As we roll into the second half of 2019, let's review the state of play in some key digital experience marketplaces, beginning with Web Content & Experience Management. RSG evaluates nearly three dozen WCM vendors.
In RSG's predictions for 2019, we suggested that WCM tiers would get simpler this year, as one byproduct of an ongoing transition to a more enterprise-wide, omnichannel tech stack. In terms of actual deployments we see among our larger subscribers, there's some evidence of this. We're having more conversations about transferring personalization, analytics, data management and other services to a lower tier in your stack.
But it's safe to say that most WCM vendors haven't gotten this message. The major WCM players in particular have been enlarging their platforms both horizontally — by adding more outbound marketing and other non-WCM features — and vertically — by trying to take on journey orchestration and customer data management capabilities that we believe actually belong elsewhere.
Steady State Marketplace
Historically the WCM marketplace has not seen a lot of M&A activity, and this year is no different. There are several structural reasons for this.
Of course that doesn't mean that your WCM platform is safe from turbulence. Any vendor can shift strategies or decide to sell out. IBM did sell its WCM offering to HCL as part of a broader sell off of the entire WebSphere portfolio. Otherwise, though, we just haven't seen other major WCM vendor shifts over the past several years.
Of course, your WCM vendor could plateau and transition more into maintenance mode with reduced innovation, and we're seeing signs of this in a few cases. You'd surely want to monitor that carefully, but it need not prompt a rush for the exits.
At this point, nearly all the WCM vendors we cover can claim some sort of headless option — meaning they can deliver content and potentially micro-experiences as a service, while not actually delivering your website.
We've had some interesting conversations in advisory sessions with subscribers on this topic, and RSG is expanding our coverage of some newer players. But the general trend this year is that "headless" has become less of a category or even differentiator among WCM platforms.
What You Should Do
WCM technology remains important, so we'll keep watching. But you the customer will want to meter your investments here as you evaluate your broader CX stack strategy.