Is it Time to Consider Using Open Source WCM for Digital Experiences? [October 31, 2012]
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Please join guest speaker Stephen Powers, Vice President and Research Director at Forrester Research Inc. as he offers insight in an overview of a new customer survey of enterprise WCM buyers.
In this webinar, Stephen will discuss:
• Why some organizations now consider open source WCM platforms during their vendor selection processes when supporting public facing websites
• Current challenges with existing WCM deployments
• What to think about when you evaluate open source for your digital experience offerings
John Carione, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing at Acquia will conclude the webinar to offer specific insights on how Acquia is helping Enterprise customers across verticals bring amazing digital experiences to life using the Drupal platform.
Hannah: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining the webinar today. Today’s webinar Is It Time to Consider Using Open Source Web Content Management for Digital Experiences with Stephen Powers who is the vice president and research director at Forrester Research. Also, joining us is Anjali Yakkundi who is an analyst at Forrester Research, and to finish up the presentation who have John Carione is a senior director here at Acquia. We are very excited to have Stephen and Anjali speaking for us today and we hope you enjoy the presentation.
Stephen: Great, thank you. My name is Stephen Powers. I’m a vice president and principal research director with Forrester. I’m joined by my colleague, Anjali Yakkundi, who is an analyst with Forrester. Today, we’re going to talk to you on our portion of the presentation about whether or not it’s time to consider open source web content management for digital experience initiatives. Anjali and I have been working on some joint research with Acquia over the past few months researching organizations that are using open source web content management. This actually really has been a fun project for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do in my six years at Forrester. I actually did a project about four years ago, a paper, on open source WCM. One of the challenges back then was that it was very different to find examples of large enterprises, enterprises with a billion dollars a year or more revenue who were using open source WCM as their primary WCM for customer face experiences. That’s not to say that we couldn’t find plenty of people using open source WCM, but often it is was for part of their websites or Internets or for purely informal websites, some of the easier use cases.
That’s really changed over the past few years. As part of this study, we did find some great examples of organizations, large organizations, using open source as their primarily WCM. Those we did speak to within the course of this study were very careful to emphasize that there were some situational factors at play with their open source WCM success. The results of that is what we wanted to talk with you about today.
The agenda for our portion of today’s presentation is a fairly straightforward one. Number one, we’re going to talk a little bit about the state of the market. This has a been a rapidly changing market ever since I started here at Forrester six years ago, so it’s always been fun to cover. Anjali and I are going to talk to you a little bit about some of the trends in the market to give you some context of what’s going on overall. Next, we’re going to talk specifically about some of the results of what we found during our study about organizations who are exploring open source web content management for digital experiences or DX as we have it abbreviated in the agenda slide. Next, we’re going to talk about some specific things you should be thinking about in terms of evaluating open source WCM because there are some differences between that and proprietary WCM. We’re going to talk about that and what we saw from our observations during this project. Then, we’ll wrap up with some recommendations.
To start, basically, the WCM market returned to the wild, wild west. It is kind of a crazy time. Why? Organizations that we speak to as well as that we survey continued to have some problems with their existing web content management implementations. Only about 20% of those we surveyed really claimed to be very satisfied. Honestly, it’s not that surprising for a number of reasons. Number one, the use cases are getting a lot more difficult, aren’t they? They’re looking to use WCM solutions to support increasingly complex initiatives that rapidly change. We’re not just publishing informational websites right now. We’re not just publishing Internets. We’re publishing things like highly personalized websites that are also repurposed onto the mobile platform, and they may have a lot more rich media. They have may be connected to campaigns. The use cases are a lot more complex. Let’s face it, complexity brings more risks for dissatisfaction. Also, as I mentioned, there’s a lot more functionality that’s in play. There’re a lot of other technologies that go into digital experience. WCM is a big portion of it. Five years ago, when I started at Forrester, people were talking about web content management as part of web content manager and strategies. The difference now is when they ask us about web content management. It’s really within the context of a customer experience or a digital experience strategy.
What does that mean? That means that people are interested in how WCM is going to work with other components of the DX ecosystem such as search, such as e-commerce, marketing enablement technologies, digital asset management, CRM, commerce, testing and optimization, analytics. The list goes on and on and on. The integration issues are also adding to the complexity. Then, finally, there’re a lot of organizational issues. Those have been out there regardless of technology. There’s always misalignment between different groups. There’s that classic IT business/marketing conflict. Those are all adding to the complexity and frankly the dissatisfaction here. Definitely, a lot of factors going on, it is a wild west atmosphere right now.
Anjali: As Stephen said it, it is a complicated and it’s an evolving space. In order to make a little bit of sense about this we, Stephen and I, along with Acquia we conducted an online survey of 160 WCM decision makers. We interviewed about seven of those to get even deeper insights and a little bit more qualitative data. This was really the cornerstone of our research. This is going to be the cornerstone of all of the data and the findings that we’ll show you throughout the next 30 or 40 minutes.
A little bit about the survey. We surveyed organizations that were mostly medium to large sized businesses, all had about 1,000 or more employees. They came from a variety of different verticals, government, high tech, financial services, publishing, CPG, manufacturing, media and entertainment, a whole hosts of different verticals. What I found most interesting is these WCMs decision makers weren’t just from IT. Certainly, many of them were from central or distributed IT groups. We had almost 15% from line of business or corporate or online marketing groups. I think that’s definitely a trend that Stephen and I have seen as we do this research. WCM is going to be more of a joint decision between IT and marketing. We’re seeing marketing and these corporate and online marketing groups take more and more of a seat at the table in making these technology decisions. They might not be the only making the decisions, but they’re certainly taking a seat at the table.
Stephen: Anjali, that’s a great point. I think that it’s important to emphasize that this is going to be joint decision. When we talked to some of the larger enterprises, particularly with the ones who have had the most success, it is a joint decision. It’s not one or the other. I think there are some myth perceptions in the industry that everything is swinging away from IT and marketing in the business will make all the decisions here. That maybe the case in certain instances, especially with smaller initiatives, but the fact of the matter is if you truly want to have this universal multichannel experience WCM has to be plugged in to all of those other technologies, some of which I mentioned earlier, that contribute to supporting the digital experiences. Honestly, you can only do that with pretty heavy support from your technologist within your organization. I do think it’s going to be a joint decision. Frankly, within the context of this particular research, we found that to be true again. Those companies which had the most success really did take joint ownership of these projects.
What are some of the greater barriers here to WCM success in general? I think the ones that are most interesting here are probably the ones where we’re in the 20% or above and people were allowed to select more than one response. Corporate politics and culture at 43%, and lack of a company-wide online strategy 33% those are pretty closely related. It’s not unusual for us to talk with clients where they don’t have any kind of online strategy still. It’s still too much from the bottom up, still too much grass roots instead of top down, or they may have very much siloed digital experience initiative. Line of business number one may be trying to do one thing, line of business number two may be trying to do another thing, and line of business number three is trying to a third thing. There’s not a lot of agreement over what should be the priority. When that happens you can understand it’s very difficult to have successful technology when your customer experience needs aren’t prioritized.
Poor budget and resource allocation. That’s a huge problem here. I think that we can all agree that online experiences are getting more complex not less complex. With greater complexity comes, frankly, a greater need to devote resources to it. Sometimes we’ll talk to clients and they’re still thinking they’re going to be able to get away with the same amount of resources that they had when they were publishing pure informational websites. That’s a problem. As these experiences become hyper personalized and much more contextual, you do need some more resources to maintain that.
Next, difficulty integrating the product with other applications. We already spoke to this. WCM is an important part of the digital experience ecosystem, but it’s just one part of it. It has to integrate with all of these other applications like search and commerce and testing and analytics and things like that. When you have difficulty integrating with a product with other applications that’s going to contribute to your dissatisfaction and be a barrier to your success.
Limited flexibility of the product. This can a problem particularly with people who are on older WCM products and haven’t updated them in a while. They’re still feeling constrained by using out-of-the box functionality and they’re not feeling that the products are as flexible as they need them to be. Finally, 21%, it’s that old chestnut, lack of IT business alignment. I have to say, since I started this one, we solved some of the problems, the companies that we speak with they have solved some of those problems. It’s still a problem in some cases.
Anjali: We also asked these same decision makers to rate their satisfaction. I think if you see the data that’s a little bit of a mixed bag. Only 3% said they were very dissatisfied, 9% say they’re somewhat dissatisfied, a fair amount say they’re neutral, about one in five, and many are saying they are somewhat satisfied, and only one in five were very satisfied. I think, Stephen and I, when we talk we really see that very satisfied as what organizations should aspire to, the goal of what you want your WCM solution to be. We see only one in five have made that, actually believe that their solution is very satisfactory.
Another thing I find interesting about this data is when we cut this by the WCM decision makers who are from marketing or from the line of business versus WCM decision makers who are from IT, we see a big difference there. IT is much more likely to be satisfied by WCM solutions. I believe only 8% say they were very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied. When we compare that to marketing or line of business decision makers, almost 30% say they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. There’s a little bit of a gap in perception and gap in satisfaction As we see marketing becoming more involved with the WCM decision making, I think we’ll see this satisfaction become a little bit more neutral or maybe even a little bit more satisfied.
I think it’s also interesting we cut the same data by solution type. Which of these 160 decision makers were using open source, proprietary, or home grown solutions? I think this one’s interesting. In a lot of places they’re very similar, but when we look at proprietary they hit a lot of highs. They’re very high in the somewhat satisfied, but there’s a huge drop off in the very satisfied. Only 8% of WCM decision makers who have a proprietary solution said that they were very satisfied. It’s a little different, though, when we look at open source. We see they are a little bit steadier. There’s 37% who say they are somewhat satisfied and there’s no drop off, about 37% also said that they were very satisfied. Home grown again is a little steady too.
Stephen: Great. Thanks, Anjali. I think we agree here that, number one, we have rapidly changing needs that need to be supported by WCM. Number two, there are a lot of issues contributing to WCM dissatisfaction that go beyond just plain technology. There’re a lot of people process issues that are going on as well, governance issues. I think it’s very interesting to see the fact that the open source respondants don’t have the same type of lows that the proprietary respondants do. I think that’s quite interesting. Then, finally, I think the other important point from that section is that there really is a need for integration. It’s a much biggest ecosystem that we’re dealing with than before.
Next, let’s talk about some specific examples of why organizations are exploring open source web content management for digital experiences. That’s what the DX stands for. Open source WCM is gaining traction as a viable enterprise option across verticals. This is something that even outside of this study we started to see a little bit. At Forrester, we talked to our clients, there’s bit more interest over the past 12 months in open source, a little bit more serious interest I guess I’d say. There’s a more serious interest in SAAS, another alternative delivery model, a SAAS WCM.
As I mentioned, five years ago it was difficult to find those larger organizations that had deployed open source web content management as their primary WCM solution. There were always plenty people who had deployed open source WCM, but they were supporting smaller microsites or smaller scale initiatives. For this particular research, pardon me, we spoke with several organizations, large scale organizations, that are using open source WCM for their customer experience. I think one of notable ones was a large supermarket chain here in North America. Another one was an international pharmaceutical company. Another one was an international electronics manufacturer. There were really fascinating examples here. The real question is what are these organizations with successful large scale WCMs what are they doing differently now? After speaking with those organizations we’ve boiled down the keys to their success to a couple of factors or a few factors. That’s what we’re going to speak to you about in this particular section.
Anjali: I think our data really proves the point that Stephen was just making, that here we asked what type of solution are you using for your primary web content management solutions. This is primary. We used to see open source WCM really being used as maybe a secondary solution or a microsite, as Stephen mentioned. Here in this question in our survey we asked what is your primary WCM solution. You can see about 27% say they’re using open source, 28% say they’re using home grown. I think this is a little bit of an anomaly. Like I mentioned earlier, we surveyed medium and larger sized businesses. I think many of the people who are using custom coded are home grown are much more of the medium sized businesses. The larger enterprises tend to go with proprietary or open source. You can see proprietary has about 45%. I think it’s also interesting to think about because even those who didn’t choose open source as their primary WCM, almost 60% did consider an open source solution. Even if they didn’t choose it, open source still had a seat at the table. They’re still under consideration. I think that’s an important point. As we see open source gaining more and more traction in the WCM market we can see this interest increasing.
Ant point I find interesting about this slide is when we asked all of these respondants why are they choosing an open source solution, it was interesting because more open source users chose open source WCM for a web redesign or web replatform effort more so than the proprietary or custom coded users. They had some other important point. We can see that open source is really gaining some traction in the market.
Stephen: I think the interesting thing there, though, I want to reiterate, I also felt that the home grown solution bucket was a little bit larger than I would’ve expected and certainly larger than I’ve seen through our customer inquiries I would say part of it might also be explained that it’s possible that some of those who are citing custom coded or home grown are using open source as a base. It’s definitely an interesting slide.
In a lot of ways the whole open source debate it’s kind of like Coke versus Pepsi. I’m probably dating myself, Anjali. I don’t know if you remember those. How many people remember the Pepsi Challenge back in the 80’s where they had people blind taste test the two colas. Frankly, if Coke versus Pepsi has always been one of those things were people are very religious and they’re calcified in their opinions. I am a Coke person The Pepsi Challenge showed a lot of people who claimed to be Coke people, but yet when they were blindfolded and they tasted the cola they actually preferred Pepsi.
In some ways, the open source debate is a bit like that in that proponents of either choice are often hardwired to believe what they believe. They like what they like often for valid and defensible reasons. Some organizations gravitate towards open source WCM based on factors side like in a corporate culture, they kind of like that exploratory type of project. Some of them have budgetary limitations and they’ve been mandated to look at open source because with the belief that it perhaps is going to save them money. There’re some organizations that simply have a greater comfort factor with open source due to previous experience with other open source applications such as operating systems as well as their familiarity with the community principles that underpin these solutions.
For other organizations, the opposite is true. They often lean towards proprietary solutions because they believe sometimes justified, sometimes not, that it’s the best way to mitigate risk, that they believe that they code is tested. It’s more secure. It’s more off-the-shelf. They’re not going to have to do as much customization. They’re used to dealing with the vendors. Some of the organizations we speak to they’ve dealt with some of these larger vendors for years. There’s a comfort level there and there it’s more off-the shelf. Again, its’ this whole idea of getting out of those calcified positions and really thinking about what the best product, what the best fit is, what the best product is for your particular needs. That’s where we found more satisfaction.
Organizations are definitely expressing interest in open source WCM for digital experience as we found in the survey. We asked them some of these responses why did you consider an open source WCM solution. I think the answers here is really interesting. Sixty-nine percent chose it because they believed that there was a lower cost. I’m not necessarily saying that’s true. In fact, when we did some of the qualitative interviews, our interviewees really encouraged people to look at more than just lower cost. I think we can probably all agree that there’s often a lower upfront cost because you’re not necessarily making a big license purchase. However, it’s really important to look at total cost of ownership. You may have a lower upfront cost, but depending on what your cost of customize and implement you could end up with higher costs at the end. I’m not necessarily saying you will it all depends on what product you select and how well it’s aligned with your needs. I think lower costs is one of those things that is more than just upfront license fees, and I encourage people who are thinking about this in terms of lower costs to really look at the bigger picture of total costs of ownership.
Another one here, easier to customize. That’s something that we definitely heard through our qualitative interviews. A lot of the companies that we spoke to were very happy. They had needs where they had to do a lot more customization. They felt that their web presence was really one of their main differentiators and they weren’t going to necessarily be satisfied with out-of-the box functionality from their WCM. They felt that they needed to customize in order to support some of the more differentiating functionality. People were definitely talking about that.
Reduced dependency on software vendors. What some of the respondees meant here was that they didn’t necessarily want it to be dependent on the software vendor for new features, didn’t want to be dependent on them for their release cycle, even bug fixes, and they were happy to do it themselves. Scalability of the solution. There were some of them who felt that they were going to have a better luck with scalability for their particular needs. Availability and viability of the developer community. That’s a huge one. That’s something we heard again and again in our interviews. One of the reasons why people chose open source WCM. Those were some of the interesting responses within why people were choosing the open source WCM solutions.
Organizations are definitely exploring. They’ve definitely had some success. What we did after this was we wanted to point out, we wanted to gain some insights from those we spoke to, those we interviewed on what they looked for, what helped them, what were the evaluation criteria they looked at that helped them have some open source WCM success.
Anjali: We started first by asking who didn’t consider, who didn’t buy open source what was the stumbling block, why didn’t they choose or consider an open source WCM solution. We though this could help frame the rest of our presentation about we need to think about some of these stumbling blocks and how to think about the myths a realities of some of these concerns.
You can see at 55% many people, we heard this often throughout our interviews, that in the beginning security of the software was a concern with open source. We’ll talk about a little later about some of the myths and realities and how organizations we’ve talked to who have had success have worked around that. Lack of ability for enterprise service and support. I think that’s at 31%, it’s the second most cited reason. That’s another issue that we heard come up again and again because open source is different. You don’t have the vendors you just call up. It’s more about coming up with a comprehensive plan for service and support and how are you going to work with open source in that way. It’s a little different that what many of you who have been using proprietary solutions. It might just be a little different than what you’re used to. We’ll talk a little bit about that later.
We have some other issues here like legal issues or inexperience with open source in general were stumbling blocks for some people. Lack of skilled resources. We’ll talk about that too later, about how people are coming up with support plans and coming up with a plan to actually support their open source solution. Product immaturity at 16% is another one that some people were concerned about, and overall complexity and difficulty of adoption.
We’ll start with security. What I thinks interesting is that was the number one cited stumbling block for people who didn’t choose or consider an open source solution. When we actually talked and surveyed people who are using open source they didn’t see to express that same sentiment. About 50% of organizations with open source actually said that open source had neither improved nor decreased their level of security. They said it was pretty much the same. One theme we heard over and over again as we actually did the qualitative interviews was that security concerns weren’t that different from those they’re faced when they’re implementing previous proprietary solutions. I think that’s an important point to consider. Security is going to be a problem or an issue no matter what type of solution you have. They might just have slightly different issues, but it’s still always going to be a concern.
I think the main thing that when we talk to organizations who had success with open source is that they came up with a plan for their security. They had a plan for perhaps one of the large supermarket chains we spoke to had a third party hosting their solution. That eased their fears a little bit about going with an open source WCM solution. Others we talked to thought that the security patches that were being released more quickly by the vibrant developer community they felt like that mitigated a lot of their concerns. Other organizations we talked to had independent security audits because, let’s face it, with an open source solution you have access to the entire code base. You don’t necessarily have that with a proprietary solution where you only have access to some but more likely you don’t have access of this any of this code base. They were able to mitigate their concerns by actually examining the code base and they felt that that mitigated a lot of their security concerns.
Stephen: The interesting thing there, Anjali, is that they didn’t dismiss the security issue just out of hand. They actually dug in and did some homework and did some comparisons on open source versus proprietary. Actually, we’re seeing this within SAAS as well. SAAS we always used to hear about I’m afraid about the security with SAAS, and people are now starting to think, “Why don’t I at least dig in to the model and see how it compares, and then I’ll make a more informed decision.”
Some of the other points to consider here, level of functionality. I think that when you compare some of the open source products to some of the higher end proprietary products you are going to see a different level of functionality. You’re not going to see that huge array of functionality with some of the really high end proprietary products who are, let’s face it, are in a functionality war. I think the real thing you want to question is how much of that are you going to use? For example, the proprietary vendors are really starting to focus on marketing enablement type technologies that allow you to multichannel campaigns and run really contextual websites and have a lot of personalization and things like that. You’re going to have to ask yourself are you going to use all that functionality if you’re considering open source product versus a proprietary one? Frankly, you could even use this argument if you’re comparing two different levels of proprietary products or two different levels of open source products. How are you really going to use? What you really want to do here is have somewhat of a five-year plan, one that’s a little bit solidified in the coming year and one that may be a little bit more vague as time goes on. You need to really understand what you’re really going to be using over that five-year period because five years is roughly the average lifespan of a WCM implementation.
If you are buying a product based on functionality that you say that’s really cool functionality, but you really don’t know when you’re going to use it that could be a warning sign that you may not ever use it. I think this is one of the big problems with enterprise software all the time is you’re buying functionality that you don’t need. Another one of our interviewees, one of the pieces of functionality that we’re looking at were the user interfaces, and they felt that the user interfaces of the high end proprietary product they were looking at that they were more polished than their open source counterparts. The open source was enough of a fit that they decided that it was worth having to do the extra configuration and customization of the open source UIs because of all the other benefits they were going to gain.
Integration, another huge point here. As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to be integrating WCM with all kinds of other products. What you really want to do is figure out what types of integrations you need, come up with a reference architecture and figure out where those dependencies are. Then, understand where there is integration functionality that you can buy off the market through prepackaged connectors and where you’re going to have to code by hand. That’s going to inform you whether or not you should go with an open source or a closed source product. If you can’t buy much of the integration off the shelf and you’re going to have to do some pretty complex implementations, pardon me, that’s an indication you may want to look closer at open source WCM.
Finally, then customization piece. That’s something that we talked about. It ties very closely in with level of functionality. You may get a little bit lower level of functionality and you may have to do more customization. On the other hand, you may require a lot of customization no matter what. This is the media entertainment story. For years, media and entertainment has used open source more heavily than some of the other industries that’s because they have some very specific use cases and they found open source was easier to customize than a proprietary product. You need to think about what level of customization you’re going to have. If you’re going to have to do a lot of customization no matter product you source, open source may be a better alternative for you.
Ultimately, integration is very important here. Just a little bit of data to emphasize that. We asked the respondees in the survey which of the following would you like to see included in the same stack as WCM. I think we all have seen some of the higher proprietary vendors are really building their digital experience and customer experience portfolios to not only include WCM but some of the adjacent technologies that we were talking about earlier. Ultimately, interesting result of this survey is that 35% said we’re not interested in having a whole lot of technology bundled with our WCM. We prefer best of breed. Why do they say that? Because of the fact of the matter is none of the people that we talked to or that I talked to as clients can really afford to do a complete rip and replace and replace all of their digital experience technologies with technologies from a single vendor. The fact is they already own some of these technologies, so they want to be able to do integration and they want to be able to integrate WCM with CRM and search and email campaign software and social network and platforms and web or social analytics. This digital experience story is going to be an integration play for the short term. It’s the short to medium term, frankly. When you think about it way it’s not too surprising that a lot of our respondees wanted a best of breed approach.
Anjali: It think the last point to consider is resource availability. I touched on that earlier, Stephen has mentioned it too. Working with open source is different. If you’re an organization who’s used to working with proprietary vendors, somebody you can up in the middle of the night, it’s not like that with open source. The organizations we’ve talked to who’ve had the most success with open source the first and foremost start it out with a plan of how they’re going to support their open source WCM solution.
One of the biggest workarounds that we’ve seen with the organizations who have had success is using a third party for-profit business who’s dedicated to providing open source support, whether it’s for implementation, hosting, or troubleshooting. That’s helped mitigate a lot of those concerns. That’s something that we heard over and over from interviewees. They were nervous about open source because there’s no enterprise support, but then the third party has helped them fill that gap and that’s how they’ve worked around those issues.
Lot of our other interviewees and things we’ve heard through inquiry and other things have really been positive about open source support because of the vibrant community. Of course, this depends on which open source solution you provide. Some have more vibrant communities than others. If you have the right community you can use them for not us trouble shooting or Q&A, but you can also use them for their community authored modules. That might be a really great way to add functionality very easily onto your platform without having to do too much work. I think these are some of the ways we’ve seen organizations work around their concerns over enterprises level support.
Stephen: Great, and a very important I think. It’s actually one of the most important ones of the factors that you should consider is that support issue. Let’s wrap up with some recommendations, wrap up our portion of today’s presentation.
Number one, definitely evaluate open source. I think it’s gotten to the point in its maturity where it’s worth looking at. I think one of the things you don’t want to get into is that calcified mentality of, my gosh, we’re not going to do open source. Frankly, the other way we are going to do open source. One of the interesting things that came out of this survey, one of the interesting observations that came out of the study was people said, “Don’t just evaluate something because it’s not open source.” Evaluate the products and evaluate them on their own merits and based on things like functionality as well as support and resource availability and make your decision that way. It’s must better than falling back into that religious mindset.
Number two, one of the really nice benefits of open source is that you can get it a community version of the product and that leaves you free to pilot it. You can actually pilot it and see who well it works. There’s also organizations we’ve spoken to who have installed open source alongside proprietary and they decided to see how it would go that way and they gradually expanded their use of open source after they found some success.
Third, engage with the community for information and validation. Any product that you are evaluating you should be able to see how active the community is, how responsive are they, are they willing to answer your questions, are they contributing a lot of community authored code, are there interesting references, are there people who like your company who are using it? Definitely engage with the community. I think the vibrancy of the community is a huge factor that you should be taking into account when you evaluate open source.
Fourth, explore those open source options carefully like Anjali said, particularly if you’re used to dealing with some of the commercial vendors. The support options is one of the big differences here, so you want to see that if you are planning to move away from the proprietary vendor support model you’re going to want to be very sure in how you’re going to replace that with some open source options.
Then finally, focus on more than just cost reduction. Open source is not necessarily free I think of the interviewees that we spoke with the ones who had the most success here looked at open source as more than just something that they could get for free. Of course, they looked at costs, but it was more within the scope of total cost of ownership rather than just that very narrow slice of upfront license fees. They looked at things like integration and maintenance costs and support and culture and some of the other factors that we spoke about today. If you keep those factors in mind rather than just very narrow slice of upfront costs, I think you’re going to be at a much better position to evaluate whether or not open source WCM is the right choice to support your publicly facing and digital experiences. That concludes our portion of the presentation. Now I’m going to turn things over to John.
John: Appreciate it. Fun to work on this solution and work on the survey with you guys. With that, I’d like to take some time to highlight a few more interesting points from the survey that we collected from our side and also talk a bit about our announcement last week around OpenWEM and finish off with a couple of case studies.
You’re probably wondering to yourself for those that chose to participate in the survey what were the list of platforms that we were talking about here. Here’s the full list and what’s interesting is that Drupal is highlighted in the top five and represents the majority of the respondants for those that offered this information up for open source. It’s important to understand that although it’s really talking about all the different technologies that are available from an open source perspective that Drupal came out on top and is in the top five of all platforms that are represented in the survey.
Other interesting statistic was the business drivers for new WCM solutions. Regardless of what you’re using there the top five for the main drivers for using a new WCM solution were limited flexibility, total cost of ownership, poor and inadequate functionality and the ability to quickly innovate. We found that was interesting because when we talked to customers those are most often cited for the reason they switched to open source. I think some of the top challenges folks and business drivers for folks moving are also reasons that folks are looking at Drupal specifically.
We also took a look at engagement by the solution type mapping proprietary and open source. One interesting point we found here is there have been some perceptions in the market that open source platforms like Drupal aren’t ready for the shift towards digital marketing. If you look at the data in the box below it’s actually statistically significant that it’s virtually no difference between folks that are using these platforms for interactive marketing on multichannels whether that’s proprietary or open source.
Barriers to success by solution types. If we split data again between proprietary and open source. I wanted to highlight a point at the bottom there in the orange box around limited flexibility of the product. What are the greatest barriers to success? For limited flexibilities, we think there’s extreme contrast there between the 30.6% around proprietary highlighting that versus only 9.3% for open source. Flexibility really leading the way with open source and Drupal.
A couple highlights around when we just took a look at the WCM decision makers who were using open source specifically with the majority being Drupal, we took a look at these how strongly you might agree with the following statements around open source. Ultimately, some of theses when we combined strongly agree and agree open source came on top for reduced dependency on software vendors at 77%, combined open source provided us more flexibility 73% combined, open source lowered our costs 70%, open source is easier to customized 70%, and open source scaled easily at 66% when you combined strong agree and agree. Then, a few others, open source made it easier to innovate quickly that came at 67% combined. Open sourced shortened our time to market 53% and viability of open source developer community was key to a successful implementation that was also at 53% combined. Some pretty strong statistics and a strong showing for those that chose open source platforms like Drupal.
I wanted to take another quick look at the state of the market, more specifically for the Drupal platform. We are seeing that inside many organizations the web is broken. There are lots of technologies out there that might be really strong in an Internet or an Extranet of if we’re doing wikis or doing your main corp.com site or an e-commerce site or a microsite. At the end of the day, these end up being stoked by technologies that really create islands of excellence, if you will, and it really costs a lot more to develop and create the extra piece needed to develop across these silos. They’re also disconnected from a reporting perspective if you think about a chief marketing officer that wants to know everything that’s happening in their hub of interaction on the web.
Where Drupal really shines is taking all these different siloed islands of excellence and really delivering integrated unified customer experiences out to your B to B to customers across web content management, social, business software, and e-commerce. Drupal really is a unified platform for content community and commerce which ultimately we think results in part of the reason you saw that open source gets the highest marks for folks that rated it very satisfied.
It also goes along quite nicely with some of the research that come out from Forrester this year. This is one of their recent reports which talks about defining your digital experience architecture, the need to manage, engage, and measure all of your customer interactions. If you look at engage I wanted to highlight three areas, content targeting, social, and transactions, we believe map fairly closely to content, community and commerce. If you are setting up a digital experience architecture for success we agree with Forrester that those capabilities need to be inside of a single platform to maximize those customer experiences.
Last week, we made an announcement around a new approach we’re calling OpenWEM. OpenWEM really is that ability to create these best of breed customer experiences with unlimited Internet freedom and flexibility across the full spectrum of the customer journey. As you can see here, we consider that customer journey from attracting and engaging folks on the web to associating and influencing them within communities, prospect to prospect, or prospect to company, and then the last mile of engagement in e-commerce being able to sell, retain, and resell to them online. Across these market segments Drupal is a unified platform for delivering that.
Again, some of the additional Forrester research from earlier this year that talks about the concept of the open web and the ties of the concepts of the open web to open source technologies. We fundamentally believe that to implement and take this OpenWEM approach that you really need to embrace the principles of the open web. Those are providing an open culture and community of thriving developers; Having open APIs to leading best of breed engagement tools so you can, as we saw in that statistic, offer up a best of breed solution; have accelerated innovation on the web that doesn’t rely on proprietary models for development and really relies on that open culture of contributing problem solving and code back to the community so it gets to customers faster for these experiences. Then, we fundamentally believe in responsive design mobile approaches and best practices as a very agile way to create those mobile experiences. Drupal really embraces the open web concept.
Overall, from an OpenWEM perspective of content community commerce, we believe it does it offer infinite freedom and flexibility to create these digital experiences online. There’s freedom to take your code, to take your content, and if you need to take it to another hosting provider if we’re not getting done. There’s no vendor lock in here with an open SAAS model. There is unmatched innovation to be able as new technology is brought to bear to be able to get that technology into your website as soon as you need it for content and campaigns. That’s through those 20,000 Drupal developers that are continually evolving the Drupal platform in real time.
We talked about the unified platform across the full customer journey. We think Drupal’s a great platform for best of breed experiences because it’s has a data driven modular architecture and content model that allows you really to very easily plug and play these best of breed marketing tools and input and export data as needed as Stephen talked about. Acquia in particular has been building a very mature cloud infrastructure and cloud business model over the last five years. As you’ll see, other proprietary vendors roll out B1 models this year and next year. We believe we’re absolutely ahead of the game for delivering digital experiences in the cloud if that’s your next route.
Then, everything we do is about simplifying digital experiences and simplification usually translates to a lower cost of ownership. We believe that developer community offers a better supply of highly skilled developers that are cheaper. When you think about the ability for them to ultimately develop across content, WCM, social, business software, and e-commerce on the same platform that that’s going to create better experiences. It’s also going to lower your total cost of ownership. This is where we think the Drupal platform really excels.
Ultimately, how is taking an OpenWEM approach different from proprietary approaches? Are you experiencing any of the symptoms such as limitations around road map or road map trade-offs by proprietary development teams? Do you issues around complex customizations even after you’ve already paid exorbitant license fees for the software? Do you have multiple platforms installed today for content community and commerce rather than building it on a unified platform? Do you consider your vendor lock in a problem from all-in-one solutions stacks that have control of that customer data and feel a bit trapped? Are you having issues around immature non-existent cloud business models or ongoing maintenance fees from perpetual license models that are your only option? Many of those issues if you are experiencing any of those issues this might be the platform and support model to consider.
Last week, in announcing the OpenWEM approaches and customer strategy we did talk about some tools and products that we launched in support of it. we have a new product called Acquia media cloud in the content or web content management market segment. That’s a new SAAS offering to manage rich media assets within the Drupal platform to do things like asset tagging and optimized transcoding for video across endpoints, even digital rights management.
On the community side, we announced a new version of Drupal Commons. Drupal Commons 3.0, very new with new responsive design templates for mobile collaboration, advanced content recommendations so folks in the community can get interesting content to themselves fast, and improved moderator productivity so that moderators can outsource SPAM blocking and community involvement to folks that they trust from an access control perspective. We continue to go build out ecosystem, so we announced Digitari as a new digital agency partner for us as well as Badgeville integration for doing gamification and reward systems within Drupal.
We think Drupal’s a great system for flexible agile marketing as well, like I talked about, the Pinterest example. In February, Pinterset hit 10 million unique users. As of March, folks believe that having Pinterest image pinning capabilities on their website was important for digital marketers, and by April 15 Drupal sites already went live with Pinterest integration, so that really is the definition of agile marketing on the web.
We also have integration with best of breed tools. Acquia is helping build out this ecosystem such that whether it’s CRM, analytics, marketing automation, campaigns and social, and whatever’s next, we’re going to offer APIs and continuous integration points to the latest versions of these technologies so you can use that Drupal module platform to plug these technologies in, and then Drupal if very powerful to be able to get that content out to your campaigns, out to your microsites, and across all the channels at the top here.
We have a very mature cloud model, as I mentioned, we’ve been building over the last five years. It’s based on Amazon web services. What I’m showing here is for developers there’s a whole host of developer tools to be able to create instances, develop them, and then publish, so take instances from development to staging to production and back and forth quickly and easily. We also have the Acquia network to be add additional technology such as Acquia search or SPAM blocking technologies, multibarrier testing, real time analytics. We have partnered with a lot of technologies to be able to get that quickly and easily from the Acquia network in a centralized location.
A couple quick examples across content, community, and commerce. I have the first example around content, specifically. Florida Hospital, one of the largest hospital chains in America, they were able to create mobile content experiences using responsive design techniques. In this case, what’s really interesting about their implementation was that they were able to allow their patients to understand exactly how far they were from a hospital or what the wait times were from their local hospital so they could pick the one that was most appropriate. They’re doing a lot of advanced use cases in health care along mobile.
For community, we have Daimler which set up a customer community to be able them build out their customer requirements for a particular model of their compact car line. They set up polls and interactive forums for prospects, to talk to prospects, prospects to talk to engineers inside of the company and really understand from the consumer themselves really a big data problem rather than doing focus groups to understand from thousands what they were looking in the next vehicle, so being able to set up those customer communities online and Drupal as well.
Cartier is using Drupal and the Drupal commerce distribution specifically for that to create these rich commerce and tranformative shopping experiences that embed content rich media, images, to really help folks in the last mile help them decide exactly what product is right for them. It’s a lot more engaging when you think about the high end customers that are shopping online for Cartier. It’s helped them increase their conversation rates by being able to use the rick content in Drupal.
I want to finish up right before we get to a few questions. We have some upcoming customer case study webinars. I went through those pretty quick. Customers that are initiating an OpenWEM approach for delivering digital experiences on the web. November 6th we have the Grammys, How Drupal Acts as a Media Hub for the Grammy Awards. November 25th, Humana, Fortune 200 company, How Haman is Using Drupal to Drive Repeat Visitors with Personalized, Multi-Channel Campaigns. You can go sign up for those now at the link. I think both of those will be very in depth reviews of customers embarking on an OpenWEM strategy.
Certainly, please download the full research paper. We went through a lot of it, but quite honestly, we probably only went through 50% or less of the research that’s in the paper that’s available today and that paper is titled Is It Time To Consider Open Source WCM For Digital Experience. You can go ahead to a microsite we created called OpenWEM.com and download that paper for free today. Please do that.
With that, I would like to open it up to some questions. I will who those questions are addressed to here. We have a few that have come in. For Stephen and Anjali, I’ll start off. This question says, “You mentioned some in person interviews around open source survey participants. Can you offer any specifics on the types of enterprise customers or verticals you spoke with and their specific reasons for choosing open source?”
Stephen: ... tended to be cite that reason. Traditionally, that’s been media entertainment. I think I mentioned that in the context of the presentation. We saw it in other areas as well. The supermarket chain, retail, they had some really specific needs around their UIs. They had a globalization, localization issue where they were going to have global content at the corporate level, but they wanted the local branches to be able to create their own content but also not override all of the global content. They did some customized user interfaces to take care of that. They also had to, I believe, had to integrate with some print-on-demand solutions in order to print out circulars. That is the type of integration they did. I think one of the other companies we spoke with they were in a regulated industry. They had the need for some fairly highly customized workflows. That was the type of thing that they were looking at. For some, they said they had a mandate. They were supposed to explore open source, and others they felt that they hadn’t gotten their money’s worth out of older proprietary platforms and they wanted to explore other options where the costs were done a little bit differently. As I mentioned earlier, I think the ones who were happiest didn’t necessarily choose open source or proprietary. They were open to both they just chose the best fit. They chose the product for the best fit.
John: Great. Another one came in. Cloud to planet models are growing in popularity for these types of solutions, but we didn’t have a lot of data or questions that focused on mature cloud models. Do you see that as a factor in some of the enterprise decisions?
Stephen: Eighteen months ago, I would’ve said no. Around that time we did a survey, an internal survey, of WCM decision makers. Most of them, honestly, didn’t care about cloud. They said we just want something that works. We’re interested in supposing our customer experience needs. That’s changed a bit over the last 18 months, John. Now people are starting to want to outsource some of this, but they’re still, I think, more concerned with getting it right and they’re also interested in the different flavors of the cloud, whether it’s a public cloud, a multitenant model, or whether it’s a private cloud. We’re getting more questions about it, but I still don’t think we’ve reached the level of maturity in WCM where they’re ready to wholesale outsource it. I also think that a lot of the organizations that we speak to understand that even if they should get a cloud WCM, it’s going to have to be integrated in with some of the enterprise applications that they have on prem.
John: Great. Here’s one. If I’m in the RFP stage for WCM and only have the resource to evaluate a couple solutions, what are the top three questions should I be able to answer to short list enterprise scale open source?
Stephen: That’s a good one. I’d say first of all it’s a functionality question. It always is. Is it going to meet my long-term functionality needs? As I mentioned in the presentation, answer that question less as does it have enough functionality to meet my needs, but also if you look at it does it have too much functionality to meet my needs. Do we really need all of this functionality? You may very well, but this is typical for enterprise software. Let’s face it, people tend to over buy functionality, so look at it from both angles. I’d say the second one for open source, we mentioned it in the presentation, it’s community. What is the vibrancy of the community? You don’t want to pick an open source product that the community isn’t helpful or there’s a smaller community and it’s not very vibrant and nobody’s creating community authored modules. Then, I’d say the final one is the support model. The support model is, let’s face it, it’s different from the typical support model when you’re getting support directly from the software vendor. Those are the three things that you should be asking yourself when you evaluate proprietary versus open source.
John: Great. One final question. I’ve seen some perceptions in the marketplace that open source WCM can’t scale. It’s not performance. Developers are needed inhouse or extensive customization is required. Would you say these blanket statements are accurate based on your research?
Stephen: No, I don’t think they are. This is the trouble with blanket statements. I don’t think you can generalize and say proprietary is more scalable than open source or vice versa. I think you have to look at the product itself. There are some high end proprietary products which have proven scalability. There are other proprietary products which have catered more to SMBs and they don’t have the necessarily proven scalability that their higher end counterparts have. It’s the same thing with open source. We talked to some companies or some organizations that had had a lot of success with certain open solutions, and then there are other source solutions which have more of a track record at the SMB level, again, the same thing with customization. As I mentioned when I was answering the first question, I encourage people not evaluate open source or proprietary as whole but instead evaluate the individual products.
John: Excellent. We’re a couple minutes over. I want to thank folks on the line for staying on and hope you enjoyed the presentation. Definitely, download the paper at OpenWEM.com. Also, I’d like to offer a special thanks to Forrester. It’s been fun working on this project, Stephen and Anjali. I think there’s some great work here and some great knowledge to be gained from the research and the reports. Thanks for joining us. With that, I’ll turn it back over Hannah.
Hannah: Thank you everyone for attending and thank you Stephen and Anjali for the great presentation and participating with us.