour.
Subsequently, the stability of its Web content management (WCM) system is a primary concern and a reason the online news magazine launched Adobe’s CQ5 content management system at the end of September.
“For us it’s primarily a scale concern,” said Dan Check, director of technology at Slate.com. “We need to know that our content management system is rock solid.”
Slate.com is not alone in investing in WCM software. The online experience is driving the rapid growth of the Web content management market, according to Gartner Research Inc.’s recent Magic Quadrant report.
Firms expect WCM to “optimize interactions with visitors, whether that means selling more, engaging more or informing more,” according to the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management systems. In fact, there are four major trends in WCM: a need to make a business impact, a multichannel focus on technology, integration with related technologies and growing interest in cloud-based WCM, according to the annual report from the Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm.
While Gartner calls this strategy online channel optimization, or OCO, it is also known as Web experience management, Web engagement management and customer experience platform, depending on the vendor.
Adobe added to Quadrant
Adobe Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., refers to the market as Web experience management, and its acquisition of Day Software last year landed it a spot in the Magic Quadrant.
Gartner, which ranks WCM software vendors as niche players, visionaries, challengers or leaders, groups six vendors as leaders in the space: Adobe, Autonomy, OpenText, Oracle, SDL and Sitecore.
To Kevin Cochrane, vice president of product strategy and solution marketing at Adobe, and formerly the chief marketing officer at Day Software, the business focus has gone from driving acquisition and conversion of customers to being “all about creating an engaging online experience.”
But for many customers, decisions about software go beyond the user experience. At Slate.com, simply making sure all visitors have the ability to read the news content it produces trumps the user experience.
“We just did a rather large migration from a much older content management system,” Check said. “CQ is in Java, which meant we could utilize a large number of open source libraries. … It’s been fault tolerant for us, which has been a big plus. It can handle what would be considered a sparse data structure and the underlying repository mirrors the website itself.”
The primary implementation task, Check said, was putting the content editing system in place and making sure it was stable.
“For being an enterprise product, it’s been very easy for us to work with,” he said.
CoreMedia a visionary
“The Web experience is where people are coming to, and where they are is where you need to be as an organization,” said Glenn Conradt, vice president of North America for Hamburg, Germany-based CoreMedia, which Gartner calls a visionary player.
That Web experience and the way it is enabled through integration, multichannel capabilities and cloud access prompted Internet Broadcasting (IB), a St. Paul, Minn.-based provider of local websites, content and advertising services, to adopt CoreMedia about a year ago. While some other vendors had products that were better at enterprisewide capabilities, Elmer Baldwin, IB’s president and CEO, said his company’s focus on WCM drove its final choice.
Baldwin said his company picked CoreMedia because, among other things, “it enables contextualization that can manifest across multiple channels. … Our industry and our clients demand one CMS that is powered to multiple channels.”
Integration was a fundamental requirement as well, “but so was the CoreMedia ability to deploy its architecture to a private cloud,” Baldwin said, explaining IB runs one instance of CoreMedia 6 and deploys a cloud-based multi-tenant architecture of the CMS to its clients.
Gartner fills its visionary quadrant with “forward-thinking and technically focused” vendors, and CoreMedia made it safely in. Other vendors were Ektron, EPiServer and Limelight Networks -- newly included this year because of its acquisition of Clickability. These are companies that need to “work on some of the core aspects of their offerings” to become leaders in the space, Gartner said.
Gartner lists IBM and Microsoft as challengers this year, calling these two “solid vendors today” that can perform well for many enterprises. “The important question,” the report said, “is whether they have the vision to succeed tomorrow.”
Niche players make up the fourth quadrant and comprise vendors that generally focus on a particular corner of the WCM market and “often support only those applications that apply to the particular segments on which they focus,” the report read. They include Alterian, Atex, Dynamicweb and Percussion as well as newcomers e-Spirit, eZ Systems, GX Software and Squiz (all added because total WCM revenue for each exceeded $10 million for the year).
Global growth rate
Such customer expectations and WCM vendors stepping up to the task is what helped fuel a forecast overall growth rate of 14% to the year 2014 -- almost twice that of the entire enterprise software market. North America is expected to account for 61% of that while the countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 28% and the Asia-Pacific region, 11%, according to the report.
Total global earnings for WCM reached $1 billion last year and the market is poised to do even better than that, reaching revenues of $1.2 billion, by the end of this year, Gartner said. As a result of this rapid growth, WCM made up 27% of the overall enterprise content management market in 2010, its greatest proportion yet.