Gartner releases its first Magic Quadrant Report on Digital Experience Platforms
The report cites Adobe, IBM, Sitecore and Liferay as Leaders of this platform, a centerpiece set of tools for how brands interact with customers and others.
Customer experience has become the name of the game for marketers. And digital experience platforms (DXPs) offer tools for providing a consistent and engaging presentation layer across digital channels, whether sites, portals, mobile web or apps, voice agents or other delivery platforms.
Research firm Gartner is out with its first Magic Quadrant report on DXPs [fee required if from Gartner; a free version is available from Adobe and other vendors], replacing its previous Magic Quadrant on Horizontal Portals. It surveys this essential category, whose functions include persona modeling, journey mapping, responsive layout, data-driven design, content management, search, personalization, rating and recommendations, access to information based on roles and many other tasks.
The report notes that digital commerce is not essential for a DXP, although some DXPs do offer commercial capabilities.
The key thing to remember about the digital experience is that it’s not just content and information, but also insight, personalization and connections. In a way, I would add, it’s like the difference between a logo and a brand. It’s not just the info, but also the overall set of interactions that define a relationship with a customer.
In this report, IBM, Sitecore, Adobe and Liferay are the top scorers in the Magic Quadrant, ranking as Leaders that support a variety of use cases and deliver product innovation. Challengers — which can deliver the goods but don’t seem to be planning for tomorrow’s needs or tech — are Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Acquia, SAP and OpenText.
Episerver and BloomReach are the only ones in the Visionaries category, which are judged as understanding emerging customer needs and the possibilities of new tech, but not as advanced on execution as are other vendors.
Those vendors classified by Gartner as Niche Players, which have limits in their focus, geographic presence or supported scenarios, are CoreMedia, SDL, Crownpeak, Kentico Software, Squiz, Jahia, Censhare, Oxcyon and GX Software.
Strengths and weaknesses
The report notes the strengths and weaknesses of each contender and itemizes which tools in a company’s product suite qualify as the DXP. Adobe, for instance:
… delivers DXP functionality through a combination of the Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Cloud Platform, each of which encompasses many products and services. More specifically, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), part of Adobe Experience Cloud, acts as the “center of gravity” for Adobe’s DXP efforts.
Liferay, one of the other Leaders, is focused on specific sectors, such as financial services and high tech, and is known for developing its own innovations instead of acquiring them. Appropriately, customers report “an excellent overall customer experience,” but the platform doesn’t offer its own cloud hosting and its analytics capabilities are low.
Gartner points out that this category’s roots are in portal platforms and web content management systems, now expanded to many other functions. The report recommends that DXP users employ the full range of capabilities of the platforms and don’t settle for just using the platforms to create single websites for single audiences.
The DXP market is evolving so quickly, Gartner may soon have to change the category name again. For example, the report says, “the DXP market’s focus is already shifting to the broader customer, partner and employee experience,” moving beyond just customers.
As elsewhere, AI is becoming firmly entrenched in this space, especially to personalize experiences without endless configurations of business rules. And, with the relatively recent introduction of chatbots, voice interfaces, personal digital assistants, augmented and virtual reality, and the Internet of Things into digital experiences, consistent multichannel digital experiences now require marketers to orchestrate a symphony of players as well as a tool palette.