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Drupal vs. Sharepoint: Choosing the right platform for your site

As Drupal continues to gain significant enterprise adoption, it is competing more and more against incumbent technology in the form of commercial and proprietary software. One of the more surprising competitors in the marketplace belongs to a software application that was created for document management, not content management.

That technology is Microsoft SharePoint, and it powers a surprising amount of enterprise websites. Then again, perhaps this is not as shocking as it seems given the ubiquity of Microsoft applications and the fact Microsoft will include a license for an external website if you’ve already purchased six-figures worth of Microsoft applications. How many organizations default to SharePoint for external site management and put up with all the quirks because of the “free” license -- as opposed to choosing a platform like Drupal that was built explicitly for this reason? It’s telling that Microsoft’s own website features a comprehensive list with 100s of CMS options on which SharePoint is nowhere to be found.

Last year, we were prompted to compare SharePoint as a CMS to Drupal after Microsoft’s release of SharePoint 2013; we’ve also shared links at the bottom of the page to established SharePoint partners so you can draw your own conclusions.

Clearly, SharePoint has its strengths as an overall product. Here are some areas where SharePoint is quite strong:

  • Internal document management
  • Business intelligence and reporting
  • Taxonomy and managed metadata for searching
  • Highly scalable across internal enterprise environments

However if your organization relies on it internally, why not integrate it with Drupal and get the best of both worlds: SharePoint for document management and Drupal to provide the comprehensive CMS platform for a great digital experience. To put this in context, let’s consider an analogy. Would you try and install a home stereo system in your car?

To attempt to use SharePoint as a CMS requires workarounds and customizations to even come close to matching your minimal expectations for an external web platform. This results in many challenges, and the frustration of never producing the site experience that you had envisioned.

Drupal on the other hand, is focused entirely on being a best-in-class web platform. By using an open-source framework, Drupal website projects have access to substantial resources in the form of contributed modules and integrations, allowing the team building the website to focus on higher quality aspects of the project.

Let’s take a moment and put the capabilities and limitations into a more visual context. As you review the following websites, which purport to highlight the best sites built in each platform, ask yourself whether there’s really any comparison?

When creating a modern website, it doesn’t make sense to have to start over at the beginning and re-invent the wheel with every new project. Drupal allows companies to get up and running faster, with no licensing fees, utilizing nearly limitless functionality and customization. Here are some of the highlights from the Drupal vs. SharePoint Fact Sheet we put together:

photo 1

Finally, here are some SharePoint partners who write from experience about using SharePoint as an external web platform.

The challenges of creating a great online experience today are demanding. Choosing the right platform for your site is the surest path to success.

Also in this series

  1. Drupal vs. Sharepoint: Choosing the right platform for your site
  2. Why are Mid-Market Companies Still Looking at Adobe CQ?
  3. Setting the Record Straight on the Total Cost of Adobe AEM vs Drupal


Posted on by Michael Gillen (not verified).

In 2011 a leading german furniture trading company (12 stores, 2.500 employees) decided to get a new intranet that should be an information and collaboration platform.
So we compared Sharepoint and Drupal (and 5 other systems). The solution: Drupal would be the best system.
As a Microsoft-using Company they decided to compare the two systems by several applications, e.g. some workflows.
We implemented this by using forms.api and rules. An other company tried to do the same with Sharepoint... The desicion was: DRUPAL is the better system.
More than one year the new intranet, based on Drupal is live. And Great!

Posted on by Bob (not verified).

This comparison is laughable. Clearly you have extremely limited knowledge of SharePoint.

Posted on by Dave (not verified).

Confused about what specific parts of the comparison you are disagreeing with? The three final links in this article:

- "Out of the box won't do"
- "3 things not to do with SharePoint - 1. Build Public Facing Websites”
- "“Content contributors … care about getting content onto a page and published. And in this regard SharePoint 2013 offers little improvement.”

Are from folks that possess industry-leading experience with SharePoint. Does your statement, "clearly you have extremely limited knowledge of SharePoint" apply to those sources?

The comparison in this article definitely supports my own experience, and the experience of other professionals I know, which is that Drupal is a far superior choice for an external website platform.

Posted on by Mark (not verified).

It seems that Bob is quick to criticize but had no time to elaborate. One can only assume that Bob knows a lot about SharePoint, but isn't willing to Share. I'll share one comparison: SharePoint is typically deployed before the Governance is defined, and before any training is planned. Result? Due to ignorance, people hate it. Quick to deploy every feature, hard to train and get user adoption. Compare to Drupal - what does it do "out of the box"? Nothing, until you build it, which can be done using the skills of any decent Business Analyst, Project Manager, and Drupal Developer - who match the solution to the requirements, which can be done in an Agile approach.

Posted on by Xristos (not verified).

A big company doesn't care about the themings. A big company doesn't care about the modules, because it the primary source of hacking. A serious company cares about security, delegations, support and auditing in various places, not the money. Use it at small companies, where there aren't any of those prerequisites.

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