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The Digital Renaissance

Memories in the Magic Quadrant: What Happened to Gartner’s Web Content Management Rating?

When it comes to measuring and comparing the world of content management systems, there are a handful of highly authoritative analyst firms in which tech nerds flock towards to get a good sense of the CMS landscape.

One of them is the Forrester Wave, and the other is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

Unfortunately, for those who like simplicity and ease of access, the category in which you can find such analysis is more obscure.

In the past we would be able to look at the Forrester Wave for Web Content Management Systems, then be able to look at Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, the latter of which Adobe Experience Manager had won 9 years in a row. NINE! After being evaluated on 26 different criteria.

But then during one night in 2019, under the auspices of darkness, reports are that Gartner grabbed the Magic Quadrant for WCM, placed it in a blacked-out car, and drove off.

Why did Gartner kill off the Magic Content Quadrant?

It turns out that the research and analyst firm actually retired (Phew!) the category report as it had “reached its maturity with products becoming more homogenized.” 

Put simply, leading content management systems have paralleled the projection of mobile phones: they’ve outgrown their original purpose and have pushed ahead into border capabilities. And demand is greater for a CMS that is not only powerful but also provides a broader skill set.

What they have developed into are digital experiences. Which is why in 2020 content management systems were included in Gartner’s new revamped Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms.


“It’s the birth of WCM to a new definition of a content management system,” said Irina Guseva, an author and senior research director at Gartner. Because now it’s not only the web, obviously, that we need to tackle when you have Alexa, chatbots and different devices, modalities and channels. Content is not dying. It’s just turning into an original idea of a content management system that’s intended for different content types and now for different channels.”

And what do you know! In the very first Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms, Adobe Experience Manager was named a leader.