Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) measures 16 DXP vendors by their “completeness of vision” and “ability to execute”.
- Adobe is ranked highest of all. Optimizely (formerly Episerver) is ranked 3rd. Both are in the “Leaders” quadrant.
- Salesforce, another Absolunet Keystone Partner, is ranked highest in the “Challengers” quadrant, followed closely by Oracle.
Digital Experience Platforms or DXP are defined by Gartner as a cohesive set of technologies that create “contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.” A DXP acts as a “center of gravity” to unite complex technology stacks and increase a brand’s digital presence.
In short, a DXP allows brands to design and deliver customer experiences that remain on-brand and consistent, regardless of channel, device or platform.
It is worth mentioning that eCommerce is not necessarily prioritized in the ranking of DXPs. Commerce platforms and capabilities are complex enough to merit their own rankings, be they quadrants or waves.
Here is a summary of Gartner’s findings on Adobe, Optimizely and Salesforce.
Adobe Leads the Way
Adobe and its Adobe Experience Cloud is the highest ranked of all the vendors. While Adobe’s primary use case is B2C, it is drastically expanding its B2B capabilities.
Adobe's strengths, as defined by Gartner:
- Great brand recognition and technology adoption, globally.
- Customer data management capabilities.
- Enhanced personalization with real-time segmentation and data enrichment.
- An extensive ecosystem (creative agencies, SIs, and marketing / advertising agencies).
Adobe's drawbacks: TCO, complex contract negotiations, long implementations (which will be offset by PWA).
Adobe's room for growth: B2B capability with authenticated partner portals and experiences.
Optimizely’s Rise to Leader Status
In the past 3 years, Optimizely has climbed faster than any other DXP. They are the #1 Microsoft .NET platform and in the top 3 for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision.
Optimizely’s capabilities include content management, personalization, customer data management and analytics.
- Good understanding of the DXP market.
- Pricing and packaging are modular and highly transparent.
- Pricing strategy appeals to large enterprises and growing midsize organizations.
Misconceptions about Optimizely: Optimizely is often not considered for B2B, despite its acquisition of Insite, a leading B2B platform. Absolunet was an Insite Platinum Partner and can attest to the strength of the B2B offering.
Salesforce: A Strong Challenger, Particularly for B2B
Salesforce, renowned for their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, is moving steadily towards a leadership role for commerce and experience. Their Salesforce Experience Cloud serves multiple verticals such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare and financial services.
According to Absolunet’s Salesforce practice leads, Salesforce’s Lightning framework is the future of their offering.
- The CRM, as well as its broad install-base. From a marketing tech stack POV, an existing platform/ecosystem relationship is easier to build upon.
- Acquisitions that allow them to provide industry-specific solutions for verticals like financial services, manufacturing and health and life sciences.
- A single view of the customer.
Salesforce's drawbacks: Product complexity due to Salesforce’s vast portfolio, higher cost for the buyer, lower CMS maturity.
“The Salesforce platform is incredibly potent, especially if, on the client side, you have a smart individual with a vision,” says Charles Desjardins, Absolunet CEO and Partner. “If that person and team has a fully integrated IT strategy for bringing leads into the funnel, nurturing, offering transactional capability, hosting a portal and providing field services, Salesforce can do all that in one single, unified environment.”
- R&D Matters. A platform’s ranking improve when their offering, potential, capabilities and market increase, all of which is the result of improving and adapting the platform to meet customer needs and consumer behavior.
- The lines between B2B and B2C eCommerce platforms are now dotted. As the eCommerce platform market continues to evolve to match consumer behavior and features, platform vendors are aggressively moving into new markets particularly for manufacturing and distribution.
- Increased modularity: A lot of existing technology stacks were put in place using heavyweight monolithic applications. Gartner says that vendors will need to increase the modularity of their offerings and corresponding pricing to meet pressure from buyers.
- No “one-size-fits-all” platform. Each platform has its own strengths and should be chosen based on business requirements; different ERPs react differently to each eCommerce platform, for example. A strategic and technical assessment will help narrow your choice when choosing a B2C or B2B eCommerce platform. In other words, the top performer isn’t automatically the best fit for your business and objectives.
- Absolunet works with best-of-breed partners. A technology-agnostic approach is at the core of Absolunet’s eCommerce and PxM consulting framework - we work with best of breed technologies, platforms and vendors, many of which rank among the highest in their domains, as independent analyst research like that from Gartner consistently confirms.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant for DXP evaluates vendors that meet Gartner’s inclusion criteria. It is intended to help decision making regarding vendors and products.