Last week Gartner published its Magic Quadrant for the enterprise content management market. In our analysis of the report we examined the companies that had made it into the leader’s quadrant. Outside of the leader’s quadrant, though, there are three other quadrants: visionaries, challengers and niche players. Let's have a look.

In this report we will focus on the visionaries and the single company that made it into the challengers quadrant. The niche player’s quadrant is exactly that; it is a list of nine companies that provide specific software for specific needs and as such will not meet all the criteria needed for inclusion in the leader’s quadrant.

With the Magic Quadrant Gartner (news, site) is always keen to stress that those that make the leaders quadrant are not necessarily the ‘best’ companies, but rather companies that meet a number of criteria outlined by Gartner. (For a clear outline of those criteria see last week’s report).

To recap, criteria for inclusion in the Magic Quadrant include:

  • At least US$ 10 million in revenues from content management revenues, or US$ 10 million or more in subscriptions for open source vendors.
  • Market products in two geographic regions
  • ECM software commercially available
  • An ECM suite with at least four core native components


Visionaries are companies that may offer all capabilities needed for a fully functioning ECM suite natively, or partners with other vendors for several core ECM components. In some cases, these companies need to integrate their acquisitions into their product suites. The Visionaries in alphabetical order are:


Adobe (news, site) bought Day Software in October this year. In the wake of the acquisition, Adobe is expected to continue to focus on building open source products and actively push standards like JSR and CMIS.

  • Strengths: Before the acquisition Day was at the forefront of devising integration standards like JSR and CMIS. The company has built a number of tools for mobile applications and cloud hosting. It has actively targeted media companies looking to provide applications for every channel.
  • Cautions: The acquisition of Day may draw focus away from product development and towards integration with Adobe’s LiveCycle and Omniture producst in order to expand the footprint of its WCM. Adobe also needs to build better market visibility. As an open-source platform it also requires deeper technical and administrative skills to implement.


Alfresco (news, site) is the only open source ECM suite to address all core capabilities required for inclusion and as such is the only open source vendor in this year’s list. Originally focused on document repository services, it now covers records management, WCM, DAM and BPM.

  • Strengths: It has a growing number of regional and global system integrators as well as a thriving user community. With support for CMIS, REST and Web Services, it has also built integration for Drupal, Joomla, Google Docs and IBM’s Lotus Quickr/Connections. Its suite can be deployed on a single server reducing hardware costs and simplifying deployment and administration.
  • Cautions: Gartner says it has received feedback which says some Alfresco customers have had performance and scalability issues when deploying it beyond departmental implementations. It does not have packaged, certified integration with ERP and CRM applications like SAP’s or Oracle’s Seibel CRM.


While Autonomy (news, site) has all the required ECM components in its product portfolio, it does not market itself as an ECM vendor. However, companies looking for information access, governance or social content management could do worse than Autonomy.

  • Strengths: By this stage, its IDOL platform is integrated across its technologies including document and records management, web content technologies and image capture. Under the “Power, Protect and Promote” banner, it is promoting itself across many markets as a vendor of information understanding and management. Its email archiving and records management technologies attract risk-focused enterprises.
  • Cautions: Autonomy continues to promote a vision of content management that many enterprise buyers have difficulty understanding, and continues to have limited capabilities in transactional applications and CCAs. Customer service for older products remains a challenge.


SpringCM (news, site) is one of the early movers in the cloud-based content management space and offers the promise of low cost enterprise deployments with few of the IT problems associated with some ECMs. Conversion to cloud ECM should be relatively easy as many companies have already gone the business process outsourcing route.

  • Strengths: Its policy of hiring senior managers with wide content management experience has underscored the perception of a company that is stable with scalable products. The CCAs listed amongst its products are amongst the biggest demand products in on-premise deployments. It has spent a lot of time building its brand and focus.
  • Cautions: It’s still early days for cloud-based ECM so demand has been modest because many enterprises are still risk-averse to cloud services. SpringCM is a small company and faces tough competition from on-premise software.


Xerox’s (news, site) spread is truly global and it has invested considerable resources in developing and promoting its document management products. Its footprint goes way beyond DocuShare with the acquisition of ACS and is looking to expand that again with the Amici and Advectis acquisitions.

  • Strengths: Demand for hosted back office application has resulted in an increase in the number of inquiries Gartner gets about Xerox, while its DocuShare CPX is gaining acceptance slowly as a result of increased functionality and scalability over DocuShare.
  • Cautions: While it may increase its capabilities by partnership, cost may make this a slow process. It needs to spend more on wider marketing to heighten awareness of its cloud-based products. DocuShare’s functionality needs to be improved.


Finally, there is only one vendor this year in the Challenger quadrant. Challengers offer good functionality and have a substantial number of installations, but they lack the vision of Leaders. They typically don't possess all the core ECM components. Instead, they use partnerships to round out their suites.

Perceptive Software

Acquired by Lexmark in June this year, Perceptive (news, site) remains an independent company. Its ImageNow platform is well known for fast integration and transactional content management for higher-education, government and back-office. Processes.

  • Strengths: Lexmark has allowed Perceptive continue on its route and develop its products and solutions. Its focus on ERP integration positions it as one of the few specialists able to meet the high demand in the solutions market.
  • Caution: Its technology partnership for intelligent capture and WCM may not give it the marketing lift other vendors enjoy from theirs. Its install base is mainly in the US and it will be some time before it can really get stuck into Europe. However, Lexmark may help it with that.

And that’s the ECM Magic Quadrant for this year. If you want to have a look at the leaders, check out our coverage. Otherwise contact Gartner for a full copy of the report.