Gartner 2022 Digital Experience Platforms reveals leading vendor players

Headless CMS, composable systems, the blurring of the line between content and commerce plus growing customer data demands all disrupting the content management ecosystem

Content operation ecosystems are on the rise, headless CMS is gaining ground, there’s a shift towards composable solutions and a blurring of the line between content and commerce, Gartner’s latest digital experience platforms report highlights.

The research firm released its 2022 Digital Experience Platforms Magic Quadrant report last week exploring the state of the DXP market as well as list of vendors both leading the way as well as challenging the status quo.

Four vendors made the leaders list in terms of DXP systems: Adobe, Optimizely, Acquia and Sitecore. Adobe’s Experience Cloud was top of the list, highlighted as a leader for its widely adopted and highly recognisable platform, sophisticated and broad set of functionalities and extensive supporting ecosystem. On the cons side were premium pricing and a high total cost of ownership, complex digital experience management tools and limited business-to-employee use cases.

Optimizely also made the leadership quadrant, with strengths including its recent acquisition of Zaius’ customer data platform (CDP), introduction of more journey mapping and data management capabilities, simple and scalable packaging and pricing, plus rich multivariate testing and digital experience optimisation tools. Cautions revolved around Optimizely’s lack of versatility compared to other vendors on the list, limited security and access control capabilities and a swathe of acquisitions that could disrupt the product roadmap.

Acquia’s strengths, meanwhile, included a strong focus on composability, the extensive and proactive support of the open source Drupal community, and investments into business tech capabilities such as data science and citizen development to better empower digital marketing users. Cons identified by Gartner included a slower pace of innovation compared to other vendors in the category, weaker customer journey capabilities and less formal tech partner ecosystem support.

Sitecore’s Digital Experience Platform made the leadership ranks for its push towards more composable and cloud-based solutions, a broad set of CX-centric capabilities for B2C use cases and a wide array of partners and technology alliances. Cautions ranged from the multi-year nature of the shift to SaaS approach, to being behind the market for investing in customer data management and personalisation and limited business-to-employee support.

In addition, Gartner noted a number of challengers with a strong ability to execute: Salesforce, Oracle, HCL Software, OpenText and Liferay. Visionaries with less ability to execute included Bloomreach and Magnolia. Five vendors made the research firm’s niche players list: Crownpeak, CoreMedia, Progress, Kentico and Squiz.

According to Gartner, core capabilities of a DXP include content management, account services, personalisation and context awareness, analytics and optimisation, customer journey mapping, customer data management, cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, architecture and platform design, security and access control, integration and extensibility and multi-experience support.

To be considered for the DXP Magic Quadrant, vendors had to demonstrate an ability to execute through core products, overall viability, sales execution and pricing, market responsiveness and a track record with clients, marketing execution, customer experience and operational capability. They also needed to demonstrate completeness of vision in terms of product roadmap and market understanding.

Trends influencing DXP innovation and take-up

In its analysis of wider trends across the DXP space, Gartner said content operations ecosystems are on the rise and DXPs are often at the centre of them. In response, DXP providers have been expanding the breadth and depth of content types they can cover by offering things like digital asset management (DAM) for rich media and product information management (PIM) for product-related data.

Another key trend influencing the market is growing interaction between content and commerce.

“Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting surge in digital commerce, self-service and service delivery, the content-plus-commerce model has seen a dramatic rise in popularity,” the report authors stated. “Many DXP vendors have been either bolstering their own commerce solutions or expanding integrations with best-of-breed digital commerce, search and merchandising vendors. This applies not only to B2C, but also increasingly to B2B use cases. In B2B, the convergence of DXP, digital commerce and digital sales enablement tools is enabling a combination of self-service and assisted digital selling, with ongoing interactions between buyers and sellers.”

Headless CMS technology is also growing in popularity as the push towards composability, identified by Gartner in its 2021 DXP Magic Quadrant report, continues.

“Currently, the proportion of organisations opting to assemble a DXP from multiple composable components is roughly equal to that choosing to purchase a monolithic solution from a single vendor,” Gartner stated. “However, there are indications that the market is moving more toward composable DXPs, so this ratio will soon start to change.”

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