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Deliver digital faster with Drupal – Part 1

Act, react, and execute faster with Drupal. Your time-to-market can be the difference between success and failure in today’s rapidly changing and evolving business world; you don’t know what tomorrow’s killer app or innovation will be, but you need to be free to embrace it. How fast can you build and provision digital properties to leapfrog ahead of your competition? What happens when the market changes and shifts around you – yet again or constantly? A modular, open source solution with an active professional community like Drupal lets you re-use, re-arrange, and re-assemble components and solutions, increasing your production speed and efficiency when innovation strikes.

Drupal helps you win

As business itself becomes digital, the benefits that a widely adopted, open source technology solution like Drupal can bring to organisations today are manyfold. This post focuses on how Drupal helps you deliver digital faster. Read Why Drupal? Because it helps you win for more background on the series it belongs to. Why Drupal? First principles will get you up to speed on my working definitions of success in business today, open source and the Four Freedoms that define it, and Drupal itself: open source at scale.

Ready, set, head start!

The moment you download Drupal and plug-in modules from Drupal.org, you have millions of hours of coding by tens of thousands of developers at your fingertips. That code is the distilled best practices of more than a decade of Drupal professionals working on the front lines of digital business. The more than 80 thousand active Drupal community members believe that together we can create a better product by working with it, giving back code, sharing, and collaborating – rather than reinventing the wheel for every client or project.

Bob Kerner, SVP and Chief Digital Officer of NYSE Euronext – which runs its web infrastructure of tens of thousands of pages on Drupal – talks about this head start effect:

“I believe in the success of the open source model - when you get developers excited about building in open source they become really engaged in the environment. They want to reap the benefits of the community and solve problems within the community, and that helps out everyone." quote via networkworld.com

The benefit for you is clear: using Drupal core plus installing contributed plug-in modules and doing configuration in the admin interface will often get you 80% of the way to your finished product without custom coding. Drupal distributions can get you even closer. They are like pre-assembled, pre-configured starter kits that solve common business cases like running a school, managing a hotel, government websites (Canada, Australia, United States), eCommerce, and much, much more.

The thousands of Drupal modules – 6000+ for Drupal 7 – function as building blocks of digital functionality that you can assemble into a complete digital experience. Once you have built your website, application, app, or whathaveyou and you know the capabilities of your module set, you can re-use, re-arrange, and re-assemble those modules into other, different experiences, repurposing those blocks of functionality over and over again.

Not only do Drupal and its plug-in modules give you a headstart on their own; anything you have built or configured before can also be copied and reused to make your next project or deployment even faster! You have no licensing limits on the number of developers, templates, environments, or copies of Drupal you can own and use at any given time. You can build a solution once and reuse it any number of times, thereby reducing your per-use cost every time you implement a similar solution.

Who is working faster with Drupal?

Warner Music Group supports 200+ artists on a common Drupal platform, which offers WMG a set of shared business and presentation management capabilities, as well as rapid site deployment for new artists--each of whom has their own individual design and interface needs. WMG’s Drupal platform offers each artist that unique, custom-branded experience and community building tools for their fans; as well as promoting and selling their recordings, products, music, t-shirts, concert tickets, etc.

VML, the digital agency, built their main page, vml.com, on Drupal and met with a lot of success (both with Drupal and their business). Then they started expanding … a lot. They built a small number of Drupal site templates to reuse across what is now a global company and site infrastructure. They can rapidly deploy a new site, reusing the basic platform (modules, configuration, etc.), restyling it, and filling it with relevant, localised content. Furthermore, they can do all of this without any additional license costs or per-seat, per-developer, or per-user limits.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer division works with numerous digital agencies around the globe. Centering on Drupal as its web technology of choice gives it efficiency, saves costs, and maintains compatibility and technical oversight. Digital service providers are given J&J’s reusable Drupal 7 reference implementation as a site building platform and quickly assemble rebranded, localised sites for each market, all on a common infrastructure.

“J&J Consumer division includes 48 brands, which are sold globally, and presented digitally via over 750 websites worldwide. Prior to the creation and release of the solutions platform, each brand and global region had the autonomy to build and host their website(s) independent of any coding or branding standards – the result of which is a portfolio of brand websites that are disparate from one another, and costly to maintain. The objective of the OPEN Solutions Platform was to standardize the J&J Brand websites onto a best in class reference architecture, built on Drupal 7. Goals of the platform include governance standards, ability to maintain a single platform with regional feature set(s), automated testing and a rich feature set which cares for 95% of the use cases for the J&J Brand websites globally.” via DrupalCon Austin

In Deliver digital faster with Drupal – Part 2 ...

In the second part of this post, I’ll examine how this efficient site production and reusable modular system work to manage your project costs and risks – above and beyond the savings inherent in a product you can use over and over again. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week: same time, same Bat channel!

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