H1 2013 Wrap-Up - A Look Back at the Year to Date

  • 28-Jul-2013

With two quarters passed in 2013, now's a good time to review what happened in the world of digital workplace and digital marketing technology -- and what it means for you.

Digital Workplace: Mobile Promise, Social Reality

As social collaboration vendors turn more to execution over snazzy new feature sets, I think we're witnessing a marketplace that has come of age, as well as customers who are broadening the internal footprint of these tools. Vendors have increasingly focused on best practices, integration, building channels, and above all, developing cloud-based versions of their offerings. Of course, turning on-premise platforms into multi-tenant services is easier said than done. Just ask Microsoft.

Speaking of Microsoft, the big news this year was of course the roll-out of SharePoint 2013. Revealingly, Redmond began the year pushing Yammer for those customers who wanted a more advanced social networking experience. Perhaps you'll want to wait for SharePoint 2016.

After a series of use-cases documenting revenue boosts, enterprises are looking more seriously at innovation management, spurring a cottage industry of niche vendors addressing that scenario.

On the other hand, the enterprise search technology marketplace has continued to narrow, particularly after the Autonomy-HP meltdown.  The Lucene ecosystem may not have a monopoly, but it clearly built some more momentum this year.

Document and Records Management remains an important area for enterprise investment, but more around specific applications than mega-platforms. Documentum 7 -- released late last year -- officially came to market. Ten years ago a major Documentum release like this would have tectonic effects across many enterprises. Today, it's mostly a shrug. In other news, major document management vendors found themselves increasingly competing with lighterweight cloud file-sharing platforms.

Meanwhile, enterprises increasingly puzzled over how to provide better mobile capabilities to their employees. And no wonder; creating consistent mobile experiences isn't easy at a time when developers can write-once, but debug everywhere.

For better or worse, a unified mobile workplace experience may account for the recent resurgence of interest in enterprise portal software. If so, a wide array of portal vendors still competes aggressively for your attention here.

Digital Marketing: Many Choices, Some Emerging Suites

Web Content & Experience Management technology has always been hot, and this year has proven no different. A rising tide continues to lift all vendor boats, but Sitecore, Adobe, and Acquia are among the firms struggling to keep up with demand. For public, marketing-oriented scenarios, however, SharePoint is still playing catch-up with WCM in SP 2013.

We also observed that for global digital operations, the pendulum seems to be swinging back towards more local control, after more than a decade of (mostly) intense globalization efforts. For larger enterprises, this may mitigate against technology centralization as well. In any global replatforming effort, though, you should take the time to find Mr. Right, over Mr. Right Now.

Curiously, the SaaS model for WCM continued to stagnate, at least outside the higher education segment. However, more customers are experimenting with cloud implementations of on-premise software.

Digital Asset Management continued its surge into the workaday enterprise. One sign: we're seeing more experienced systems integrators get involved, and a greater desire among customers to link their DAM applications with other enterprise systems. In particular we're seeing a convergence between DAM and creative production tools.

Mobile marketing also exceeded some estimates, though it remains a very specialized domain.

Perhaps the most important finding for 2013 is that Adobe, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce continue to cobble together broad digital marketing capabilities via acquisitions.

Adobe acquired Neolane, the latest in its multi-year acquisition binge. Oracle spent most of H1 2013 digesting its bevy of 2012 acquisitions.

Salesforce finally acquired a marketing automation vendor in ExactTarget. This acquisition roiled the market a bit less than expected, and in the long run, the two vendors could represent a good fit, though they remain two distinct services today. Notably, Salesforce itself still licenses Oracle's Eloqua for its own email marketing -- foreshadowing the bigger deal the company inked with Oracle mid-year. Why Oracle? As Salesforce shifts from business-oriented to consumer-facing services, its infrastructure badly needs an overhaul, we think. Meanwhile, Salesforce rebranded parts of BuddyMedia, and also acquired EntropySoft, a vendor of content connectors.

It's increasingly apparent that these vendors are revisiting the circa 2003 phenomenon of a multi-dimensional suite for your digital marketing efforts. Caveat Emptor.

A Busy Year for RSG

2013 has proven a very busy year for us. In addition to updating our core vendor evaluations, we made some improvements to the Custom Short-list Builder service and delivered advisory briefings and recorded webinars on topics ranging from lessons drawn from the HP-Autonomy debacle to how to perform customer reference checks.

Dozens of organizations like yours tapped our analysts for advice one-on-one via advisory calls. We field a wide variety of questions on these calls. You have had some really important decisions to make this year. We've been delighted to help.

We also had the pleasure of consulting with an array of enterprises. In a consulting capacity we helped...

  • Three major universities pick new CMS platforms
  • A global news organization select a new WCM platform
  • A global consumer goods company rationalize their Digital Asset Management (DAM) strategy
  • Another global consumer goods company select a DAM platform
  • Yet another global consumer goods company develop a Digital Workplace roadmap
  • A major health services company select a B2B customer portal platform
  • A major insurance company select a B2B customer portal platform
  • A global home furnishings company develop a DAM strategy
  • A global accounting firm devise an enterprise content management roadmap
  • Two trade associations select new WCM platforms
  • A major television production company develop a Media Asset Management strategy
  • Two public sector organizations select new WCM platforms
  • A global luxury brand elaborate a DAM strategy

You'll notice we did not consult with any vendors (or speak at their conferences, or shill their webinars).  That would constitute a clear conflict of interest, since our core business is evaluating their wares.  As far as I know, this model is unique in the analyst industry.

More interesting things are on the way for H2, but that's another post...

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