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Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms - Gartner 2020

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platform, 2020 is available. Alfresco Digital Business Platform has been named leader, as well as Hyland, which has just completed the acquisition of Alfresco.

Gartner defines a content services platform (CSP) as the foundational component in an organization for the management and utilization of content. CSPs provide a way for employees to retrieve and work with content in a modern, seamless way across devices and organizational boundaries.

According to Gartner: “Organizations often demand simplicity and ease of adoption,” and “organizations are moving CSP services to the cloud. This has been accelerated by the response to the COVID-19 crisis…. when flexible, rapid deployment and ease of access is especially important to drive digital resilience”.

A leader by gartner

Leaders in this market articulate the positioning and vision as a foundational content service vision and a distribution and implementation ecosystem that can fulfill it. They have a significant global market presence, strong partner relationships, consistent financial growth, broad platform applicability, and international, well-regarded customer support. The product suites offered by these vendors will address all of the core and optional capabilities of a CSP. They will also exhibit strong differentiation in the Critical Capabilities (as described in Critical Capabilities for Content Services Platforms). Leaders have broad applicability across many CSP use cases and the ability to support global implementations.  

Alfresco and Hyland leaders

On 22 October 2020, Hyland announced that it had completed its acquisition of Alfresco. Details of the ongoing strategy are not yet apparent, but Alfresco brings a more developed cloud strategy and a European presence to Hyland. As of publication, Hyland has yet to define how the very different strategies of these vendors will come together. This will likely take at least six months to become fully apparent.


Alfresco Hyland
Platform consolidation: Alfresco has combined the federation of other content services and migration from those content services into a single dashboard, enabling users to search and govern information across multiple disparate repositories.  Industry expertise: Hyland focuses on a number of key verticals, including healthcare, insurance, financial services, government, higher education, and commercial, and does so in a deep, integrated way. 
Technical appeal: Alfresco’s open-source heritage, rich developer framework, commitment to the developer community, and depth of features makes it a consistently strong option for IT-led initiatives looking for a platform to build and extend. Social media analysis highlighted positive sentiment around Alfresco’s Intelligence Services, a set of capabilities designed to enable developers to integrate AI services. Governance adoption: Hyland has released Governance Rules as a Service (GRaaS) in partnership with Iron Mountain. This is a highly differentiated offering, enabling end-users to implement and maintain retention rules directly within OnBase based on actual legislation. This helps when translating legislative requirements into actual, configured, and executable working policies.
Citizen developer process design: Alfresco extends its rich business process automation capabilities with more user-centric design interfaces, enabling citizen developer activities. This reduces the reliance on technical expertise for business scenarios such as simple approval workflows and content filing. Complex processes can be designed using the full in-depth process design capabilities.
Integration depth:  Hyland has a broad range of line-of-business integrations that provide deep levels of functionality. These include Duck Creek, Guidewire, Epic, Oracle ERP Cloud, Salesforce, SAP, and Workday, among others. This is in addition to deep integration into productivity tools such as Microsoft Outlook and G Suite.

The analysis in this research is based on Alfresco’s activities and performance prior to the acquisition, which is targeted for completion in 4Q20.




Digital workplace limitations: Alfresco’s effectiveness as a tool for ad hoc content management activities is reduced by its limited cloud office suite integration and productivity intelligence capabilities when compared to the SaaS-native vendors in this market. Developing cloud presence: Hyland’s cloud offering trails some other Leaders in this market. Today, there are no SaaS or PaaS self-service provisioning options for OnBase, which may increase hosting and management costs. The first iteration of the next-generation multitenant SaaS platform is scheduled for release in the final quarter of 2020; however, its initial release is limited to a single capture-based application. Hyland has other multitenant SaaS products in the portfolio.
Limited solution profile: Although acquisitions have increased the number of available native solutions in the portfolio, Alfresco still lacks vertical focus and relies on partners to develop and market such solutions. This is an area of strength for Hyland, so Gartner clients should pay attention to where synergies appear here as the proposed acquisition matures. Commercial cost and complexity: Hyland’s platform is among the most expensive in the content services market. Its proposals often contain a complex bill of materials and licensing metrics that make it difficult to analyze overall value. Hyland has made improvements to simplify this and provide value transparency with licensing bundles. This pricing was released in 2020 and is early in its rollout. It does not yet make up the majority of Hyland proposals that are reviewed by Gartner.
Differentiation: While it has a broad and deep set of capabilities, it can be difficult to differentiate Alfresco from other long-standing vendors in this market. Clients often report to Gartner that they see Alfresco as a legacy platform. However, Alfresco has made investments in a new next-generation platform, the initial release of which was made available in September 2020 that could start to mitigate this perception.
Growing geographical presence: Compared to other established Leaders in this Magic Quadrant, Hyland’s presence is limited in territories outside of North America. The majority of its implementation partners and a majority of its customers are based in North America. Hyland’s EMEA customer base has grown, primarily due to acquisition, and this presence will increase as the Alfresco acquisition completes. Hyand is continuing to grow its international partner footprint and is increasingly working with global system integrators.

Integrated, intelligent content services, repository federation, and cloud readiness are driving differentiation and disruption in a long-established market. 

Alfresco is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant. Its Digital Business Platform is mainly focused on content-centric business administration and operational use cases. It provides a range of rich services covering content and process services, information governance, and application development.

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