by Tom Wentworth
Last week, I came across an article on ZDNet entitled "Australian government can't recruit fast enough for open source". Drupal is having so much success in Australia that they can't hire fast enough to staff all the projects. Most interesting to me is why Drupal is beating the proprietary, legacy CMS systems of the past. According to John Sheridan, the CTO for the Australian government, Drupal's success is all about value:
"The proprietary solutions require an increasing fees, require expensive support or maintenance costs, and often the more advanced or popular features — the ones that really make a business difference — require so much investment of time and were so hard to get people to do that in some cases, it is prohibitively expensive or impossible to get out of once you're in,"
As I've written about before, proprietary CMS vendors are scrambling to add new features in order to justify their increasing costs and more important, lock customers into their platforms to drive recurring software license revenue. The rise of the "marketing cloud" and "marketing suite" are exactly the sort of tactics that proprietary vendors use to justify their significant higher costs. Companies are often sold this vision by a slick product demonstration and end up overbuying technology they will never use.
This is where the proprietary CMS value equation is broken.
The CMS market is under great pressure at the moment. Big companies like Adobe, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft continue to attempt to change the market through the formation of clouds and suites. The pure-play standalone companies like Sitecore, EPIServer, and Coremedia need to grow fast to take enough market share to survive in a consolidating market. In both cases, vendors are building products and making acquisitions that often don't match the real-world customer requirements.
The net is that most of the proprietary CMS vendors are increasing their license prices and implementation costs are increasing due to the unnecessary complexities created by features few companies need.
And this is driving companies to open source and to Drupal, as it simply provides better value. Sheridan notes that in the Australian government, all projects over AU$80,000 require agencies to consider open-source software along with proprietary software "... with decisions made based on what offers the most value for money."
According to John Sheridan, "So popular is Drupal in Canberra at the moment that we're starting to see challenges in getting appropriately qualified staff because they're in such high demand."
Drupal is beating proprietary CMS products across the board, including government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, higher education institutions, and media companies. If you are still using a legacy, proprietary CMS, I encourage you to take a look at our new CMS Selection Toolkit to learn how to make the switch to Drupal.