The 2013 update to web content management (WCM) services in SharePoint has proven mostly a “catch-up” release at a time when most .NET competitors have upgraded their web engagement and marketing capabilities, according to new research from independent analyst firm, The Real Story Group.

Version 21.6 of RSG’s noted Web Content & Experience Management vendor evaluation report has updated reviews of the Microsoft platform as well as close WCM competitors in the .NET-based mid-market: Ektron and EPiServer.  The full report evaluates 37 WCM products.

“As with each previous SharePoint release, Microsoft has improved the editorial experience, but the company seems to retain a tin ear for site and experience management services,” notes RSG Senior Analyst, Irina Guseva.  “Its major competitors in the mid-market can deliver more marketing and engagement capabilities, typically at a lower price point.”

RSG’s research also found that many of the newer capabilities in SharePoint 2013 web publishing, such as Cross-Site Publishing with FAST Search services, can deliver unexpected results.  Most of these newer features are not yet available in the cloud-based version of SharePoint, and therefore not amenable to the more rapid upgrade schedule that Microsoft promises for Office 365.

“We were surprised by how much the 2013 platform feels under-baked for WCM,” says RSG Founder Tony Byrne, “especially given Microsoft’s traditional emphasis on predictable system behavior.”  Byrne concludes that prospective customers will want to wait for more in-depth field experience before committing to the platform.