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Acquia’s Momentum: An Ex-Analyst Reviews The 2015 Forrester WCM Wave

Forrester just published “The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2015,” by Ted Schadler, who calls WCM “the backbone of digital experiences.” Here at Acquia we don’t think that’s an overstatement. The report also states that WCM has become “a multifaceted toolkit for building, managing, delivering, and optimizing digital experiences, the bedrock of your business technology agenda.” We’re on board with that, too.

Today’s WCM decision makers discover a crowded vendor market trying to deliver all this digital capability. The 2015 Forrester Wave analyzes the top 10 WCM vendors and ranks Acquia a Strong Performer. (Download a copy of the Forrester WCM Wave report from Acquia.)

We value Forrester’s independent market validation, which highlights Acquia’s market momentum and significant competitive differences. Acquia made the biggest positional leap of any company compared to the last Wave (2013). And, Forrester gave Acquia the report’s second highest Strategy score (strategy tends to foreshadow where vendors and markets are headed). [Disclosure: I co-authored the 2013 Wave for WCM as a Forrester analyst; I joined Acquia in mid-2014 to help articulate Acquia’s difference to the world.]

Two things to point out:

  • If you haven’t been a WCM buyer for a few years, the market change has been more of a revolution, not evolution, as enterprises focus on digital transformation efforts and on building and managing digital- and mobile-first experiences and marketing
  • We believe key findings in Forrester’s report highlight Acquia’s meaningful difference in the WCM world that should be apparent to organizations examining WCM options.

What do I mean? We’re in a post-feature-war world in web content management; vendors generally share similar baseline capabilities, some better here, some better there -- but table stakes aren’t the competitive battleground in this technology market.

Today what should matter to buyers is how a WCM platform lets them run a flexible, agile and scalable digital business - it may involve building and supporting many sites, multichannel digital experiences and marketing, commerce, community, digital customer service, and more.

Any enterprise or brand has to think and act digital- and mobile-first. This isn’t about websites and web content management concepts of five years ago. This is about establishing a foundation using WCM that supports an ongoing digital transformation effort -- ever changing and in need of adaptation. Choosing a scalable, flexible platform like the Acquia Platform, not just a WCM software product, is a mandate.

In Forrester’s analysis, Acquia earned the only perfect 5’s (“strong” capabilities) in three highly relevant areas -- cloud strategy, API strategy, and component ecosystem. Taken together, these help point to the difference the Acquia Platform offers in this market:

  • Cloud-first WCM architecture matters. WCM has long lived an on-premise life in corporate data centers. Today, enterprises are shifting quickly to a cloud-first strategy and are racing toward cloud-first delivery of WCM and digital experience technology. Acquia’s Drupal-based cloud platform -- the only one built from the outset on a scalable, secure cloud environment -- scored the only perfect 5 in Forrester’s cloud strategy category; other vendors are trying to catch up and squeeze traditional software into a cloud-delivery and pricing model. Customer uptake is driving massive growth. Enterprises are finding huge value by reducing the burden on IT, providing a best-in-class, resilient environment for DevOps teams, lowering the cost and time to build new sites and experiences, and they’re shifting to Acquia’s PAAS and SAAS approaches to make it happen.
  • The power of APIs to unify a software and data ecosystem. Acquia scored another perfect 5 in API strategy. This points to Acquia’s integration story. Consider this to be evidence that there really is an antidote to a “suite” approach from vendors who’ve spent enormous time and money buying and trying to integrate disparate technology to create “marketing clouds” or “marketing suites” (Adobe and Oracle are two of many). That’s one approach. But we’re finding decision makers prefer Acquia’s flexibility over other vendors’ suite lock-in -- or long-term massive investments in those vendor offerings. Acquia’s foundational, Drupal-based WCM and our related tools for digital engagement (for testing, targeting, personalization and single-view of customer data) are highly relevant. So too is our “open marketing” approach, which invites integration with an enterprise’s adjacent digital marketing applications. We find most frequently that marketers and business leaders want to use what they have (or have the flexibility to connect WCM to a broad technology ecosystem). Acquia puts the “one-vendor suite vs. openness” debate on the table.
  • World-class component ecosystem extends digital capabilities. Drupal, the world’s biggest open source WCM project, is core to the Acquia Platform. Every customer can tap into the Drupal core, plus globally sourced add-on components, features, and integration hooks that all make the promise of open source tangible. In Drupal-speak, components deliver add-on features to meet specific needs, and can provide the connective tissue that integrates your ecosystem, like CRM, marketing automation, and analytics. The world’s largest, most complex enterprises are assembling remarkable sites and experiences quickly with Drupal, open source modules, all living on the Acquia Platform, achieving speed, scalability and cost reduction unique to using Acquia.

Download the Forrester Wave report to access a treasure trove of insight and intel on this dynamic market, and we value the (literally) months of research, data crunching, writing and editing that go into Wave production. We invite you to take a look and ring us up if you’d like to discuss key findings.

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