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CX & Design November 19, 2018

The Forrester Wave for Web Content Management Systems

Dept Office Berlin

Forrester has published its latest Forrester Wave™ for Web Content Management Systems, Q4, 2018. Of the 15 vendors included in the assessment, six of Dept’s technology partners – Adobe, BloomReach, Episerver, Magnolia, SDL and Sitecore – earned a notable mention.

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. Vendors were evaluated against 26 criteria, which were grouped into three high-level buckets:

  • Current offering: The Forrester Wave™’s vertical axis indicates the strength of a vendor’s current offering. Key criteria for these solutions include content (e.g., analytics and contextualisation); experience operations (e.g., web, multichannel, and governance); architecture (e.g., extensibility and deployment); and extensions (e.g., testing and optimisation, e-commerce, and site search).
  • Strategy: Each vendor’s position on the horizontal axis indicates the strength of the vendors’ strategies. Criteria’s like vision, cloud strategy, service partner program, pricing transparency, developer program, and practitioner program were evaluated.
  • Market presence: Marker size represents the vendor’s market presence score, reflecting each vendor’s product customer count and global presence.


Adobe: Paving the way for a cloud-first, insight-driven future, Adobe focusses on a pragmatic, cloud-first, midmarket bundling. It incorporates more Analytics and Target capabilities while being more approachable and affordable than the competition. With strengths including simplified pricing, a historically strong partner program, and relatively strong practitioner enablement with Experience League, it is no wonder that Adobe is classed as a vendor leader. “Experience Fragments”, embedded content analytics capabilities and Contextualisation with Adobe’s Live Copy feature, are notable standouts for AEM Sites.

Forrester states that AEM Sites remain a top choice for enterprise marketing buyers demanding sophisticated tools, but increasingly, Adobe is also a good fit for experience-led midmarket organisations of all industries, even government, given its well-rounded compliance certifications.

Sitecore: Sitecore regains momentum on Adobe with broad cloud and prebuilt accelerator appeal. In the past 18 months, Sitecore has made dramatic changes further intensifying its ‘Leader’ position. These include a new executive leadership to oversee a return to midmarket focus, a full embrace of Azure deployment, an acquisition of a digital asset management (DAM) provider, and a partnership with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Moreover, Sitecore has recently improved their CRM integration along with upgrades to Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) and new AI capabilities, Sitecore is strengthening its current market position.

According to Forrester, Sitecore stands out through its broader platform vision, with a solid set of marketing tools, customisability and the freedom to run in multiple cloud deployment models. Moreover, strengths include a strong partner program, a healthy set of cloud deployment options as well as through its marketing features by integrating more content repositories via the Data Exchange Framework and for personalisation.

Strong Performers

BloomReach: While competitors align with Azure or AWS, BloomReach’s strong cloud strategy focuses on containers. To ease integration efforts, BloomReach Experience Manager accelerates digital experience development with a new services layer, dubbed CRISP. Moreover, front-end development has been speeded up with a library of prebuilt modules along with a renewed marketplace supporting packaged connectors. Forrester mentions development, extensibility and contextualisation strengths while the personalisation feature remains respectable.

Within retail, BloomReach’s centricity is a natural fit for commerce-and-content scenarios which will only strengthen in 2019 after its site search is cross-pollinated. Moreover, Forrester states that BloomReach Experience Manager fits well with digital engineering teams that need cloud deployment flexibility but can’t sacrifice merchandiser and marketer tooling.

Episerver: Episerver’s strength for cross-pollinating its acquisitions (e.g., Peerius and CMS) is creating new offering bundles (e.g. “individualised content”). Moreover, it’s CMS benefits from refactoring of legacy capabilities into microservices and allows for “laddering up” on key capabilities. For personalisation, the core CMS starts with rule-based targeting and “visitor groups” add persona targeting, but an add-on – Advance – layers on behavioural data personalisation.

When aligned with marketing or e-commerce goals, Episerver remains a solid choice to accelerate digital engagement. Finally, Forrester states that as Episerver reaches “full” multitenant support in 2019, it should boost its relevance with marketing and e-commerce groups directly.


Magnolia: Classed as a ‘Contender’, Magnolia is recognised for it’s ‘approachableness’. Magnolia has shifted its strategy to embrace the marketing practitioner with version 6 promising a redesign with a focus on drastic simplification in addition to lofty ambitions for AI/ML, CI/CD, and content hub capabilities. A new lightweight integration feature with JavaScript signals a future prioritisation with JS over Java.

Forrester refers to Magnolia’s good fit for technology-led teams looking to modernise legacy extensions, increasingly with JS, while unifying web infrastructure and processes and retaining full control.

SDL: SDL refreshed its core content and APIs while focussing on verticals with a strong need for structured document management and language services. With three cloud deployment options, support for Alibaba Cloud and an appealing ability to handle geographic and organisational complexity, it won’t be long before SDL becomes a ‘Strong Performer’.

Forrester highlights SDL Tridion Sites’ recent strengths like DXA reference implementation updates, new search to replace the divested Fredhopper tool, content hub features, GraphQL replacement of the OData framework, and container support. Moreover, its BluePrinting architecture and access rights help support compliance regulations (e.g., GDPR, etc.).

SDL Tridion Sites remain a good fit for regulated organisations operating with strong, centralised governance, while new deployment architectures lend themselves to flexible options for a wider variety of digital experiences.


Want to know more about the findings of the Forrester report? Have a look into The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q4 2018.


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