Gartner: Digital experience platform providers face growing challenges

Research firms’ latest Magic Quadrant report finds a fragmented market, which is still evolving, but growing customer expectations raising the stakes on digital experience platforms

Adobe, Sitecore, Acquia, Liferay and Episever have taken the lead for digital experience platforms, according to Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms report.

The latest edition found Salesforce, Oracle, OpenText and SAP to be challengers in the race for digital experience technology adoption. The analyst firm also dropped IBM, Microsoft and SDL from the current report, but noted this doesn’t necessarily reflect a negative view of these companies, rather a result of changing evaluation criteria or focus of the businesses themselves.

Gartner reviewed companies using several criteria including how well they execute their digital platforms, broad functionality, financial health and marketing responsiveness, and how well vendors understand customers’ evolving needs. The report also takes into account sales and marketing strategies, business models and innovation in digital experiences including architecture, analytics, machine learning and the Internet of Things.

In terms of the overall picture of the DXP market, Gartner said customers’ growing expectations for digital experiences make DXP adoption an urgent necessity for global organisations. But the market is fragmented and still evolving.

For Gartner, the leaders - Adobe, Sitecore, Acquia, Liferay and Episever - have an accomplished ability to support a variety of DXP scenarios and consistently meet customers’ needs over substantial periods. They innovate to fulfill DXP requirements and have been successful in selling to new customers across industries.

Salesforce, Oracle, OpenText and SAP, as challengers, demonstrate a significant ability to execute on their DXP, with strong businesses and customer bases, as well as products that suit current demands. However, they lack the vision of leaders and visionaries, and may therefore struggle to fully satisfy future demands from a technology or business perspective, the analyst firm stated.

On the other hand, visionaries like Bloomreach were noted as forward-thinking vendors demonstrating a firm grasp of emerging customer needs and the potential impact of new technology. However, they lack some aspects of their offerings, service and support, which impairs their ability to execute.

Niche players, which include CoreMedia, Crownpeak, Kentico Software and Squiz, focus on limited DXP deployment scenarios, have limited geographic presence outside their home market, and are restricted with by focusing on a narrow set of industries, according to the Gartner report.

Gartner defines a digital experience platform (DXP) as an integrated technology for enabling, managing and optimising digital experiences for customer journeys across all digital touchpoints. Customer journeys include consumers, partners, employees, citizens and students, and apply to both business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-employee (B2E) interactions.

Across the board, the report found DXPs acting as the 'centre of gravity' in the extensive and interconnected technology landscape. Due to its integral role, organisations need to deliver highly contextualised experiences — not just simple websites and mobile apps — to meet the number and range of customer journeys.

In terms of the overall view, the DXP offerings are fragmented, with a growing chasm between product- and platform-oriented vendors, according to Gartner’s market analysis. 

The report also cited a growing need to have content accessed as a service, via APIs, and delivered to any channel or device throughout a customer journey. In addition, the growing list of requirements for digital transformation is feeding directly into the choice of DXP from Web content management systems at the entry point for digitally young organisations right through to complex DXPs that fully integrate with the tech stack of the business.

And while cloud-based DXPs are now commonplace, innovation, rather than infrastructure, is leading businesses away from basic hosted services to cloud-native which are scalable, and can apply personalisation and analytics. Finally, as DXPs are designed to be woven into the existing architecture of the business, there’s a growing focus on API-driven integrations.

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