A Tale of Two Roadmaps: Drupal vs Jive
by John Carione
During the era before the marketplace began moving at lightspeed, having a “roadmap” laying out the coming features offered by a software vendor was seen as a plus. Knowing what to expect and when was a comfort. Today, being confined to a roadmap is like being in a straightjacket, prevented from moving and pivoting with rapid market demands. It’s ok if there a roadmap, but the roadmap has to be mine, not the vendor’s.
The limitations and constraints presented by a proprietary vendor’s roadmap came to mind last week as I read about a Jive Software product announcement in an industry publication: “An early entrant in the enterprise social network market, Jive Software is broadening its offerings and integrating them with a bevy of other social networks and applications. In other words, Jive never wants you to leave.”
“Jive never wants you to leave.” There it was again. Trapped by the vendor roadmap and locked into a closed, monolithic stack.
With open source Drupal, you are never trapped. With an open roadmap, you can determine the pace of innovation and development. Drupal Commons has offered integrations with Twitter, Facebook, Salesforce, and Marketo for years via contributed modules. The growing developer ecosystem ensures these solutions are available as need arises, not when they appear on a product manager’s roadmap.
It’s worth rereading Tom Wentworth’s blog post on the topic which highlights the reasons existing Jive customers have been migrating to Drupal Commons. In fact, since he wrote that article just this past June, two more Fortune 100 Jive customers have moved off the platform and on to Drupal Commons.
1) Jive's platform doesn’t offer the flexibility required to rapidly customize your community site to meet changing market requirements. This is the businesses equivalent of death by 1000 paper cuts. There is a paper cut each time a community needs to integrate with the latest and greatest digital marketing tool. Every time a community needs to be rethemed or a layout or even a column changed, paper cut. While the proprietary vendors like Jive absolutely can deliver a quality community site on day 1 that meets most requirements, what happens on day 5, day 30, day 180, or day 720? Sites need to be customized fast, time to market is paramount and the cost of change must be reasonable. Drupal has always excelled in these areas, just as does Commons.
2) Jive's API development can't keep pace with explosive growth in the digital experience ecosystem. This ecosystem is always expanding with new technologies and simultaneously contracting with the death of legacy players. Building APIs and integrations for all these tools is a noble goal, but ultimately will prove to be a futile effort. Unlike proprietary vendors, Drupal has an excellent track record of keeping pace with the speed of the web via a 20,000+ worldwide developer community. While customers struggle to export valuable community data out of Jive and into other systems, Drupal Commons excels, and is easily able to integrate and expose meaningful user context across the full customer journey of content, community, and commerce.
3) Jive's platform hamstrings a customer's creative process with siloed community software. It is also limited by the lack of a true enterprise web content management system. Drupal Commons allows developers the freedom to innovate in a way that transforms a business at the user experience layer. With Drupal, developers have the freedom to innovate and drive real business change. This is why customers are choosing Drupal Commons for their software developer communities, their customer support communities, their alumni connection communities, their gamer communities, and many more. Developers can Dream it and Drupal it beyond the boundaries imposed by more rigid systems.
4) Jive customers struggle to meet the time-to-market goals. The speed of development is often a key element in the decision process when making a technology platform decision. We’ve been told time and again that if you need to get a new community project stood up fast or overhaul an existing site under almost impossible time constraints, Drupal Commons is the one solution that can help you hit your project timelines. Leveraging Drupal Commons, development teams can prototype, innovate, and iterate faster than ever before. Spin up one-click installations of test communities on Acquia Free tier today and then roll them out in production using powerful workflow tools on Acquia Cloud.
So while it’s nice that Jive offered the market a glimpse into their latest release and partner ecosystem this past week, there are certain inalienable truths at play. That solving incremental business challenges after the day your site goes live is dependent on the agility of your platform. That siloed community software limits the ability to integrate with best of breed ecosystem tools that help define your overall digital experience. That time to market for new community projects relies on your overall pace of development. And that truly amazing customer experiences are born from unrestrained innovation. That’s the nature of web technology today, and unfortunately by the time you’re done reading Jive’s product announcement, it just might be yesterday’s news....