Today, we publish the Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017 after three months of research and another month of writing and editing. Today, we can step back and begin to help our clients leverage this research to shape their digital experience strategy. But first, a special thank you to my colleagues Danielle Geoffroy, Allison Cazalet, Stephen Powers, and Ted Schadler for their invaluable contributions. Also, thank you to the 15 vendors — Acquia, Adobe, Crownpeak, Episerver, e-Spirit, Hippo (BloomReach), IBM, Jahia, Magnolia, OpenText (TeamSite), OpenText (WEM), Oracle, Progress Software, SDL, and Sitecore — and their client references who made this research possible.

So where to start? At the highest level, we’re witnessing a step-function along our evolutionary journey thanks to digital. Digital disrupts communication, community, privacy, convenience, products, and services because always-on connections change our demand cycles. Those enterprise organizations who don’t evolve are being disrupted. My colleagues on customer experience research team have shown this correlation of revenue being tied to customer experience, across industries and geographies (link). Additionally, we’re starting to understand how digital maturity stages correlate to technology priorites such as Web CMS with Forrester's Digital Maturity Model (link):

What does this mean to your Web CMS investment? In short, when customer demands are high, digital experience capabilities — both creative and operational — must rise to the occasion. Specifically, Web CMS takes new forms, focusing on four key areas: 1. content, 2. microservices, 3. cloud and 4. experience management tools. Beyond these four key areas, Web CMS’s evolution is matched by parallel transformations in the front-office (e.g. commerce, marketing, service, etc.) and the back-office (e.g. integration architecture, finance, supply chain, etc.).

So what role does Web CMS play in this new DX world?

Web CMS’s new role is a hub — content, experience, and workflow — to orchestrate customer engagement across many digital channels (e.g. web, mobile, email, social, etc.). Web CMS must broaden its mandate by working VERY well with:

  • Solutions such as customer data management, process management, analytics, and integration layers to form the ‘platform’ services that the functional teams (e.g. commerce, service, marketing) will leverage  — this constitutes Web CMS’s role in middleware and the backend.
  • Solutions that support experience composition, real-time data integration, segmentation engines, promotions management, loyalty programs to coordinate and deliver personal/ contextual experiences — this constitutes Web CMS’s role on the front-end.

All 15 products covered in our Wave report are embracing these needs head on. However, there are significant nuances based on your organization’s needs: business model, location, industry, campaign cadence, existing investments, existing skillsets, budget, need for services support, and much more. We highly encourage our clients to download the Wave model (Excel document) and adjust the weightings to match your priorities and customize the short-list.  And please engage with us! We want to make our research come alive: for our clients, please book an inquiry; for non-clients, please engage with us on twitter or shoot us an email.