IBM vs Oracle for Web Content Management

  • 14-May-2018

We consider IBM and Oracle as "legacy" vendors in RSG's categorization Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) technology.  Both vendors have long sold and supported WCM technology (typically as part of larger enterprise deals), but never seemed to hold that much enthusiasm for it.  Now as IBM and Oracle reconsider their strategies for the cloud, what's changed?

Oracle vs. IBM

Where They're Similar

Oracle WebCenter Sites and IBM WebSphere WCM were both acquired from other vendors and have a long history of similarities.  Both are...

  • Highly scalable yet complex, Java-based platforms
  • Typically sold as part of a large suite, rather than as a standalone solution to your digital publishing needs
  • Localized in an impressive breadth of languages
  • Usually bought because of the vendor name, rather than the intrinsic "fit" of the underlying solution

The last point about being "bought" rather than "sold" is critical.  Digital teams often inherited these tools because someone else licensed them as part of some larger strategic deal.  This approach, my friends, is not how you procure best-fit WCM solutions.  But let's continue...

Where They Differ

IBM and Oracle do differ in some ways

  • Oracle inherited a more sophisticated, object-oriented platform in Content Server and has done a better job of keeping it up-to-date than IBM
  • IBM has bound its WCM technology and strategy much more closely to its Portal offering
  • IBM was known to give away licenses to WCM; Oracle typically doesn't do that...

But the Most Important Thing to Know...

The two solutions align in one important way: they are both getting effectively deprecated in Oracle and IBM's long journey to the cloud.  Both vendors are rebuilding their WCM capabilities using mostly microservices-based architectures.  For IBM, it's "Watson Content Hub" (really more of a DAM solution, but that's another story), while for Oracle it's the "Customer Experience Cloud." 

Both vendors will tell you that their incumbent solutions are still relevant, that you have hybrid choices, and that they will supply clear transition roadmaps to convert from the old platforms to the new.  You should remain very sceptical here.  Neither IBM WCM nor Oracle Sites are going away, but this is likely to represent a multi-year replacement program for both vendors.

In the meantime, if you're looking for modern WCM tooling, the good news is you have a wide slew of options.

And if you're an RSG subscriber, log in to see our latest analysis of IBM and Oracle's offerings.



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