You are on page 1of 21

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience


Platforms, Q4 2015
The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up
by Mark Grannan, Ted Schadler, and Stephen Powers
October 22, 2015

Why Read This Report

Key Takeaways

In Forresters 40-criteria evaluation of digital


experience platform vendors, we identified the
10 most significant software providers Acquia,
Adobe, Demandware, EPiServer, IBM, Oracle,
SAP hybris, Salesforce, SDL, and Sitecore in
the category and researched, analyzed, and
scored them. This report details our findings
about how well each vendor fulfills our criteria
and where they stand in relation to each other
to help application development and delivery
(AD&D) professionals select the right partner for
their digital experience platform needs.

The Digital Experience Platform Market Is


Coming Into Focus, Particularly In The Cloud
We found three big changes since last year:
rationalized products instead of newly acquired
properties; a loving embrace of platform-asa-service; and a strong core forming around
content-driven marketing and commerce
experiences.
Portfolio Integration, Strong Point Solutions,
And Strategy Are The Biggest Differentiators
No vendor can lead without having strong
content, commerce, marketing, and analytics
solutions. But practitioner simplicity and power,
deployment rationalization, and integration are
also critical. Each vendors strategy determines
its success.
Adobe Edges Into Leader Territory Amidst A
Competitive Market
Adobes integration efforts stand out; Cloud
strategies for Acquia, Demandware and
Salesforce shine; EPiServer, IBM, Oracle, and
SAP hybris are rationalizing their portfolios;
Sitecore deepens homegrown functionality; and
SDL starts to regain momentum.

forrester.com

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up
by Mark Grannan, Ted Schadler, and Stephen Powers
with Peter Sheldon, Anjali Yakkundi, Rusty Warner, Dominique Whittaker, Kevin Driscoll, and Tyler
Thurston
October 22, 2015

Table Of Contents
2 Digital Experience Platforms Anchor Your
Digital Presence
Digital Experience Platforms Must Meet Six
Key Needs
The Technology Landscape Vying To Meet DX
Platform Demands Attention
4 Digital Experience Platform Market
Evaluation Overview
We Evaluated The Best And Biggest Vendors
In The Market
5 Digital Experience Platforms Are Rapidly
Evolving

Notes & Resources


Forrester conducted product evaluations in
August 2015 and interviewed 9 vendors and 27
customer references.

Related Research Documents


Digital Experience Technology Integration: Go
Beyond Just A Basket Of Solutions
The Forrester Wave: Mobile Infrastructure
Services, Q3 2015
Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience
Delivery Platforms Why Read This Report

10 Vendor Profiles
Leaders
Strong Performers
Contenders
15 Lessons Learned From Customer Interviews
16 Other Vendors Worthy Of Consideration
19 Supplemental Material

Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA


+1 617-613-6000 | Fax: +1 617-613-5000 | forrester.com
2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester,
Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester
Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. Unauthorized copying or
distributing is a violation of copyright law. Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Digital Experience Platforms Anchor Your Digital Presence


Today, the proliferation of customer touchpoints, applications, and digital interactions demands a
new technology architecture. We call this architecture a digital experience platform. For most large
organizations, digital experience platforms include web and mobile touchpoints today, though
advanced firms are expanding their digital presence, with retailers implementing digital walls or
manufacturers empowering customers with mobile apps, for example. For those firms embracing the
business technology (BT) agenda technology designed to win, serve, and retain customers the
broader picture is not technology at all, its the customer life cycle. And so Forrester defines digital
experience platforms broadly as:
Software to manage, deliver, and optimize experiences consistently across every digital
touchpoint.
While each organization must build its own business case, one large retailer told us that mobile
customers triggered its multiyear digital experience initiative. Looking at three years of double-digit
annual growth in mobile traffic, it became a business-critical challenge to realign digital experience
technology with this always-on digital customer. In the next 18 months, this retailer is stitching together
marketing, commerce, and customer service to better serve the customer across the life cycle. Its the
biggest technology program the company has ever tackled.
Digital Experience Platforms Must Meet Six Key Needs
With the customer at the center, a digital experience platform architecture will help to align strategies,
teams, processes, and technology to meet this integration imperative with six primary themes (see
Figure 1):
1. Coordinate content, customer data, and core services to drive reuse and quality.
2. Unify marketing, commerce, and service processes to improve practitioner workflows.
3. Deliver contextually and share targeting rules to unify the glass.
4. Share front-end code across digital touchpoints to manage a common user experience.
5. Link data and analytics to add insight and drive action.
6. Manage code and extensions for maximum reuse while avoiding over-customization.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 1 Forresters Digital Experience Platform Architecture

Touchpoints

Analytics
and
insights

Contextual delivery at the glass

Marketing

Customer data

Commerce

Content

Service

Other
services

Extensions
and custom
code

The Technology Landscape Vying To Meet DX Platform Demands Attention


Digital experience vendors recognize the need for a broad, well-integrated set of capabilities and have
gone on a spending spree to either buy or build this out. Vendors hope to expand their relationships
within an account and become sticky to stakeholders across technology, marketing, and business
roles. Despite Forresters belief that 1) vendors still have a long way to go on integration, and 2) an
all-in-one platform is almost never practical given ever-present legacy technology constraints,
organizational politics, and limited budgets, we firmly believe core capabilities and solid integration
chops matter.1
Forrester maintains that platform promises common tooling, reusable assets, shared data models,
short implementation times, and limited training need not be limited to a single-vendor strategy. And
yet, if your organization has existing investments with a technology vendor, its likely they can make
a good case to sell you additional products to extend your capabilities. Its now imperative to ask the
following questions: How well integrated is the portfolio? How deep are the native capabilities? How
much weight should prebuilt integration be given?

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

FOr APPlicATiOn DevelOPMenT & Delivery PrOFeSSiOnAlS

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Digital experience Platform Market evaluation Overview


After examining past research, user need assessments, and vendor and expert interviews, we
developed a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria. We evaluated vendors against 40 criteria, which
we grouped into three high-level buckets:
current offering. We evaluated on core
Most vendors have embraced
capabilities, including content, commerce,
analytics, marketing, service, and customer
the cloud as a primary
data; supporting capabilities, including digital
deployment option . . .
asset management, search, social depth,
particularly platform-as-atesting and optimization, product information
service.
management, portal, global/localization, and
mobile app platform; platform quality and
consistency, including platform integration,
practitioner toolkit, developer toolkit, security and permissions, multichannel delivery, codebase
consistency, customer data management, dashboards and reporting, content integration, technical
operations, extensions and components, and APis.
Strategy. We evaluated each vendors strategy on vision, rationalization strategy, commercial
terms, account services, upgrade and release management, cloud deployment model, services
partners, technology partners, and reference customer assessment.
Market presence. We evaluated market presence based on customer base, product revenue,
product revenue growth, and global presence.
We Evaluated The Best And Biggest Vendors In The Market
Forrester included 10 vendors in our digital experience platform assessment: Acquia, Adobe,
Demandware, ePiServer, iBM, Oracle, SAP hybris, Salesforce, SDl, and Sitecore. Demandware chose
not to fully participate in the process, so we placed their solution in the Forrester Wave based on our
knowledge from past analysis and publicly available information. each vendor has (see Figure 2):
A portfolio of strong products comprising digital experience platforms. We evaluated
vendors with at least three strong products from the core of a digital experience platform: content,
marketing, commerce, service, analytics, or customer data.
A go-to-market strategy that solves for digital experience challenges. each platform or
portfolio of products works across multiple core areas within the digital experience landscape.
Prebuilt integration between owned products. Owned and third-party products must
communicate. each platform has a minimum level of open standards support to enable integration
with legacy systems and other digital experience delivery solutions.

2015 Forrester research, inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Reference customers with at least $1 billion in revenue. Each vendor must be able to provide
enterprise customer references to attest to the platforms capabilities and viability.
Mindshare among Forresters enterprise customers. The vendors we evaluated are frequently
mentioned in Forrester client inquiries, shortlists, consulting projects, and case studies.

Digital Experience Platforms Are Rapidly Evolving


We have changed our evaluation criteria and weightings to reflect our enterprise customers evolving
needs. We assessed the core and supporting capabilities that anchor a digital experience platform
and increased the contribution of integration, extensibility, APIs, and connector frameworks in order
to evaluate the strength of the broader portfolio (see Figure 3). We found substantial changes in the
products and market since our last evaluation in 2014:
The outlines of the platform are coming into clearer focus. Every vendor in this evaluation
has at least three of the six building blocks we deem important to a digital experience platform:
content, commerce, marketing, service, analytics, and customer data.2 But most vendors anchor
their platform with content, marketing or commerce, and customer data management.
Some vendors joined and some left the list of digital experience platforms. We removed
vendors that have strengths in individual areas but not across our definition, and added EPiServer
because of its efficacy and platform breadth. This market is still very much a work in progress, with
no vendor showing clear leadership in the evaluation.
Vendors lead in some areas and lag in others leading to a bunched overall lineup. No vendor
has best-of-breed offerings in all six core building blocks, which leads to a neck-and-neck race in
some cases. Overcome this by customizing the Wave spreadsheet to reflect your key requirements
so vendors with the products you need bubble up the list.
Most vendors have embraced the cloud as a primary deployment option. Almost every
vendor already was or is now committed to platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This is a major benefit to
companies looking to move quickly, run the newest cost, and deploy at scale.
Product rationalization not acquisition defined the dynamic in 2015. Every vendor
showed a more unified practitioner, administrative, and development experience. The vendors have
more work to do here, particularly for on-premises deployments.
We also found consistent gaps in what enterprises need from a digital experience platform:
Mobile app support is still nascent or missing. Every vendor tells a responsive web design
story. But mobile moments need personal, contextual, and immediate support. We saw little
understanding that mobile is more than small web. When it comes to mobile apps, IBM, Oracle,
and SAP lead with mobile infrastructure platforms.3

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Most lack a rationalized data story. One of the biggest challenges in building a portfolio through
acquisition is rationalizing the core resources content, data, integration, and security. While we
saw big advances in security and some in content, we saw gaps in the strategy and capabilities to
create a single customer view. However, every vendor is investing here, so the situation next year,
particularly with cloud offerings, will be much better.
Analytics and content integration is very much a work in progress. Betting on web analytics
is not a strategy. Neither is point-to-point content integration. While some vendors showed solid
analytics or content hub functionality, all vendors have work to do.
Customer service scenarios are underserved. The customer life cycle is more than discovery
and purchase. Forresters customers need to integrate customer care and service. Vendors need to
improve their ability to help.
This evaluation of the digital experience platforms market is intended to be a starting point only.
We encourage clients to view detailed product evaluations and adapt criteria weightings to fit their
individual needs through the Forrester Wave Excel-based vendor comparison tool.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 2 Evaluated Vendors: Product Information


Platform components
(if sold separately)

Vendor

Product(s) evaluated

Acquia

Acquia Platform

Acquia Cloud
Acquia Cloud Site Factory
Acquia Content Hub
Acquia Lift
Acquia Mollom
Acquia Search

Adobe

Adobe Marketing Cloud

Adobe Analytics
Adobe Campaign
Adobe Experience Manager
Adobe Social
Adobe Target

Demandware

Demandware Commerce Cloud

EPiServer

EPiServer Digital Experience Cloud

IBM

IBM Digital Experience Suite

IBM Campaign
IBM Commerce
IBM Digital Analytics
IBM eMessage
IBM Interact
IBM Marketing Operations
IBM Silverpop
IBM Tealeaf
IBM Xtify

Oracle

Oracle CX Cloud:
-Oracle Commerce
-Oracle CPQ Cloud
-Oracle Marketing Cloud
-Oracle Sales Cloud
-Oracle Service Cloud
-Oracle Social Cloud
-Oracle WebCenter Sites

Oracle B2B Cross-Channel Marketing


Oracle B2C Cross-Channel Marketing
Oracle Commerce Experience Manager
Oracle Commerce Guided Search
Oracle Commerce Merchandising
Oracle Commerce Platform
Oracle Content Marketing
Oracle DMO
Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud
Social Marketing Cloud WebCenterSites
Social Network Cloud

Salesforce

Salesforce App Cloud


Salesforce Community Cloud
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Sales Cloud
Salesforce Service Cloud
Salesforce Wave Analytics Cloud

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 2 Evaluated Vendors: Product Information (Cont.)


Platform components
(if sold separately)

Vendor

Product(s) evaluated

SAP hybris

hybris Commerce Suite


hybris Marketing Suite

SAP Cloud for Customer


SAP CRM
SAP Enterprise Portal
SAP Hana Cloud Platform
SAP Jam
SAP KXEN

SDL

SDL Customer Experience Cloud

SDL Campaigns
SDL Customer Journey Analytics
SDL Digital Experience
SDL eCommerce Optimization
SDL Knowledge Center
SDL Media Manager
SDL Web

Sitecore

Sitecore Experience Platform


Sitecore Commerce Server

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

FIGURE 3 Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 15

Challengers Contenders
Strong

Strong
Performers

Leaders

Go to Forrester.com to
download the Forrester
Wave tool for more
detailed product
evaluations, feature
comparisons, and
customizable rankings.

Adobe
Oracle
Sitecore
IBM
Current
offering

SAP hybris
Salesforce

Demandware
Acquia
SDL
EPiServer

Market presence
Full vendor participation
Incomplete vendor participation

Weak
Weak

Strategy

Strong

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Adobe

EPiServer

IBM

Oracle

Salesforce

50%
40%
15%
45%

2.57
1.85
1.80
3.47

3.52
3.55
3.45
3.51

2.20
1.90
1.60
2.66

2.86
3.75
2.35
2.23

3.31
4.25
3.70
2.35

2.90
3.00
2.05
3.09

3.04 2.40 2.98


3.40 2.10 2.60
3.35 2.00 1.90
2.61 2.81 3.67

STRATEGY
Vision
Rationalization strategy
Commercial terms
Account services
Upgrade and release management
Cloud deployment model
Services partners
Technology partners
Reference customer assessment

50%
15%
10%
5%
10%
5%
15%
10%
10%
20%

3.65
2.00
4.00
3.00
4.00
3.00
5.00
3.00
4.00
4.00

3.50
2.00
4.00
2.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
5.00
5.00
4.00

2.90
2.00
3.00
2.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
2.00
3.00
4.00

3.00
3.00
2.00
1.00
3.00
1.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
3.00

3.00
4.00
3.00
2.00
3.00
1.00
3.00
3.00
5.00
2.00

3.45
4.00
2.00
1.00
3.00
3.00
5.00
3.00
5.00
3.00

3.15
4.00
3.00
1.00
2.00
3.00
1.00
4.00
5.00
4.00

2.80
2.00
3.00
4.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
3.00
2.00
3.00

3.05
2.00
3.00
3.00
4.00
3.00
3.00
4.00
3.00
3.00

MARKET PRESENCE
Customer base
Product revenue
Product revenue growth
Global presence

0%
30%
25%
25%
20%

2.05
2.00
1.00
4.00
1.00

3.50
3.00
4.00
4.00
3.00

2.30
3.00
1.00
3.00
2.00

2.65
3.00
0.00
3.00
5.00

3.35
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00

3.55
4.00
3.00
4.00
3.00

3.10
2.00
2.00
4.00
5.00

1.85
1.00
1.00
2.00
4.00

2.30
3.00
1.00
3.00
2.00

Sitecore

Acquia

CURRENT OFFERING
Core capabilities
Supporting capabilities
Platform quality and consistency

SDL

Forresters
Weighting

SAP hybris

FIGURE 3 Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 15 (Cont.)

All scores are based on a scale of 0 (weak) to 5 (strong).

Vendor Profiles
Leaders
Adobes integrated platform leads the market, but mostly supports marketing. San Jose,
California-based Adobe has established a platform of best-of-breed technologies that support
marketing activities. This portfolio includes web content management (WCM), testing and
optimization, analytics, audience management, social publishing, and campaign management.
Beyond the scope of this research, its portfolio also includes ad-serving and video broadcast
technologies. Adobes core services strategy standardizes some product engineering and user
interface (UI) efforts. Adobes biggest gaps in support of customer acquisition are a strong focus
on business-to-consumer (B2C) markets and a lack of commerce offering; it continues to rely on
partnerships. Adobe also has little in terms of a customer service offering.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

10

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Adobes strategy matches its offerings: heavy on marketing-related technology, such as targeting,
mobile, and campaigns, but light on customer service. Adobe states that its main investment in the
next 18 months will be an initiative to consolidate all customer data into a unified data platform with
a singular runtime and computation environment on top of the data. Adobe outshines the other
evaluated vendors when it comes to services partners, though some of these partners have begun
to complain about Adobes cost and complexity, leaving potential openings for competitors.
Adobe remains a fit for companies with sophisticated marketing needs that require best-of-breed
solutions and with the budget to support them.
Strong Performers
Salesforce offers a sales, service, and marketing platform, but needs more integration. San
Francisco-based Salesforce leverages much of its ExactTarget acquisition to tell a DX story, but
is starting to piece together a much broader narrative. Salesforce remains the odd duck in this
evaluation, as it does not have its own delivery tier in the form of a WCM or eCommerce engine.
While Salesforce remains a powerhouse on sales and service, and the Marketing Cloud has many
loyal customers, the integration between these clouds and marketing is not fully executed
lacking common tooling, architecture, or code base. Fortunately, as a native cloud platform, the
robust APIs and extensions owned by the sales and service clouds overcome some challenges, but
even this approach is not shared across the portfolio today.
We view Salesforces vision as one of the most likely to provide large organizations with the tool
set to realize digital transformation goals. However, as a PaaS platform with a healthy technology
partner ecosystem, Salesforce shows its true strategic strength. Among this field of competitors,
Salesforce is the closest to true PaaS, limited by its proprietary code development strategy. This
strategy enables confident expansion into areas like mobile and platform that others have be
unable to tame. However, with a hodgepodge of commercial terms and product strategies, the
broader portfolio is hard to wrap your arms around.
But even without the connection to the PaaS offering, ultimately Salesforce owns important,
industry-leading solutions for sales, service, and marketing that support digital experiences.
Oracles integration across commerce, content, and campaigns hinges on cloud. Redwood
Shores, California-based Oracle has continued its aggressive acquisition streak for its digital
experience delivery platform. Last year we cited Oracles eCommerce strength, but after this
past years investments including BlueKai and Maxymizer they now boast one of the largest
marketing capabilities portfolios. Oracles work to leverage all its acquisitions in an integrated
fashion is patchy at best, but the bright spots are unmistakably in its cloud products where it
has unified API management, UI, permissions, and technical tooling. Unfortunately, most cloud
functionality is new (not yet to beta) and doesnt include the entire portfolio currently missing is
the WebCenter Sites product line.4

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

11

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Oracles acquisition strategy has a history of underinvesting in the acquired product; but in this
evaluation were starting see glimpses of the turnaround strategy, and it is cloud. Oracles cloud
product strategy appears to have good technical bones and the CX cloud management has the
influence to push architectural changes to each product team. Conversely, the licensed products
demand heavy investment with services partners and while Oracle boasts a number of traditional
systems integrators (SIs), clients tell us that they struggle to find consistent quality in its services
partners.
While legacy, enterprise scenarios remain valid for complex CRM and portal products, Oracles CX
Cloud strategy is still currently a best fit for organizations focused on commerce-driven use cases.
In parallel, marketing automation, customer data management, and targeting are rapidly pushing
Oracle into marketing discussions.
Demandwares cloud and partner strategies are strong, but pricing limits relevance.
Burlington, Massachusetts-based Demandware has a 10-year track record as an enterprise
B2C eCommerce solution. Demandwares pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) strategy provides a
common data layer, common user interface, and common API set. Demandwares developer and
API strategy is strong, if somewhat rigid. Demandwares extension strategy has paid off with a
robust marketplace, supported by Demandwares technology partner certification process. This
marketplace strategy is increasingly critical to customers broader DX success.
Demandware continues to invest deeper into commerce as it moves into the store. These
technologies combine with its SaaS delivery model and revenue-sharing-only commercial model
to form the most laser-focused strategy in our evaluation, limiting relevance to B2C commerce.
Beyond this, Demandwares multichannel delivery relies heavily on its Link technology marketplace
to extend its functionality. Demandwares services partner network (Link solution partners) include
some global players, such as Accenture, Cognizant, Razorfish, and SapientNitro.
Demandware is most relevant to those in the retail space who want to build out their broader
digital experience delivery capabilities centered on commerce, as opposed to a broader platform
supporting more of the customer life cycle. Note that Demandware did not participate in the
research for this report, so Forrester based its findings on past briefings, products demos, and
customer reference interviews.
Acquias cloud-first, open source platform lacks breadth but emphasizes integration.
Boston-based Acquia extends the open source Drupal product to digital experience platform with
cloud deployments, enterprise-scale support, and some additional products. Its strengths are in
the areas of WCM and social depth tools. However, little of the rest of Acquias functionality
such as commerce, optimization, or mobile in particular is on par with the other solutions we
evaluated. But Acquia emphasizes integrations with third-party products to meet digital experience
challenges. And with solid partner support and a horde of Drupal developers available, its a viable
plan. Unlike our 2014 evaluation, customers report using Acquia as the center of their platform,
with integrations in place.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

12

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Acquias stated vision is being an open, cloud-first, integration-centric platform. This is appealing
for companies looking to anchor digital experiences with content and community, but extend it out
to commerce and service though integration. Acquia is cloud-first and offers the product as PaaS
for more than 800 customers and a SaaS service for more than 3,000 customers. Acquias biggest
strategy gap is a lack of focus on the complete customer life cycle, particularly for customer
service. Given its lower price point, cloud options, and rapid growth, Acquia has the potential to
play a significant role in the digital experience platform market, particularly for companies with
hundreds or thousands of sites.
Acquia is best suited for companies looking for a digital experience platform they can utilize in a
land-and-expand strategy.
SAP hybris branches out into marketing with a raft of not-yet-mature products. Munich,
Germany-based SAP hybris has traditionally played in the eCommerce space with a best-of-breed
offering, but is now expanding into marketing. Launched in February 2015, SAP hybris Marketing
brings a customer data-centric approach to personalizing content, but lacks some email, social
and automation capabilities when compared with competing marketing products, nor does it share
common code or UI with the core platform. SAP hybris has also continued to invest in platform
extensibility and integration via a data hub to connect to various back ends and this makes it a logical
choice for many B2B manufacturers currently leveraging SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP).
SAP hybriss vision focuses on adding marketing and microservices to extend to be a full frontoffice platform. SAP hybris-as-a-service (YaaS) will be a cloud-based extension environment to
lighten up the core product for faster iteration. SAP hybris Profile will roll out on YaaS to improve
the platforms data management capabilities for better personalization and targeting. Outside of
YaaS, SAP hybris cloud strategy has not kept pace against the competitions PaaS and SaaS
strategies due to a lack of autoscaling, on-demand deployment, and seamless upgrades.
But given its backing from some of the biggest, global agencies and SIs, SAP hybris remains a
solid choice for large, product-centric organizations who want to enable omnichannel strategies.
Sitecore touts a flexible platform, but commerce is not yet battle tested. Copenhagen-based
Sitecore offers a platform that combines its WCM, digital marketing, and commerce solutions.
Sitecore focuses on technologies supporting customer acquisition, as opposed to supporting later
stages of the customer life cycle, such as service. Its WCM offering is best-of-breed, while adjacent
functionality such as email campaign management, personalization, testing/optimization, and
social capabilities is midlevel. The investment in a scalable data architecture is paying off by adding
credibility to data-driven-marketing scenarios, while other areas like the mobile software development
kit (SDK) strategy fail to push the envelope. But unlike others in this evaluation, all of these offerings
with the exception of commerce were designed and built (or OEMed) to work together.
Sitecores marketing-centric vision aims to leverage data from all Sitecore-supported customer
touchpoints in order to build a customer view. Sitecore has begun to talk about more predictive

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

13

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

functionality in its strategy, with suggested next best actions in some of its marketing tools.
Its hybrid cloud strategy focuses on Azure, but the software doesnt take full advantage of the
platform yet, and support for multitenant SaaS is at least several years away. Its content-andcommerce story is nascent; one customer reference expressed their fears of being a guinea pig
when considering using both products together. Sitecore doesnt have much of a story around
third-party integration, either. But customer references in general are very strong, and Sitecore also
has an extensive service partner network, second only to Adobes.
Sitecore is a fit for companies looking for an all-in-one package as opposed to those looking to bolt
on their own best-of-breed components to a content or commerce offering.
IBMs portfolio rationalization slowly accelerates via cloud, but lacks shared urgency.
Armonk, NY-based IBM is now rationalizing the acquisitions it has made over the past several
years. It is simplifying and linking the products and commercial terms, implementing mobile apps,
adopting the cloud and a continuous delivery release model, and building a content integration
hub. Customers building a complex B2C or B2B experience or employee or partner portal will find
much of what they need in IBMs portfolio. IBM has made strides since our last evaluation in its
cloud version with better mobility, simpler practitioner tools, tighter security, and stronger content
integration. The on-premises implementations are still a collection, however, requiring WebSphere,
security, and integration skills. IBM needs to continue to implement customer profiles and complete
the content hub.
IBM defines digital experience platforms much more broadly than most of the vendors in this
evaluation, emphasizing consumer, business customer, partner, and employee experiences across
the customer life cycle. It also embraces the cloud for most products, running as PaaS IBM
Bluemix Cloud. Another part of IBMs strategy is its services for strategy, design, development, and
implementation. IBM must continue to rationalize its tool sets, particularly on-premises, and build
relationships and connections to third-party tools. It should also invest more in agency partnerships
outside of IBM Interactive Experience and OgilvyOne though it seems disinclined to do so.
IBM is best fit for companies that have existing IBM relationships and products and that look to
expand digital strategies beyond marketing and commerce.
Contenders
SDL makes strides with the cloud but is small with only recently revitalized growth. UK-based
SDL is winning new business, particularly in travel and hospitality, with its SDL web product an
integration of a series of acquisitions hosted by SDL as a PaaS. SDL has strong WCM tools and
its BluePrinting and language translation capabilities are best-of-breed. The company has also
invested in analytics, social listening, marketing, and content integration. However, SDL does
not go far beyond its core marketing and content roots. SDL must build stronger commerce and
customer service integrations as well as customer data management and on-premises product
rationalization.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

14

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

SDLs strategy focuses on cloud deployments, global customers, and a refined list of industries,
including travel and hospitality, manufacturing, and automotive. This builds on the companys bestof-breed language translation capabilities. The companys executive leadership is in transition,
though Forrester believes the company will maintain its consolidated product organization with a
revitalized focus on North America to complement its European installed base. SDL still has work to
repair its partner ecosystem it lacks established partnerships and integrations with many bestof-breed technology vendors and service providers.
SDL is a best fit for organizations looking to support global, non-transactional digital experience
delivery initiatives with heavy localization needs
EPiServer supports low-complexity scenarios, but wont hit next gear until 2016. Stockholmand Nashua, New Hampshire-based EPiServer, which is now the combination of EPiServer and
Ektron, is a new entrant in our evaluation this year. The company has a solid .NET offering that is
comprised of good WCM and basic marketing and commerce that is well-suited for customers
with midlevel needs. Product strengths include content, APIs, and developer tools. The company
rightfully avoids complex enterprise scenarios but could still improve its offering with better mobile
support, analytics, and customer data management as well as prebuilt integrations with marketing,
search, and commerce.
The firms strategy is centered on the cloud, increasingly running as a PaaS on Microsoft Azure.
The cloud version benefits from continuous delivery. The company has a strong partner strategy
to sell and serve customers in 30 countries, as well as more than 25,000 developers registered in
its network. We are increasingly optimistic that the company is navigating the tough merger and
leadership transitions gracefully, though the product rationalization is a work in progress. The next
two releases in Q4 2015 and Q1 2016 will determine the success of this effort.
Companies with well-defined, content-rich scenarios without advanced marketing or deep
commerce needs should look at EPiServer, and look again next year.

Lessons Learned From Customer Interviews


When it comes to vendor satisfaction among its customers, we found reoccurring themes that served
as a cautionary tale:
Integration is more difficult than the vendors claim. Customers found that integration among
customer-facing engagement applications and to back-end systems of record was more
challenging than anticipated. One reference stated that the cost to integrate the vendors product
with existing third-party solutions was cost-prohibitive to address. Another reference mentioned
that trying to integrate the vendors own products with one another was causing problems, to their
surprise. As one reference put it, The integration is only as good as the team that implements it.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

15

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Service partners, not vendor professional services, are vital to successful integration. The
message from customer references was loud and clear: They regard service partners such as
Accenture and Razorfish Global as instrumental partners throughout the integration process. The
service partners knew their needs better than the platform vendors did. References also noted that
vendors professional services fell short in their expectations for two main reasons: lack of available
support technicians and online libraries/user support groups that vendors infrequently maintain.
Dont bite off more than you can chew. Customers that found themselves buying into a
platforms suite of products believed they bit off more than they could chew. Running into
integration issues, slower-than-expected feature rollouts, and in some cases realizing a product did
not run as advertised caused customers to rethink the use of additional products. One reference
told us, Sadly it isnt what we expected it to be. We thought it was going to support [our systems]
more fully. A number of references told us unfortunately, they were paying for features they werent
using.
Aggressive sales teams are off-putting. No romantic partner wants to rush into a long-term
commitment weeks in a relationship. Similarly, customers dont want to constantly be sold new
products at every opportunity. Their opinion of a vendor changed when sales teams aggressively
pushed new products on them before rolling out the ones they purchased. One customer put it
bluntly, When we talk with our account managers theyre always trying to sell us something new.
Were happy to talk with them and go out to dinner, but we dont want an iPad shoved in our face
while were eating.

Other Vendors Worthy Of Consideration


The digital experience platform market is multidimensional with vendors focused on every industry,
capability, and stage in the customer life cycle. We track hundreds of vendors, including those with
point solutions to augment a platform, like Qubits or Persados; established vendors in specialized
markets like portal vendors Backbase and Liferay; 25 other WCM vendors including Crownpeak,
Hippo, and Magnolia; and vendors with strong products that AD&D professionals may wish to consider,
including some vendors we evaluated in last years Wave:
Digital River. Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Digital River has been in the eCommerce space for 20
years, differentiating from its competition by acting as the merchant of record on behalf of clients.
Given the limited scope of the Digital River platform combined with the fact that the solution is
100% SaaS the core traits are strong: a common UI, data layer, reporting/analytics, and release
cycle. However, while touting broad global commerce support, Digital Rivers services partner
relationships are currently limited, weakening the chances for the largest customers, with large SKU
counts. Two recent moves suggest Digital River is trying to invigorate growth: Digital River both
went private and partnered with Adobe Experience Manager in early 2015. While those pan out,
Digital River remains a good fit for organizations who need a tightly focused commerce solution
often for digital or high-tech goods to complement their broader digital presence.
2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

16

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Hewlett Packard. Hewlett Packard Enterprise inherited the Autonomy knowledge management
assets, while TeamSite and the other HP Marketing Optimization products went to HP Inc. While
the individual products are strong, its not clear how PC- and printer-centric HP Inc. will approach
enterprise digital experience customers or partners. However, the company continues to invest in
the products with improved practitioner tools, mobile support, and integration with its marketing
software. The HP digital experience product set today is best suited to existing HP customers or
content-centric enterprises with large, complex requirements that demand heavy customization.
Intershop. A stalwart in the eCommerce space, the Jena, Germany-based company complements
a top-of-the-line commerce platform with relatively rudimentary marketing tools. WCM, campaign
management, product information management (PIM), digital asset management (DAM), testing,
and social capabilities are native to the Intershop platform, but in recognition of the industry
demands, Intershop partnered with Adobe Experience Manager in 2014. As a single-solution
offering, Intershop stands out through a consistent user interface across nearly all of its platform
components, and embedded capabilities for both personalization and analytics that are necessities
for data-driven marketers. Limited North American market share works against Intershop, but its
relatively low price point is a bright spot.
OpenText. Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText has more than 20 years experience in the enterprise
information, content, and process management software markets. OpenTexts platform spans
functionality across WCM, DAM, campaign management, social depth, and via a partnership with
SAP, PIM technology. The companys strengths are in its core business process management and
content management capabilities and potential to work in secure portals for employees, partners,
and B2B customers. OpenText is a good fit for portals and B2B organizations where technology
management groups are leading the charge and have established OpenText relationships due to
heavy content and process needs.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

17

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

Engage With An Analyst


Gain greater confidence in your decisions by working with Forrester thought leaders to apply our
research to your specific business and technology initiatives.
Analyst Inquiry

Analyst Advisory

Ask a question related to our research; a


Forrester analyst will help you put it into
practice and take the next step. Schedule
a 30-minute phone session with the analyst
or opt for a response via email.

Put research into practice with in-depth


analysis of your specific business and
technology challenges. Engagements
include custom advisory calls, strategy
days, workshops, speeches, and webinars.

Learn more about inquiry, including tips for


getting the most out of your discussion.

Learn about interactive advisory sessions


and how we can support your initiatives.

Supplemental Material
Online Resource
The online version of Figure 3 is an Excel-based vendor comparison tool that provides detailed product
evaluations and customizable rankings.
Data Sources Used In This Forrester Wave
To validate product and vendor qualifications, Forrester conducted reference calls with 3 of each
vendors current customers.
The Forrester Wave Methodology
We conduct primary research to develop a list of vendors that meet our criteria to be evaluated in this
market. From that initial pool of vendors, we then narrow our final list. We choose these vendors based
on: 1) product fit; 2) customer success; and 3) Forrester client demand. We eliminate vendors that have
limited customer references and products that dont fit the scope of our evaluation.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

18

For Application Development & Delivery Professionals

October 22, 2015

The Forrester Wave: Digital Experience Platforms, Q4 2015


The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up

After examining past research, user need assessments, and vendor and expert interviews, we develop
the initial evaluation criteria. To evaluate the vendors and their products against our set of criteria,
we gather details of product qualifications through a combination of lab evaluations, questionnaires,
demos, and/or discussions with client references. We send evaluations to the vendors for their review,
and we adjust the evaluations to provide the most accurate view of vendor offerings and strategies.
We set default weightings to reflect our analysis of the needs of large user companies and/or other
scenarios as outlined in the Forrester Wave document and then score the vendors based on a
clearly defined scale. These default weightings are intended only as a starting point, and we encourage
readers to adapt the weightings to fit their individual needs through the Excel-based tool. The final
scores generate the graphical depiction of the market based on current offering, strategy, and market
presence. Forrester intends to update vendor evaluations regularly as product capabilities and vendor
strategies evolve. For more information on the methodology that every Forrester Wave follows, go to
http://www.forrester.com/marketing/policies/forrester-wave-methodology.html.
Integrity Policy
All of Forresters research, including Forrester Wave evaluations, is conducted according to our Integrity
Policy. For more information, go to http://www.forrester.com/marketing/policies/integrity-policy.html.

Endnotes
Technical integration is a major pain point for AD&D professionals supporting DX. While vendor platforms increasingly
want to tell an end-to-end story to support unified experiences, organizations will almost never be able to or willing
to adopt a single-vendor solution set. Instead, they must own their digital experience architecture and strategy.
This strategy must flex and adjust over time, shaping an entire road map of investments into digital experience
technologies for customer experiences. AD&D professionals must develop this technology integration strategy to
connect content, data, and systems to unify workflows that drive unified customer experience over time and across
touchpoints. See the Digital Experience Technology Integration: Go Beyond Just A Basket Of Solutions Forrester
report.

AD&D professionals must evaluate, implement, integrate and build front-end experiences on-top of this fragmented
landscape. Technology vendors try to help by bringing more complete digital customer experience portfolios to the
market, although hopes for a homogenous environment are unrealistic at this point. In this report, we define the
emerging digital customer experience delivery platform, explore the vendors delivering these solutions, and provide
insight into the approaches these vendors take to integrate with the technologies in which their customers have
already invested. See the Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester report.

In Forresters 112-criteria evaluation of mobile infrastructure service vendors, we identified 10 significant software and
service providers AnyPresence, Appcelerator, IBM, Kinvey, Kony, Microsoft, MobileSmith, Oracle, Red Hat, and SAP
in the category and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report details our findings about how well each
vendor fulfills our criteria and where they stand in relation to each other to help application development and delivery
(AD&D) professionals select the right partner for their mobile infrastructure services needs. See the The Forrester
Wave: Mobile Infrastructure Services, Q3 2015 Forrester report.

Oracle tells Forrester that they plan to release Oracle Sites Cloud Service by the end of calendar year, 2015.

2015 Forrester Research, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distributing is a violation of copyright law.
Citations@forrester.com or +1 866-367-7378

19

We work with business and technology leaders to develop


customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth.
Products and Services

Core research and tools


Data and analytics
Peer collaboration
Analyst engagement
Consulting
Events

Forresters research and insights are tailored to your role and


critical business initiatives.
Roles We Serve
Marketing & Strategy
Professionals
CMO
B2B Marketing
B2C Marketing
Customer Experience
Customer Insights
eBusiness & Channel
Strategy

Technology Management
Professionals
CIO
Application Development
& Delivery
Enterprise Architecture
Infrastructure & Operations
Security & Risk
Sourcing & Vendor
Management

Technology Industry
Professionals
Analyst Relations

Client support
For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at
+1 866-367-7378, +1 617-613-5730, or clientsupport@forrester.com. We offer quantity
discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions.

Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We work with
business and technology leaders to develop customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth. Through proprietary
research, data, custom consulting, exclusive executive peer groups, and events, the Forrester experience is about a
singular and powerful purpose: to challenge the thinking of our clients to help them lead change in their organizations.
124441
For more information, visit forrester.com.