Setting the Record Straight: Drupal as an Enterprise Web Content Management System [May 19, 2014]
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Web Content Management Systems (CMS) serve as the foundation of your digital customer experience strategy. Yet many enterprises struggle with legacy proprietary products (like HP Interwoven or OpenText Vignette) that can’t keep pace with the speed of digital marketing.
Open Source Web CMS products like Drupal are sometimes overlooked by enterprises because of fear and misconceptions that legacy vendors often spread. The truth is, more than 1.5 million sites run on Drupal, including large enterprises like NBCUniversal, Cisco, NYSE Euronext, and Warner Music Group.
We’ve heard it all, and we’re here to give you the facts. Dries Buytaert, the creator and project lead of Drupal, will cover how Drupal is conquering the enterprise, the common Drupal myths (that proprietary vendors want you to believe), and why other web CMS just can’t match up with the agility and freedom delivered by Drupal.
In this webinar with Dries, you’ll learn:
• Why Drupal is an Enterprise Ready Web Content Management System
• Common Misconceptions About Drupal and Open Source (Including concerns with security, scalability, flexibility)
• Why Drupal Wins Against Proprietary Vendors like Adobe and Sitecore
• Case Studies of Drupal in Large Enterprises
Moderator: Today’s webinar is Setting the Record Straight: Drupal as an Enterprise Web Content Management System with speaker Dries Buytaert, who’s the creator of Drupal and also a co-founder and a CTO at Acquia.
Dries Buytaert: Yes. We'll be talking about Drupal as an Enterprise Web Content Management System. Before we jump into that, this is me. For those that don’t know me, I started the Drupal project about – gosh, like 14 years ago. I worked on Drupal in my spare time for seven years, and then after seven years decided to start Acquia - we'll talk a little bit about Acquia as well. I also co-founded the Drupal Association. I’m a techie by education and I love photography, and I do love chocolates. This is actually funny because it was magically added by our marketing team, but I do love chocolate croissants. Actually this weekend, I was officially endorsed by somebody that I know on LinkedIn as an expert on chocolates. If you haven’t endorsed me on chocolates, this will be the time to do it. If you want to follow me on Twitter, I am @dries.
Today, we'll be talking about these things here. First, I’m going to talk a little about Drupal and the market that Drupal plays in. Specifically, what our competitors are and how they compete with Drupal. Then I’m going to talk about some common myths about Drupal in the Enterprise, and then talk a little bit about Drupal 8 in the end, and how Drupal 8 will actually be more powerful and more successful combating some of these myths. Then we're going to leave some time for questions in the end as well, so feel free to send your questions in the chat, I believe.
First of all, what’s Drupal?
For those of you that are new to Drupal, Drupal is an open source platform that organizations use for building websites. It was born as a social tool, specifically as a message board. Over time, we've added other components to it like content and commerce, and so now what’s really compelling about Drupal for many organizations is that it’s a unified platform that’s really good at these three things. That allows organizations to build a very wide variety of websites on a single platform. It features easy and fun content doctoring. We have lots of integrations with other systems and platforms. We separate the presentation from the code, from the data. It makes it very easy to do certain things.
We're pretty well respected in the areas of globalization and localization. We're one of the best CMSs when it comes to providing multilingual websites and specifically with Drupal 8, multi-channel delivery is also going to one of our strong suits. On the community side, as I mentioned, Drupal was born social, so lots of social features there. Things like group collaboration and user-generated contents like commenting and polls and activity streams and things like that. More recently, we've been very focused on commerce as a community and so people are also starting to use Drupal to build commerce solutions. What’s great about having these three things integrated is that you can build great digital experiences all the way from attracting people to your website through community and social to delivering great content, and then really deeply integrating the commerce experience as well, which has proven to be very beneficial to drive transactions to your Drupal sites. That’s a little bit of what Drupal does. Obviously it does many, many more things but at a high level, I think that is a good summary.
The next question then is: Who does Drupal compete with?
We have a number of different competitors in the traditional web content management space. As Acquia, we see Drupal compete the most with Adobe Experience Manager in CQ5. But also with Sitecore, which is .net solution based in written .net. Then we also compete a lot with legacy vendors, the first CMS platforms out there – products like SDL Tridion, TeamSite from Autonomy or HP now, also, Oracle FatWire. These kinds of platforms. Then we also compete a lot – and it’s not on the slides, but we compete with a lot of do-it-yourself solutions. There are still a lot of organizations that build their own or digital agencies, web development companies that have built in-house CMSs. We see a lot of that, actually. On the socials sites, we compete primarily with Jive and Lithium in that space.
What do the analysts say about Drupal?
As Acquia, I’d say we started to build our analyst relationships I would say, really like two or three years ago, sort of upped our game. As a result, Drupal and/or Acquia has appeared in quite a variety of analyst reports. One of them is the Forrester Wave for Web Content Management that was published in 2013, so last year. Acquia is one of the younger vendors in this Wave, and according to Forrester, Acquia and Drupal are sort of in the top three when it comes to product selection increase in terms of what they see as analysts. The analysts create an overview of the space but they also work a lot with large enterprise organizations. These organizations are customers of Forrester as well and they solicit their feedback in terms of platform selection. That’s one.
The other one is from Gartner. It’s a Magic Quadrant from Gartner on Web Content Management. As you can see, Acquia and Drupal is actually positioned here as the best open source vendor. Then we have one more. This is another Forrester Wave on Social Depth Platforms. Drupal and Acquia do really well here, we're among the leaders in this graph.
One thing to keep in mind. I don't know how many analysts are on this call, but typically analysts take sort of a laggard view at the markets. Also, that’s just how it is, frankly. It takes a while. You need to have a certain size, a certain momentum for them to consider you. It’s also one thing that we struggle with as Acquia. They wouldn't consider Drupal on its own so that’s why often you see Acquia on there, which is the combination of Acquia and Drupal, which they do consider. As you can see, ever since we started our efforts building analyst relationships, Drupal has been gaining moment quickly with the analysts and we hope that will continue, obviously.
What are some of the common misconceptions about Drupal and what do we see in the market when we compete with proprietary vendors?
Obviously, there’s a lot FUD. For those who don’t know FUDs, it stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We have great examples. Actually, just to kick it off here is one of them, some infographic from a digital agency. I’m not sure if you can actually read all the text but it’s a flowchart. Unless you are already absolutely in love with open source or are running a super simple website, all paths lead to commercial. You can see it on the right. All the arrows point to commercial solutions. Obviously, that is a little bit funny. If you know what the agency does, it primarily works with proprietary vendors. It actually doesn’t work with open source solutions at all, so no surprise there.
We see these kinds of a lot. We crated them. We sort of grouped them in five buckets, if you will, which is presented on this slide which we'll talk about in the rest of our presentation. Often Drupal is perceived as just for blogs or very simple websites. Others say Drupal isn't secure. Actually, it comes up quite a bit. “Drupal doesn’t scale and can't handle the world’s largest websites.” That is also one the things that is being mentioned often. Or, “Drupal requires tribal knowledge.” Fifth, “Drupal doesn’t work well with my marketing tools.” These are the five ones that we'll focus on.
The first one is; “Drupal is just for blogs and simple sites and not for global enterprises.” Here you see a copy of a white paper that Sitecore has on their website. I think you can still find it there. As you can read on the slide, they say things like, “We quickly discovered that Drupal's capabilities were a mile wide and an inch deep. The minute you go beyond exactly what open source can do out of the box, it gets very complex very quickly.” Suggesting that you can only do very simple things with Drupal, which needless to say is complete – beep – [Laughter].
We have a lot of great examples of how Drupal is being use by very large organizations. One of the best examples, actually, is GE. Obviously, one of the largest organizations in the world. They actually moved to Drupal from Autonomy TeamSite and from Vignette to Drupal. They have a couple hundred Drupal websites right now, I believe. They selected Drupal because it provided them way more flexibility and better velocity compared to TeamSites and Vignettes. It was very difficult for them to make changes, very slow process. Now, with Drupal, they can go much faster.
A great example of an organization standardizing on Drupal throughout the organization. Another one is NBC. They've been a Drupal user for some time now. If you know NBC, it’s actually a collection of different companies under the NBC umbrella. They’re actually standardizing on Drupal for all of their websites across all of their organizations, if you will. So all of the sports websites, all of the entertainment websites for their different shows and television channels, and even their news properties have moved or are in process of moving to Drupal. Pretty big website like nbcnews.com, websites like the Winter Olympic website. At some point, I think it was during the final hockey game – I’m not big on hockey – but I believe they were serving over 40 million pages an hour or 40 million users even, an hour. So, big websites, mission critical websites for these organizations that are sort of transferring their business to digital. These are not side projects. These are their main websites.
Warner Music is another great example. They have 300-plus websites on Drupal from David Bowie to Kid Rock to many other big artists. Needless to say, these are not simple websites, and managing 300 websites is not a simple task, either. So complexity in these two dimensions, if you will. With Drupal, it now became much, much easier to launch new artists and new brands which allowed them compete effectively in their space.
Drupal really is not just for small sites. In fact, over 50% of the top media and entertainment companies use Drupal. You can see some of the brands in here.
It’s very well established in government as well. We actually did some research and we found that over 130 nations across the world use Drupal. Both at the federal level, at the local state level, it’s everywhere basically. Not just in the US but also the European Commission, doing a lot of work with Drupal, so it’s pretty exciting in my mind.
Extremely well adopted by universities. Seven of the eight top universities are using Drupal, often with hundreds of sites. I was at Stanford not too long ago and I met with the CIOs of the eight schools that they have. Among the eight of them, they had over 2,000 or 3,000 on Drupal, so pretty impressive. That seems to be a pattern for many of the universities and they do all sorts of websites on them – departmental websites, classroom websites, lots of different sites.
Just a couple of other quick examples here. We see a lot of adoption. As of a few years ago within sort of the largest technology companies in the world. I mentioned GE already, but also Intel and Verizon, Red Hat and Alcatel-Lucent, building on very big Drupal sites. Some of these websites saved them millions of dollars actually. Again, great examples how Drupal is very successful in the enterprise with pretty complex implementations.
Emerging very rapidly is life sciences with organizations like Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson. Drupal now has 33% adoption within those, which is awesome. Financial services, same thing. Lots of large organizations like the New York Stock Exchange frankly, and Euronext in Europe. They have over 80 websites in Drupal, so very exciting. It doesn’t stop there. There are many other examples of Drupal.
If we actually look at some other data here, and this is data according to BuiltWith.com. It’s a website or a platform that tracks all the technologies that are being used on different websites online. So if you look at the top 100,000 sites, we see that Drupal runs about 3.5% of all the top 100,000 websites, according to Quantcast. That’s actually up from – as you can see, 2% in 2011. Tremendous growth in the enterprise and our two top proprietary competitors that we see, Adobe and Sitecore, as you can see, they’re run less than 0.50% or less than 1% combined even, and their growth seems to be more flat. It’s funny that these organizations try to compete with us and say Drupal doesn’t scale and Drupal is not ready for the enterprise or for big websites when, in fact, we run many, many more sites than they do. So that’s one.
The other one is: “Drupal isn't secure.” We hear that one actually quite a bit. Here’s another snippet from something that we read from Bridgeline Digital. You may not know them. I didn't know them, but they’re a small software as a service web content management company. They publish these anti-open source white paper just last week actually, so this very fresh. I’ll leave it up to you to read, but they're basically saying that open source platforms are very insecure and that’s a really bad idea to use open source. Which obviously, we don’t believe is true. We have real data and examples to back it up.
Here’s the example of We the People, which is part of the White House, so it’s sort of a sub site of whitehouse.gov. Needless to say – I don't know if you guys know on the call but there is like 34,000 websites in the government, of which there are about 10 that can never ever go down according to the government, and whitehouse.gov is one of them. This is one of the most business critical websites within the US government. For that website to use Drupal, obviously, is a great testament to open source and the security of Drupal and open source in general. It’s not even a small side project for them. We're talking about a petition website here that allows every citizen to the United States to create a petition and to sign a petition which is a fundamental right of citizens in the US. We're talking about the United States of America moving one of the core functions – it’s part of the First Amendment – from doing it through other systems to bringing that online and making that digital and making that accessible to all of the citizens of the United States. Key initiative using Drupal successfully. So to say that Drupal isn't secure or that open source is insecure seems a little bit farfetched.
In fact, here’s a quote from Forrester on Facebook to a customer. So Forrester wrote about this customer, “One interviewee from a global pharmaceutical organization believed that his open source web content management solutions were more secure than proprietary ones. And many also feel that the open code base is a particular advantage, as it allows organizations to explore potential security vulnerabilities.” This is exactly why open source is more secure. I can tell you that as Drupal project, we do take security very seriously. We have a security team, for example, which has more than 30 people on that team whose jobs and responsibilities to help make Drupal the most secure content management system.
Not just that, we also have a culture of peer review when we are developing the software. In proprietary companies, when one of the engineers makes a change, that person is most likely to just commit the change to the next version of the platform. In best case scenarios, there is one other person in the organization doing a code review. But in most software organizations, that’s actually not the case. Whereas, in Drupal, for somebody to make a change to Drupal Core, especially complex changes, some of these changes are being reviewed by 20 people or 10 people. But in every single case, every patch or change is reviewed by at least one other person. In most instances, actually by multiple people. We really use best practices in software development to help keep Drupal secure.
The other thing we do is when we do find a security bug in Drupal we're actually open about versus most propriety software vendors, they will just not mention that all. Group that under numerous buck fixes or things like that. I think that culture of transparency is actually very health versus just not being transparent, I guess. That is actually recognized. Here’s a quote from the CIO of the DOD, the Department of Defense in the United States. He says, “Continuous and broad peer review” – like I had just explained – “enabled by publicly available source code, supports our software reliability and security efforts.” That’s exactly what I just said.
The other thing that I’ll add is not just the contributors that are building Drupal that review the source code but it’s also – for example, before the Department of Defense decides to employ Drupal, I bet you they do security audits. Before another government somewhere else in the world decides to adopt Drupal in a significant way, I bet you, they do a security audit, too. Drupal has literally been security audited by expert organizations multiple times because of the scale and the adoption that we have, which the proprietary competitors don’t necessarily have.
In general, I feel like you should feel pretty good about security in open source in Drupal. That doesn’t mean there’s never going to be a security issue, but when there is, we actually handle it really well in a transparent way that enables everyone to act very quickly.
Moving on, the third myth is: “Open source won't scale to handle the world’s largest websites.”
There’s another example from Sitecore, a white paper called, “The Siren Song of Open Source CMS.” I highly recommend you download it if you need a good laugh. They basically say exactly that – open source doesn’t scale. Of course, there’s so much proof of that not being true. Open source is, in today’s world, inspiring technology in the enterprise. Not just in the level of CMSs but operating systems with Linux, databases with NoSQL and MySQL, Big Data place Hadoop, and also digital experiences like Drupal. I think open source has shown that it creates very large platform winners that leaves proprietary alternatives. I believe that’s exactly what’s happening with Drupal today.
Needless to say, we have a lot of examples here. Here’s the website of the Grammy’s which has been using Drupal for at least three years right now, in a row. The last grammy.com or Grammy Awards show, which was a few months ago, they actually had 460 million hits one night. Needless to say, Drupal does scale.
Here’s another example. This is the MTA. During Hurricane Sandy, the MTA website, built in Drupal, was the only website that stayed up for people looking for traffic information on how to get home, these kinds of things. We served 5.1 million customers in the New York area during that hurricane and had 30k comparing visitors to the platform. So sometimes, people say, well, it’s easy to build a website and do lots and lots of pages because you cache them all. But I think both grammy.com – it’s an example where they had updates to the website every minute. It wasn’t like all static website. Certainly, mta.info, there’s a lot of dynamic parts to the site. Limited cacheability there.
Another great example, is weather.com. They’re in the process of moving from Percussion, which is a legacy CMS, to Drupal. Very exciting to me because they are one of the largest websites in the world. Everybody checks the weather and everybody goes to weather.com for that. Also the data feeds that they send out to many of the apps and things like that, it’s all going to be covered by Drupal in the end. Top 25 website in the world moving to Drupal, I think is a huge testament to our scalability.
The next one. Now we're talking about the fact that; “Open source requires tribal knowledge.”
Again, the Sitecore white paper. They’re saying things like, “Open source isn't well supported by a community of developers.” And they say, “Developers can an excellent resource for enhancements and bug fixes, but when they’re actually going live with your website, they may not have any accountability to you. They’re not willing to help you.” These kinds of things. The reality, of course, is that the Drupal community is large and there's lot of people in the community and many of who are willing to help you.
Here are some quick stats actually. Drupal is one of the largest open source platforms in the world, especially if you measure it in terms of number of people that are part of our community that are contributing. You may not have the same install as Linux but we do have an incredible amount of people that are active in the development of Drupal. Over 28,000 developers a year actually make changes to Drupal and they’re all around the world 24/7 making Drupal better.
It’s funny that proprietary CMS vendors call us out on that because – I don't have the details here, but I don't know how many developers Sitecore has. If they have 100, I think that’s probably going to be a pretty good guess. Maybe they have only 50. Maybe they have 200. Maybe they even have 500 which they definitely don’t have. It’s still small numbers compared to Drupal where we have 28,000. Where are these experts on Sitecore, for example? It’s really funny that they call us out that way because it’s not unlike Drupal where – except we have many, many more people.
For those people that do have concerns about support of open source – and that’s exactly why I created Acquia frankly, to help provide commercial great support to these large organizations. But also, we have a large ecosystem of other companies that can help build your Drupal sites and do these kinds of things. Our ecosystem is definitely much larger than that of our proprietary competitors.
Forrester, again, wrote, “As one Forrester customer told us, ‘We had some concerns about support with open source, but we felt like a commercial company like Acquia could make up for that and give us the support we need.’” What that really means is that the combination of a company like Acquia combined with open source brings together the best of both worlds. You get all the advantages of what the proprietary enterprise software vendors will sell you like support, certain guarantees around up time and all of these things, but you get that combined with then innovation that’s coming out of open source. Like the innovations coming from these 20,000 and more developers around the world. It allows you to build really robust websites but also to innovate much faster than your competitors using proprietary software. That’s exactly why Drupal is being adopted that often.
All right, so our last myth here is: “Drupal is more expensive.”
Which is funny. They often make comparisons with “free puppies” and there’s some truth to that. Open source isn’t entirely free. There is no license fee, but there’s definitely other costs to using and running software. So let’s look into some of these costs. Here’s actually a quote that was sent to us by somebody that was looking at Adobe. Adobe, in their sales pitch, made the comparison between using their stuff and Drupal. As you can see, according to Adobe, to build these particular websites with Adobe, you needed about $1 million but to do it in Drupal, you need about $2.5 million, so 2.5x more expensive. They say it’s more expensive because Drupal lacks space functionality and they gave some amazing examples like, “We like the ability to have dynamic contents or mobile or multi-site management.” Obviously, these are all things which have baked into Drupal actually for over 10 years. They are just lying about Drupal to try and win deals.
Here is another example from Sitecore, and it’s funny to see how they pitch about what they do. They say, “Well, there is no license cost in Drupal but,” and this is the first lie, they say, “The license cost is only about 5% of the total implementation cost.” Which usually it’s much more than 5%, but then they say, “Even though there’s no license cost in Drupal, the actual implementation cost is so much bigger that the license cost doesn’t matter.” They wrote, “Reducing that 5% with savings on an open source CMS can drive up the other costs significantly, usually resulting in higher total expenses.” That’s complete bullshit as well.
In fact, let’s get some numbers here of how Sitecore or Adobe compare with Drupal. The first table is Sitecore or Adobe. These are numbers we made up based on what we see in the field. Let’s say the license fee is $200,000.00, which often is much more. Then there’s implementation services, by $200,000.00, and then the proprietary vendors always add on like maintenance and hosting so let’s say that’s $40,000.00 each for a total of $480,000.00 in Year 1. Of course in Year 2 and 3, the license fee disappears but you still need to pay for some implementation services and you have to keep doing maintenance and hosting, and so for this particular example, it’s going be about $680.000.00 for three years.
Now, in Drupal, there is no license fee, so that comes zero for all three years, but there are still some implementation services. Somebody still has to help build your websites. In the case of Drupal, it’s typically going to be about $150,000.00 because the fact that there’s so many contributed modules out there, over 20,000 modules, so a lot of the features and the functionality that you need or want for your websites are there as starting points or they’re there and they can just be used. Typically, what we see is that the implementation costs are lower because of the vast amounts of functionality available in the open source projects. Then maintenance and hosting in our case, it’s bundled in what we call Acquia Clouds and so typical price points there are $60,000.00 a year. If you combine everything, you can see that the total over three years is significantly lower than the proprietary vendors.
We'll quote you, and in fact I believe the average deal size for Adobe is – I thought it was $1.4 million. They’re definitely not that cheap and we’ve seen that a lot with our customers and Drupal users. For example, the State of Georgia, they have a 10-year-old proprietary platform that they decided to move to Drupal and in doing so they actually projected that they’ll save almost $5 million over five years for about 55 websites that they have on Vignette. These numbers are real. We have the people responsible for that project to back that up with real quotes. We see that over and over again, that not only is it cheaper to move to Drupal but it actually increases their velocity as well so they can do more with less money.
Which is what a lot of people have to do, frankly, because most organizations spend to more and more websites. They go from having one or two websites 10 years ago to having to manage dozens or hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of websites. At the same time, each of those individual websites have also become more complex like we went from having static contents to dynamic contents to pretty complex websites with integrations and CMS systems and CDN systems and marketing automation tools. There are these two forces. Force one is more and more websites, and force two is the web that’s accelerating and the complexity of the websites to increase as well. Yet at the same time, the budgets haven’t sort of followed that trend. Many, many organizations find themselves in a situation where their challenged having to do all the things they need to do. So open source has been a life saver for many, enabling them to do more with less.
There’s some bonus, extra myths here. Some people say, “Drupal doesn’t have a roadmap.” Other people say, “Drupal doesn’t have an upgrade path.” These things aren’t entirely true. It’s true we developed our software differently than proprietary software, but we do have a vision and a roadmap. The way we organized that for Drupal 8, for example, is we have eight or nine initiatives like examples being, configuration management when mobile or authoring experience. We set out these big themes, if you will, and that’s effectively our roadmap.
Same thing with an upgrade path, Drupal does provide an upgrade path from one version to another. Of course, if you have custom modules, it’s not going to automatically upgrade because we do break backwards compatibility. We break backwards compatibility because we believe it’s more important to innovate and to make sure Drupal stays modern than it is to provide 100% backward compatibility. But once we make a release, that release is frozen and we will support that for many years. There’s a stable platform with security fixes and bug fixes. Basically, there’s a lot of stuff being used to try and debunk the success of open source and Drupal.
With Drupal 8 around the corner, I think once Drupal 8 is released we’ll be an even better, stronger project. We’ve been doing a lot of work around authoring experience, making it easier and better for either one author or a team of authors to publish content online by doing things like integrating WYSIWYG and adding in-place editing. These kinds of features really make it better and faster for content managers. I’m very proud that we were able to make that a main focus of Drupal 8.
Obviously mobile was a big initiative, and I did my State of Drupal keynote four or five years ago. I said, “If I were to start building Drupal today, I would build it for mobile first and desktop second.” That’s not exactly what we did, but in a way, that is what we did. So for the last four years or three years, we have re-factored every aspect of Drupal pretty much to be mobile-friendly. All the way from making sure Drupal is responsive. Not just basic responsive features but also things like responsive tables where certain columns disappear depending on screen size, responsive toolbar to make sure that the navigation works. We’ve also been working on a mobile preview feature so if you are authoring content, you can quickly preview how that looks on mobile devices. But also in the backend. Mobile is not just building mobile websites to be viewed in a mobile browser, but also native apps like iOS apps or Android apps. Everything in Drupal is also exportable through a RESTful API and that will actually enable organizations or people to build mobile apps very easily on Drupal. All of that is out-of-the-box functionality with Drupal, so it’s pretty exciting.
Multilingual has been a key initiative. I think there was a question about that and I’ll address questions in a minute here but to build a multilingual website in Drupal 7, well, it’s entirely possible but it took like 20 contributed modules or something. All of these or almost all of these modules have been moved into Drupal core, the base platform and then updated and extended even with more features and functionality and lots of usability improvements as well.
Multilingual and globalization support, we’ve made massive improvements massive improvements there in Drupal 8. As I mentioned, we’ve really adopted RESTful APIs into Drupal. In Drupal, every piece of content, whether it s an article or a discussion or a comment even on an article or a user in a user profile, all of these things as well as new things to define in Drupal using our entity system automatically become RESTful enabled. Each of these pieces T and so that’s not only good for building native apps as I mentioned but it’s also really useful to integrate Drupal with other systems.
On the right of this slide, you see the marketing technology landscapes. This is a collection of tools. Some of the tools the marketers can choose from to build their marketing steps I guess. There are literally hundreds of tools that need to be integrated with their content management system. Our proprietary competitors focus on a handful of these like the big players, like Salesforce or Marketo, but often, smaller or more specialized tools are forgotten and a lot of these simply cannot be integrated because the proprietary vendors don’t have flexible APIs or they simply don’t have the right API, whereas they can be integrated with Drupal because everybody can make changes to Drupal. We’re pretty excited about building more of these integrations and letting marketers use the tools that they want to use versus having to use the tools that happen to integrate. We’re very excited about Drupal.
Then just to wrap it up before the questions, a couple of slides about Acquia. We see ourselves as the digital business company. That’s not how we were born so to speak. Initially, we were all about being a company that provided commercial-grade support for Drupal, which is still our focus but more and more we’ve been working with large customers and we’ve been helping to define their digital business strategy and we’ve been helping them with that transformation of becoming digital businesses. We’ve been very focused on empowering companies to deliver great digital experiences that integrate content community commerce, all using Drupal.
We have done quite well so far as a company. We’re more than 440 people and have been recognized as a very fast growing private company. Most recently, Deloitte recognized us the second fastest growing technology company in the United States and we have customers in all of these verticals that you see. To do what we do to provide that support with the digital transformation that organizations go through, we use this kind of mental model where all of that is built on Drupal, it’s our platform layer if you will, that people use to build dozens of websites or hundreds of websites. On top of what, we have some proprietary software as a service which we call the Digital Engagement Services. Things like Acquia Lift which provides personalization and targeting, but also Acquia Search and Mollom that basically allow organizations to better engage with their visitors and drive them to a transaction, either an eCommerce transaction of some other transaction.
At the bottom, we have Continuous Delivery Cloud called Acquia Cloud, but also Acquia Site Factory and basically that is our platform that we use to host websites, but also to provide lots of tools to help to continue innovation, testing, and these kinds of things.
Our model as a company is sort of a sandwich model if you will where Drupal sits in the middle and then at the bottom and the top, the buns if you will of the sandwich or the hamburger are paying services that customers pays for. As such, it’s complete solution for organizations that want to build a digital business.
All right, so let’s wrap it up here. Of course, I think most of you have about this famous saying from Gandhi, he said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.” I think this couldn’t be more true for Drupal and open source. We were completely ignored for the first 10 years, almost or less but people are clearly laughing at us as you could see from some of the screenshots and they’re clearly fighting us with FUD but we’re also clearly winning. If you look at the numbers, I think the numbers speak for themselves and that’s pretty exciting.
I think in a way, open source has already changed the industry like if you think about the traditional web content management systems that were born in ’96 and things like Vignette and Interwoven. While they’re still around, I think they have been replaced to open source alternatives, not just Drupal but other solutions as well, WordPress and TYPO and Joomla. A lot of people have migrated to these and I think what they’ve done is because they were pushed out, they kind of redefined themselves as a marketing cloud tools which is CMS tools plus additional services, additional things. I think we have an opportunity to basically also go after them and replace the Adobes and Sitecores and the Oracles of the world.
I’m personally very passionate about that because systems like Adobe, they are extremely expensive, costs millions of dollars, and this transformation of companies figuring out how to do business on the web is so important to our world that we can’t have these tools only be accessible to a few that can pay millions of dollars. I think we really have an opportunity to bring these capabilities, the right way to do business online, to the masses and sort of do well for the web and make sure that the web is on good shape. I’m very excited about Drupal going after this and I hope you guys are, too.
If you want to read a little bit more about some of the things I spoke about, in the webinar there’s some links. You can see the links on the screen and will also be shared later but definitely feel free to check out these things a little bit more. Which I think brings us to the Q&A session.
Moderator: Yes, great. Thank you so much Dries. If anybody has any question, could you please ask them now in the Q&A tab? We have a couple come in during the presentation and the first is, “What is the difference between Acquia and Drupal?” Some people just wanted some clarification on that.
Dries Buytaert: Yes, sure. I mean, I think I spoke about that just a few slides ago, but Drupal is open source software that people use to build websites and Acquia is a company that helps organizations to use Drupal effectively. I guess I’ll leave it at that. Just check acquia.com, I would say, for more details. Other questions?
Moderator: Yes. The next one is: Can you compare WordPress to Drupal?
Dries Buytaert: Sure. WordPress is an open source CMS or blogging platform. It is very widely adopted. It’s actually more adopted than Drupal and it’s typically used for less complex websites. I purposely say less complex because some of the WordPress websites have a lot of traffic but they’re typically a lot less complex. They don’t usually have deep integrated social platforms and these kinds of things. So because WordPress is open source, they're sort of part of the family and WordPress’ success is great for Drupal and vice versa. I think Drupal’s success also validates WordPress and the open source model.
Certainly, we see a lot of people use WordPress but it’s typically more in the low end of the spectrum. In our situation, Acquia, where we’re focused on larger customers. We don’t usually run into WordPress too often. It’s not one of our main competitors. We don’t see them in the majority of our deals, but sometimes we do and we can either coexist with WordPress. Sometimes people run into the limitations of WordPress and they want to move to Drupal.
Obviously, a great software. I’m personally also great friends with Matt Mullenweg, which is a project lead at Drupal. We get together and share notes. I think one last thing I’ll say is that maybe five years ago, people would also sort of say, “What will I use, Drupal or WordPress?” But I think both of our projects, we’ve found our spots. I think Drupal is clearly dominating in the enterprise section of the market and WordPress is clearly dominating the low end of that market. I think I get a lot less questions about, “What do I use, Drupal or WordPress?” That’s a good evolution.
Moderator: The next question is, “We’re interested in implementing a create, watch, publish everywhere model. Can Drupal help us accomplish that?”
Dries Buytaert: Yes, it can actually. Drupal allows you to enter contents and then publish it in multiple channels. The default in Drupal 7 is HTML, but through the web services support, they can also go through other systems. Then there are also ready-to-go integrations; that’s Twitter integration, Facebook integration, integration with other social media tools which are also channels. So when you publish something in Drupal, that can automatically get pushed out to Facebook and Twitter, to drive people to your website. That works really well actually in Drupal 7 and will even be better in Drupal 8, because we’ve made substantial improvements to, as I mentioned, the web services support but also our content modeling tools. I think it’s actually one of the reasons people adopt Drupal compared to other solutions.
Moderator: I think we’re running out of time so anybody’s questions that don’t get answered, we’ll definitely follow up and get them answered for you. For the last question, we just want to ask, “Can you expand on your cloud offering? Is it just SAAS based or also infrastructure platform as a service? Are they hosted supported? Example, 24/7 uptime, etcetera.”
Dries Buytaert: Yes, so we have a product called Acquia Clouds. It’s all built on Amazon Web Services, AWS, and we have it in different flavors, so to speak. One flavor is our platform as a service offering. In that case, you can upload your sites, your Drupal codes to our servers and we provide you all sorts of tools around that, like GIF support and GIF repositories. We will automatically provision you one or more staging environments, depending on how many you need. A development environment, a staging environment and a production environment. There’s tools to make it very easy for you to push code from one to the other, but also files. It’s really built around optimizing the developer experience of the Drupal developer.
Many organizations have to set these things up, so if you use a traditional hosting provider you have to go and build all of these things, which can take months of work really, to build the developer tools. With Acquia Cloud, you get these out-of-the-box, and you’re ready to get going from day one but then once your site is in production, there’s also a lot of tools in there. We can dynamically scale your site when there’s a traffic peak so your best day isn’t your worst day, so to speak. All of that is through platform as a service, so developers can make changes to the site and extend Drupal every way possible that they can imagine.
Then we also have software as a service flavors. We have a product called Site Factory which effectively allows you to run your own software as a service platform, so it’s optimized for multisite case studies. Say you need to bang out campaign websites or if you are a pharmaceutical company, you have to manage recall websites or something of which many exist. Site Factory allows you to do that in sort of a software as a service model. I believe we have webinars in each of those things, so I encourage you to check those out if you need more details but it is state-of-the-art Drupal platform really for not just hosting it and running it on a daily basis, but also developing it and creating your Drupal sites.
Moderator: Thank you so much, Dries. For anyone that didn’t have their question answered, we’ll get it answered for you. I want to say a big thank you for all of you for attending and a big thank you for Dries. Slides and recording will be posted to our website in the next 24 hours and we’ll also email you out a copy. Thanks, everyone, for showing up today.
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