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by Jeffrey McGuire
In Deliver digital faster with Drupal Part 1, I showed you some of the many examples of successful sites built rapidly thanks to Drupal’s modularity. To stay ahead of your competition, you need to be nimble and agile; Drupal helps you do this with reusable, transferable digital experiences that can be customised to suit various niches even within a single business enterprise. All, of course, without paying additional license fees or mandated limits on developers, environments, or copies.
Faster, less risky
... and cheaper! Keep what works and integrate it with Drupal; replace what needs replacing. Incremental, targeted projects are not only far less risky than “Big Bang” all-or-nothing releases, they are faster to get out the door, too! Drupal lets you release a new feature or try out a new MVP, but in days or weeks rather than months.
I spoke with Bálint Kléri, Head of Technology at Indivizo.com, in Acquia Podcast #146 about how Drupal is enabling Indivizo to make a Software-as-a-Service-based product business. He cited time-to-market as the number one reason:
"I believe the biggest thing here is that I was able to create the prototypes in a very short time. We could validate our business idea, our whole startup idea, and iterate on top of that. Doing that is really efficient in Drupal because you can build things very quickly. You have great tools."
Site and project builds are faster, less risky, and more focused when using Drupal. Drupal professionals address common business concerns every day in the course of working on the digital front lines and they share their solutions and best-practices with the larger Drupal community. Drupal gives your developers a great solution-base to start with and lets them focus on solving the interesting, innovative, and unique parts of your project, while relying on Drupal to deliver all the functionality you should expect of an up-to-date content management system.
When starting with Drupal, you are removing a lot of risk from your project. You are taking advantage of a proven, enterprise-ready technology. Because less custom coding is required, and because Drupal is very popular with governments and security-conscious corporations around the world, you are getting the help of thousands of hackers and security experts around the world every day – in addition to the built-in expertise of tens of thousands of Drupal developers.
“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.” - US Department of Defence CIO memorandum “Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software”
Because Drupal is modular, extensible, and standards-based, it helps you maximise your existing and future technology investments. When you choose Drupal because you want to take advantage of the latest the web has to offer – analytics and personalisation, for example – unlike many proprietary systems, you don’t need to rip out all your existing, working systems and install a unified “ultimate solution to everything”; that will be out of date next year anyway. Drupal offers integrations with most every existing technology, service, and data source on the web today and – unlike unified, monolithic, solutions – it is also “future friendly”. Being open, extensible, and standards-based means it is ready for the new services coming further down the line.
Community as accelerator
Drupal’s large, active developer community gives you fast, specifically tailored, custom development, too. While preparing a large customer project, a major systems integrator identified an essential module that needed further development before being included in the project’s code base. An estimate was made regarding the amount of in-house development required to make the fix. At the same time, maintainer of the module in question was approached about making the necessary improvements. Since she knew her code base inside and out, she was able to make the requested changes in a fraction of the time and much more cost efficiently than an in-house developer. The systems integrator kept their resources focused, while the targeted investment in the module maintainer paid off in parallel, efficient cooperation with the rest of the team; they were able to increase their production speed and efficiency beyond their in-house capacity.
This project was completed faster and cheaper than would have been otherwise possible, because of Drupal’s collaborative, massive open-source developer community. A recent quote by Ben Golub, the CEO of Docker, regarding doing business in an open source context rings true to me in this context:
“I would much rather be an ubiquitous platform and face competition on how to manage that platform than to be a stand-alone tool, both proprietary and unknown.”
It’s this very focus on platform improvement and collaboration in Drupal, rather than platform competition, that leads to such efficient code fixes. Keep in mind as well that Docker is a growing cloud technology backed by an active developer community of less than 1,000 developers plus a company providing commercial support and other service offerings around it. Sounds a lot like Drupal and Acquia, except that Drupal is supported and multiplied by an active developer community of more than 20,000, an active professional and user community of more than 80,000, and a plethora of other professional service providers. This is where the power of open source at scale really starts to shine.
Do what you do well, but faster
In these two posts (Deliver digital faster - part 1 and this one, part 2), I’ve pointed out that whatever your business, Drupal offers you scalable, reusable, remixable solutions, backed by a large community of professionals. Since your content management needs are met right out of the box, you and your teams can focus on what is important: your core business. Your new and innovative ideas can be the focus of your time and investment.
Other companies in your niche are probably already using Drupal, meaning that you can benefit from mutual “coopetition” – shared concerns can lead to shared solutions. Sony Music and Warner Music both use Drupal, for example; but they are competing in marketing music and entertainment, not wasting effort trying to compete in core IT.
Once you’ve built a solution the first time, the next one is going to be even cheaper and faster to build, since you can reuse all the Drupal components as many times as you like. If a module needs creation or adjustment, Drupal’s large, professional community can efficiently accelerate your development cycles. Drupal’s modularity and extensibility also allows you to make targeted changes and improvements, keeping what works and adding new functionality as you need it.