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Why A Former Forrester Analyst Is Betting His Career on Acquia and Drupal

I recently left my role as senior analyst at Forrester Research, where I helped to lead research on web content management and digital experience tools, to take a new challenge at Acquia.

The change is still fresh enough that nearly every day someone asks me, “Why Acquia?”

There’s no single answer -- 101 factors fuel any job change. Here, I saw the chance to make an impact by helping to highlight Acquia’s innovation in delivering a cloud-based platform built on open-source Drupal web content management and new engagement tools like Acquia Lift. I also see the opportunity to bring the stories of Acquia and Drupal to organizations seeking more agile software to create, deliver and manage web, mobile, commerce and social experiences.

But more to the point: I believe Acquia is an exemplary company at the intersection of major trends impacting the digital enterprise: open source technology, platform-as-a-service, and cloud-based software delivery and support models for digital transformation.

I’ve seen Acquia’s purpose-built cloud platform appeal to enterprises because it addresses the needs of both technology and business camps. These groups have long worked in separate silos, and often in adversarial relationships. Now, CIOs and CMOs, web developers and web marketers, and others who touch digital strategy and execution know they must work together to be successful. Acquia’s platform helps to unify the work being done across each of the roles in a digital-focused enterprises.

A few highlights about why I’m betting on Acquia:

Drupal’s growth in the agile enterprise. CIOs, CMOs, digital execs and others often struggled with open source anything –Who owns it? Who controls it? Will it support my business or brand? Fast forward to 2014: Drupal has become the standard WCM inside many firms for legitimate reasons: enterprise-proven capabilities; speed, agility and flexibility for creating new sites and experiences, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and many integrations with other digital marketing applications. And, because of it’s open source-ness: A large community contributes to Drupal and also creates add-on features, distributed freely, enabling businesses and brands to get things done faster and more efficiently than commercial alternatives. Drupal is winning for these and other reasons at companies as diverse as Pfizer, Whole Foods, and Johnson & Johnson. Enterprises ready for digital transformation know they must succeed, not fail; Drupal and Acquia present the opportunity to get it right this time around.

Changes in enterprise software adoption. The way enterprises source, buy and deploy software is changing, especially for WCM and digital experience technology. Proprietary, closed, on-premise systems controlled by a vendor selling expensive software licenses is less attractive in the face of viable open source solutions like Drupal. Drupal is free: free from (software) cost … and free from development constraints. The market has crossed an important chasm – open source is no longer a dirty word inside many tech and marketing departments. Acquia’s platform enables technology and business pros to adopt a scalable, secure platform for growth and flexibility with Drupal at its core. I like to say Acquia makes Drupal bulletproof for enterprises.

Reallocating digital budgets changes the game for enterprises and brands. WCM projects are costly, and budgets are always limited. As enterprises grapple with budget pressures, they often realize too late the true cost of a web initiative. Is your team is tasked with finding your next WCM? That’s great, but until the broader organization understands that WCM projects only begin with the WCM license (consider: digital strategy and planning; UX/design; development, integration; testing and deployment; and BTW the infrastructure on which your platform will live…) they’re missing the big picture. I see a simple equation paying off among businesses going with Acquia: Because Drupal is free, the budget for software moves up the value chain to strategy and design; to customization and integration to meet specific requirements; to a cloud platform that’s sustainable and secure , and provides the management and monitoring for your digital channels. Acquia exists in the center of this equation. The bottom line is you can focus budget and effort on the value drivers for winning and differentiating as a digital business, in a flexible way to meet your specific company needs.

Marketing clouds sound nice but aren’t the way enterprises buy software. Many software companies have done serious work and have spent billions of dollars to buy or build software to extend their portfolio to offer a suite of WCM and digital experience capabilities. But in reality these suites aren’t fully integrated, and enterprises aren’t tossing aside their existing digital tools for an all-in-one suite. Acquia’s platform is foundational in nature, creating a scalable platform for one or 1,000 sites for content, commerce and community. As a foundation, it serves as a central WCM and digital experience platform, yet meets enterprise IT and business requirements to use existing digital applications (e.g. analytics, marketing automation, email marketing, CRM, etc.). Acquia also offers additional digital tools for engagement, like Acquia Lift (for testing, targeting and optimization), Acquia Search, plus thousands of Drupal feature plug-ins that allow you to construct a broad digital ecosystem.

I could go on. I’ll continue to write here about other key drivers in the growth of Drupal and Acquia and the success of Acquia’s customers. I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on what I describe above. You can also find me on the road speaking about WCM and digital transformation topics at Acquia and partner events, as well as industry conferences. You can reach me at [email protected].

David Aponovich is senior director, digital experience, for Acquia. He previous was senior analyst at Forrester Research covering WCM and digital experience tools. He spent several years prior to that as a WCM strategy consultant for ISITE Design, a digital agency, and earlier was director of marketing for a WCM company. Twitter: @daponovich


Posted on by Brian Benko (not verified).

He left because Forrester because Acquia has way more upside and they are going to go public. Nobody in their right mind would choose Forrester of Acquia if they had the choice. Its like choosing Sprint over Verizon or Yahoo over Google.... Next time put a little honesty in your content.

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