Adobe beats out IBM, Oracle and Salesforce marketing clouds in latest Forrester report

When it comes to offering a unified set of marketing tools, Forrester Research says Adobe’s ahead of the competition, but it’s too early to declare a leader.

Adobe was rated ahead of marketing cloud rivals, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, HP and Sitecore in the latest Forrester Wave™: Digital Experience Delivery Platforms, Q3 2014 report.

Forrester defined digital experience delivery platforms as “software vendors vying to offer integrated, business-centric tools to create, deliver, measure, and optimize digital (and offline) channels of engagement and push experiences to digital channels of choice.”

While the report recognized Adobe, IBM and Sitecore as “Strong Performers,” it did say that none of the vendors evaluated were completely integrated in their offerings, and it called the truly unified platform “more myth than reality”

It also said that all-in-one solutions that are flexible about integrating with other platforms (such as Sitecore) are “punching above their weight” when it comes to competing with the big enterprise marketing clouds.

Here’s what the report had to say in its evaluation of the major players in the integrated marketing suite space:

Adobe

Adobe received credit for being further along the integration process than its competitors, as well as its broad array of digital experience solutions. This includes its customer experience management, digital asset management and analytics tools, which all share a single, unified user experience. However, Forrester noted that Adobe currently lacks a commerce solution in its suite, as well as external data management, which was still a work in progress.

“Adobe is the best fit for companies with sophisticated needs requiring best-of-breed solutions, and who have the budget to support them,” says the report.

Sitecore 

Although none of the individual components in its platform can be called “best-of-breed” Sitecore also received recognition as a “Strong Performer” on the basis of its highly integrated offerings. However, its tight integration means that its also less effective at integrating with third party platforms.

“Its vision on the connective tissue of tooling and leveraging data is particularly strong, though we’d like to see Sitecore embrace third-party data as well,” says the Forrester report.”As a one-stop shop, Sitecore has less incentive for integrations with third-party products, and this is reflected in its road map.”

IBM

Another “Strong Performer” IBM is a contender in the space solely because of its massive purchasing power, which has netted it top rated digital experience solutions such as Coremetrics, Sterling Commerce and Unica. However, the many products and functionalities are not integrated, and do not have a unified strategy. As Forrester writes:

Like many other aggregation vendors, IBM still has work to do on integrating its products together; one customer told us that the offering feels “cobbled together,” while another praised the volume of functionality but pointed out, “it still demands a lot of effort to build.”

Oracle

Despite its large market presence, Oracle falls in the “Contender” category. Like IBM, oracle has bought its way to the table, with top quality products such as Eloqua, Responsys, BlueKai and Compendium. The report says Oracle has focused more on commerce acquisitions rather than content, and it still has to come up with a broader vision for how it will implement all its products in the marketing cloud.

The report says:

Overall, Oracle has well-rounded features in areas like targeting and contextualization, customer interaction tools, and search. However, Oracle has some work to do in leveraging all its acquisitions. Integration between the various products is still in progress. Oracle also must continue to invest in areas like unified data capabilities, unified UIs, and globalization/localization

Salesforce

Forrester criticized Salesforce’s efforts in the marketing cloud space for being “more vision than reality.” And despite the huge ecosystem of partners in its CRM ecosystem, Salesforce’s surprising weakness is its lack of integration with third party platforms in its marketing cloud. In a nutshell, Salesforce has individually great solutions, but has no unified deployment strategy yet. Forrester writes:

Ultimately, salesforce.com has a lot of important pieces of the digital experience delivery platform, but without a more coherent, integrated story, it will fare better at selling those individual components, rather than being the centerpiece of a more cohesive platform.

HP

Rated as a “Contender,” HP’s Autonomy platform was criticized for not doing enough in terms of focusing outside data and analytics. Forrester writes:

HP Autonomy is a vendor in flux, trying to absorb multiple acquisitions and attempting to remain relevant in a market where many of its implementations are legacy. Its strategy increasingly focuses on data and analytics built from multichannel customer behavior, but it does not have sophisticated integration to its content management and delivery capabilities. Its partner story is weak.

The entire report can be downloaded for free through Adobe (registration required). And don’t forget to check out The Hub’s analysis of the marketing cloud wars here.

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