Drupal + India = opportunity

Given that there live one billion people in India, many of which great engineers, one can only imagine what would happen if Drupal gained serious traction there. To that extend, I decided to make a trip to India, and spent last week there with Jacob Singh and Ron Pruett from Acquia. The purpose of the trip was to increase awareness of Drupal in India in 3 ways:

  1. by organizing DrupalCamps to help create a grassroots community of volunteer developers, freelancers and small to medium-sized Drupal shops (bottom-up strategy),
  2. by talking to the large system integrators that will employ hundreds of Drupal developers (top-down strategy),
  3. by doing traditional PR with the media and press.

Together with Acquia's partners, we organized 3 DrupalCamps: nearly 300 people showed up in Delhi, 200 people showed up in Mumbai and 350 people showed up in Hyderabad. In addition, I gave a fourth keynote at ISB, India's premier business school, where about 150 people attended. At each of these events, more people showed up than originally expected. More importantly, this implies that there must be thousands of Drupal developers in India alone, especially since we didn't visit many other big cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, etc.

Drupalcamp deccan registration

Furthermore, we met various large system integrators in India: Accenture, Capgemini, Wipro, Virtusa, Cognizant, and more. Each of these are multi-billion IT sevices companies that employ thousands of engineers in India. Most of them have 1,000+ employees in their content management practices alone. Many are using Vignette, Liferay, Adobe CQ5, OpenText and Alfresco. Joomla! and WordPress seemed non-existent with the large system integrators, but all of them were eagerly starting to build a Drupal practice. The size of their Drupal teams ranged from 30 to 120 Drupal people, with all of them trying to hire 5 to 15 new people a month. All of them were rather bullish about Drupal and were hearing about it directly from their clients across the globe.

In general, I'd say that the Drupal community is about 3 or 4 years behind with the Drupal community in North America and Europe. However, they are catching up fast and it won't take long before many of the world's biggest Drupal projects are delivered from India.

Our ears perked when we learned time after time that well-known Drupal sites that we assumed were developed in the US or Europe were primarily delivered from India. And it didn't stop there; we learned that the Indian teams are also instrumental in the sales and pre-sales process. They are often responsible for making the CMS platform decisions for all of their clients regardless of country or industry. In other words, a lot of decisions are made in India and it is of strategic importance that the large system integrators have a good understanding of Drupal. They recognize this is important to their success, and all want to invest in training to build more capacity and to increase the expertise of their existing teams.

Drupalcamp deccan attendees

Interestingly, the Indian culture is big on software training and professional certification, more so than anywhere else in the world. All Drupal companies -- small or large -- asked about training and professional certification.

Another highlight is that at DrupalCamp New Delhi, about 15 Drupal companies from Delhi met for the first time. Later the same day, we helped organize the first CXO event for Drupal executives. In many ways, these were formative meetings that reminded me of early DrupalCon meetings. For the first time, they got to know each other, explored how to work together, started sharing best practices and toyed with the idea of specialization. I've seen this movie before, and I know what happens when a community of passionate developers start working together. Exciting times are ahead.

Last but not least, I gave about 15 press interviews, many of which resulted in an article in an Indian newspaper or IT magazine.

Press coverage

After 5 days of intensive travel and back to back meetings in three cities, I left India feeling excited about the size of the opportunity for Drupal. It is impossible to grasp the magnitude of the technology community and the influence India is gaining ... without having been to India. There are a lot of reasons to pay close attention about how the local Drupal community will evolve. I like to believe my trip helped accelerate Drupal's growth in India.

This trip wouldn't be possible without the help of Acquia's partners. Special thanks to Azri Solutions, Blisstering and Srijan who helped make the journey more than successful.



lakshminp (not verified):

We sure had a blast, thanks for making it, Dries!

November 16, 2011
Gábor Hojtsy (not verified):

Great news!

If you are reading this and want to make Drupal work beter in India and generally in non-English and/or multilingual environments, you are probably interested in the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative. See http://drupal.org/node/1260534 for the overall plan and get in touch with me if you'd like to help make Drupal a much better system for non-English languages: http://hojtsy.hu/contact

November 16, 2011
Dharmesh (not verified):

I would say that the IT sector in India is very English focused.I would assume they would be familiar with English. For India in particular, I think what would be more helpful is to have content that is published in English be simple for easier to understand and grasp.
I may be wrong but I am pretty sure of what I know of India.

November 16, 2011
Renat (not verified):

Dharmesh, you see, D8 Multilingual initiative is not about translation documentation for site creators. It is about improving multilingual capabilities of Drupal, i.e. it will be easier to create multilingual sites. I think it is more than important in India, because not all it's citizens are IT professionals, and most of the sites should handle content in many languages.

November 16, 2011
Gábor Hojtsy (not verified):

Renat, you are very right. Thanks! Indeed Drupal 8 targets to improve the functionality to build multilingual websites.

November 17, 2011
Madhan (not verified):

India Rocks!!!

November 16, 2011
Steve Purkiss (not verified):

This is so exciting!

I've personally encountered a few people from India who 'get' Drupal in terms of both community and code, it's great to see this is growing and it's wonderful to have the common language of Drupal to connect more with others from around the world and innovate without restrictions.

It's so much more exciting than my previous experiences working with teams in India on OSCommerce, XOOPS, etc. projects - the community aspect of Drupal really does make it stand out amongst other alternatives to a degree which simply cannot be replicated by code alone.

Really great that you had the opportunity to visit and I hope you get the chance to do it again soon, congrats to all involved!


November 16, 2011
Hendry Lee (not verified):

Your next trip should be to Indonesia. Here, we have 240 million people. Not quite as big, but still, quite an opportunity. :)

November 16, 2011
Kuldip Gohil (not verified):

It was nice to meet you guys at DrupalCamp Mumbai, Very nice keynote session by you, and a great community contribution session by Jacob Singh.

Waiting for your next trip.

Thank you,
Kuldip Gohil

November 16, 2011
Goutam Dey (not verified):

It was so unfortunate for me that I was unable to attend those camps. I am from eastern part of India, Kolkata, and trying hard to build the community here. I have attended DrupalCon SF and I would like to recreate the Drupal fun and feelings here at this part of India, Kolkata, one of the Metro city among the four in India (Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata).

I do hope one day you will also visit Kolkata and we will rock again here at Kolkata. As far as opportunity is concerned, I know NodeOne already reached Kolkata to train one of the major IT company, which have started operation in Drupal verticals.

Here at Kolkata, TCS, CapGemini, Ericsson, CTS have built their Drupal team and started executing projects on Drupal as biggies and there are lot of small shops too who are into the business already, but there are severe scarcity in skilled Drupalistas.

November 16, 2011
Dave Poon (not verified):

Good to see lot of Drupal developers emerging from the country like India..

These kind of awareness programs will make Drupal CMS popular and many companies will start using it!.

November 16, 2011
Sravan Kumar (not verified):

India will rock soon!

November 16, 2011
Mohanraj Thangarasu (not verified):

Wow ... I was waiting for this posting since I attended Drupal Camp Deccan in Hyderabad and was waiting to know what Dries felt of the Indian Drupal community and its scope.

Drupal influence is increasingly growing in India with small/media/large scale technology players. Hope you enjoyed your trip to India.

November 17, 2011
Ashish Gupta (not verified):

This was truly a great experience. It was a pleasure meeting up with Ron and you. Tekriti definitely looks forward to an even greater association with Drupal and Acquia

November 17, 2011
Rahul Bile (not verified):

Though I have missed the meeting, I got the updates from my friend. And yes with the Big Companies Like Accenture, Capgemini, TCS providing Drupal solutions for clients like Royal Mail, Turner and more, the Drupal will surely flourish in India with more speed and also contribute to the community.

Rahul - Capgemini Drupal Factory.

November 17, 2011
Hitu Bansal (not verified):

AweSome!!Drupal will surely flourish in India with more speed .Thanks for Sharing

November 18, 2011
Sandeep Dash (not verified):

I too missed the chance to join DrupalCon in India with a sad feeling, but I'm completely agree with the views of Dries!! Drupal is gonna be a leading open source CMS user in India.


November 18, 2011
Vijay (not verified):

Thanks for the detailed write up Dries.

"well-known Drupal sites that we assumed were developed in the US or Europe were primarily delivered from India."

As of my experience, most of the time all high level design happens in US or other countries (eg. for a functionality, whether can combine two or more contrib module or write a new module(custom) specific to it. If custom, how this would be implemented, etc...). Most of these decisions are responsible for non-function requirements like performance, scale-ability etc...

So most of the elaboration phase would be in other countries and construction in India for big projects.

So yes, we delivered but not really started from the beginning :)

Would be great, if drupal guides like acquia, lullabot focus India not only on Drupal development but also on overall architecture(where to use what).

November 18, 2011
Gaurav Mishra (not verified):

Dries, you are a great story teller! Stars working crazily for you!

I scan once again, every captured screenshot from the India 2011 photo album. Great!

You did not miss to capture this: http://buytaert.net/album/india-2011/capitalism-is-bad. :-)

Wish you Best!
Gaurav M

November 19, 2011