Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), a leading provider of research and analysis on the Internet and emerging technologies, announced today that Art Technology Group (ATG) and INTERSHOP share top honors in its latest commerce platform eBusiness TechRankings. The current first-place holders in this hotly contested market are followed closely by Blue Martini.

“Companies are making an important long-term bet on the right foundation for their commerce sites,” said Joshua Walker, senior analyst and principal researcher for this TechRankings category. “Because a commerce platform is the bedrock of a company’s online presence, firms must choose the right product to get their sites running quickly — and choose the best vendor for the long haul. ATG, INTERSHOP, and Blue Martini currently lead the pack with standard application servers and strong tailorability.”

Current first-place holder ATG’s strengths include J2EE certification, a powerful development and deployment environment, which lets developers tailor the site for different buying scenarios, and excellent customer and systems integrator support. Its weaknesses include poor built-in integration features and the need for advanced Java and XML skills.

INTERSHOP now shares first place with solid order processing and marketing capabilities, good reporting and analysis support, and strong momentum — particularly in Europe. Firms should watch out for the dearth of systems integrator support and the current scaling problems of the underlying application server.

Blue Martini, in third place, is built on the very strong WebLogic application server from BEA and comes with solid out-of-the-box retail functionality. The flip side of this “packaged” approach is the lack of good development tools to aid programmers in tailoring the site to meet their specific needs.

Forrester assesses each commerce platform’s features and capabilities and each vendor’s strategy and market support. Forrester works with its partner, Doculabs (, to benchmark each product and assess each vendor on more than 100 attributes, then presents the analysis via an interactive research database. TechRankings’ research methodology combines rigorous laboratory-based product testing results and market analysis with vendor and user interviews. Forrester continuously updates its research and re-evaluates products to help firms understand rapidly changing technology markets, accelerate and improve product selection, and effectively gauge implementation costs and effort.

Because vendors take radically different approaches to creating commerce platforms, Forrester recommends that companies should observe four rules when selecting their commerce platform. Firms should choose a commerce platform: 1) for the life of a site — not its birth; 2) with strong infrastructure features; 3) based on lifetime costs, not purchase price; and 4) with powerful features — and a strong vendor commitment.

“Companies need a commerce platform to sell products and services online, but they aren’t sold on commerce platforms yet,” said David Truog, research director at Forrester. “Early adopters are struggling with products with weak integration features, poor support for marketers, and only basic B2B functionality. Vendors are moving beyond their retail roots, but no vendor has yet delivered strong support for the complex B2B selling environment. It’s far from ‘game over’ in this important product category.”

In the coming weeks, Forrester will be announcing results in additional TechRankings categories including Content Management, Application Servers, and Customer Service Applications.

Forrester’s eBusiness TechRankings methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased. TechRankings combine the results of hands-on lab tests, strategic market analysis, and in-depth research into the needs of technology users. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings, and tests and analyzes all products in a given category using identical, publicly available criteria. Forrester extensively fact-checks and verifies results, and updates eBusiness TechRankings’ findings continuously as vendors make major releases. Any vendor wishing to be ranked may apply by contacting Forrester’s TechRankings research team at