Focusing on all Drupal competitors

At times, it feels like many of us in the Drupal community are a bit too focused on WordPress.

Last week I was in Europe giving a couple of presentations on Drupal: one at a technology event for executive decision makers organized by Deloitte, and the other at the Drupal Gov Days. I also had various meetings with both Drupal development companies and large scale Drupal users.

I came away feeling that Drupal is extremely hot in Europe. Plenty of companies are migrating to Drupal from enterprise content management systems like SDL Tridion, Vignette, Sitecore and Polopoly. In some situations, though, Drupal is being outsold by these vendors -- we don't always win. In Europe, Drupal is also competing with other Open Source systems like Typo3 and ezPublish -- we don't really encounter these in the United States.

It begs an important question. Who in the community has deep understanding of SDL Tridion, EMC Documentum, Vignette, Sitecore, Open Text (RedDot), Clickability, Autonomy Interwoven, EPiServer, Polopoly or FatWire. Who in the community knows anything but WordPress? The answer: almost no one.

While there are things we can learn from WordPress, it is not the competition. If you want to build your business and give back to Drupal, learn about some of the proprietary competition, and help large companies to migrate to Drupal. There are many organizations looking for help. There is real money to be made in this, as well. Money that can be used to improve Drupal's usability, better internationalization capabilities, and other such areas.

We can and should learn from WordPress, but let's not be blind-sided. I would love to see more people make comparisons with other competitors and share migration stories. Like that, we can learn and become better across the board.

Comments

Stefan Happer (not verified):

One competitor that is missing in the list is MS Sharepoint. It is the one that I lost my fight against while proposing Drupal in an EU government agency for a large-size intranet project.

Also important: one thing are features, but equally important is to understand the different procurement procedures that larger companies and government organisations follow. A product that is "free" does not easily fit into these patterns.

Finally: commercial support. Most big organisations care less about the total price than the security to get support when they need it. This is where the competitors win currently.

April 15, 2011
Joel 'Senpai' Farris (not verified):

Stepan,

Remember that enterprise, commercial-grade software such as Drupal is never 'free'. It always has a cost, but open source software's cost of development, customization, and integration is almost always cheaper that Drupal's competition because of the lack of ongoing licensing fees.

What I'm trying to say is that Drupal isn't free. It's just cheaper in the long run, every single time.

We don't charge licensing fees because we don't have to build "the next version". That's why having a community of giving, sharing people around us is so awesome. :)

April 15, 2011
Stefan Happer (not verified):

Senpai, I totally agree with not "free", that's why I put it between quotes.

What I wanted to say is that many large organisations don't necessarily care about the total cost, but more about a telephone number they can call when they need support.

And of course, Drupal is built on and needs the community. But it also needs MORE Drupal shops that can say: if there is a problem with a module, then we CAN fix it!

April 16, 2011
sepeck (not verified):

I wouldn't necessarily agree with 'cheaper in the long run' as a default answer without understanding the enterprise cost cycle.

It can be cheaper depending on a given environment. In some environments, SharePoint is the cheaper and better tool. Licensing fees and support fees are only part of the equation in a corporate environment these fees are not 'stand alone' but often bundled with other licensing and external support that significantly reduce the overall costs. This assumption also discounts the internal support costs and integration issues that can be reduced when going with SharePoint as well.

Again, it's a 'depends on environment and goals' answer, not a always cheaper $$$ answer.

Steven

April 19, 2011
Grant K (not verified):

Ah yes, the much vaunted support of proprietary CMS. A few years ago, back in 2008, long before the wonders of D7 and when many still had D5, NTEN did a survey amongst nonprofits about the customer satisfaction with CMS they use. It included an "After Sales Support" category in which Drupal was given a B+. How do we get a B+ when we had no official support? (This survey predates Acquia support contracts.) Well, in a word, community. In fact, only 2 of the proprietary CMS ranked higher and far more ranked lower. This much vaunted support from proprietary CMS is just not at all what it's cracked up to be. Not to mention that Drupal has only gotten waaaaay better since then and options like Acquia's support now exist.

The report is here (free to members, but it costs $50 to non-members): http://www.nten.org/research/2008-cms-satisfaction-survey
My summary of the report's findings are here: http://groups.drupal.org/node/12857

I think it's time for Acquia or someone like them to duplicate this study, or maybe fund NTEN (a nonprofit) to do another.

Reality is Drupal's best PR.

April 15, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

I cannot really say who I am (bound by NDA), but I'm currently working for a very big company that uses FatWire.

I'm pretty used to WordPress as a CMS, even more than Drupal, but I WISH I had the authority to switch FatWire for "something else", Drupal would be my first choice.

April 15, 2011
C.J. MacDonald (not verified):

.net based solutions like Sharepoint are heavily used by governmental agencies and the like in the U.S. I have also lost Drupal bids to Microsoft based solutions. I have also won bids to migrate away from ASP.NET based solutions, to great customer satisfaction.

April 15, 2011
Josh Beauregard (not verified):

I personally have never seen Drupal Core as a competitor to WordPress. WordPress vs Drupal Out of the box kills drupal in ease of use and getting blogging and basic CMS tasks started. WordPress is however a competitor to the distro, PressFlow.
WordPress is a blogging app Drupal core is a platform that could have a blog written/configured on it.
Lets not confuse the 2 separate purposes of programs.

April 15, 2011
William R. Dickson (not verified):

Whether or not _we_ see WordPress as competition for Drupal, many in management and many on the design end (who often have the ear of management) certainly do. A whole lot of people with influence over these decisions think you can do pretty much the same stuff with WordPress as you can with Drupal, and do it more easily - because the only aspect they have any familiarity with is theming.

April 15, 2011
Megan McDermott (not verified):

A few years ago I was part of a CMS investigation at the university I work for. The University has connections to Open Text and made a deal with the company to use RedDot (I was in favour of Drupal). My blog post here summarizes some of the reasons others on the team had in favour of RedDot and other proprietary systems:

http://meganmcdermott.com/2009/09/08/choose-drupal/

OpenText in particular had very "professional" sales people who impressed a lot of people in our organization. However, after the deal was made a team of staff from the University attended training in RedDot and hated it. They decided they wanted to use Drupal instead and convinvced the senior executive that RedDot was not suitable for our needs (I was on maternity leave when this happened).

April 15, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

Are you talking about the University of Waterloo in Ontario?

April 15, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

At our University, we have used Red Dot for quite some time now. The best feature that Red Dot has, is a built in editorial workflow, so content can easily move from author to editor in a proofing process. But, the system is so clunky elsewhere, we are about a month away from dropping it entirely. Our staff loves Drupal and WordPress for that matter. It is far less complicated for everyone from the technical staff to the content providers.

April 20, 2011
Larry Garfield (not verified):

That's not uncommon at universities. We work with several of them at Palantir, which is why we developed Workbench, a Drupal 7 suite for more robust workflow management. You should have a look and see if it can help close the deal for Drupal replacing Red Dot.

http://drupal.org/project/workbench
http://www.palantir.net/blog/introducing-workbench-new-approach-managing...
http://www.palantir.net/blog/building-workbench-community-approach
http://chicago2011.drupal.org/sessions/workbench-managing-content-manage...

April 20, 2011
Joshua Ellis (not verified):

We're in the process rebuilding a large site currently in OpenText Web Solutions Management Server (nee RedDot) in Drupal. We're using a vendor to do a lot of the heavy lifting for us. I think the solution, in the end, will create a better experience for our customers and our internal content owners, but getting there is hard. RedDot has a lot of problems, but there are a couple of features (editorial workflow, staged deployment of content) that RedDot does really well. And those are the features that make it much more enterprisey than Drupal.

We're getting there with our Drupal setup, but it is taking a lot of custom coding and a lot of reliance on other pieces of software to get it to work. In the sense that Drupal is a content management framework, I would not expect it to have all these features as part of its core. But until those features are readily available as a set of modules or some other type of extension, Drupal is going to be a hard sell in the Enterprise.

Someone made a comment elsewhere in this thread about the difference being organizations big enough to have a purchasing department or not have a purchasing department. We're big enough to have a purchasing department, and getting supported production-level Drupal paid for has been a challenge. We were able to negotiate an Acquia enterprise support contract, but it took two months for our purchasing department to wrap their heads around the idea that we were paying for support, but weren't paying for the software, so nobody (except our department) was liable if the software broke. And purchasing departments like fixed-bid, not-to-exceed contracts. Because there is no turnkey Drupal solution for things like generic editorial workflow, or dev / test / stage / prod environments, it was another hard sell to say, "yes, our vendor will build it in X hours, and it really is going to be better than RedDot which has it out of the box."

I am really encouraged by the directions I see Drupal heading. If it really wants to compete with the OpenTexts and SiteCores and Ektrons of the world, there will need to be a little less, "sure, we can build something to do that," and a little more, "this has everything you need from a technical standpoint, you just worry about content and theming and permissions and strategy."

April 20, 2011
Dave Kane (not verified):

That might be true for the enterprise but it's not what I've seen in the SMB's. Last year I migrated a small company's site off of Drupal and onto WP. They examined some of the solutions you named. The blind side threat/opportunity seems to be how Drupal snaps onto the emerging SaaS services. Exposed APIs and smooth content publishing UI aren't enough. SMB's want to integrate with Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Google Apps etc. etc. without custom development.

April 15, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

In the small business market, WordPress is competition to Drupal. Let's not be blindsided by Enterprise installations only. Many developers cut their teeth on small sites before moving on to large sites and teams. If Drupal doesn't consider WordPress competition, it will lose its developer and designer base.

April 15, 2011
Dries:

I agree that Drupal competes with WordPress for small/basic sites. There is a lot we can learn from WordPress -- and I think we're doing an OK job at that. The point is that we should look at the other competitors too and find the right balance.

April 15, 2011
Grant K (not verified):

Y'know Dries, I like to quote you back yo you, well more like paraphrase you back to you: "Proprietary CMS still dominate the market. Open source CMS are not competing with each other... we're competing with those proprietary CMS. There is more than enough of that sector of the CMS market for all the open source CMS to move into."

As you have acknowledged here, in reality we are also competing with each other, but the sentiment behind those paraphrased words, that we fight the more important battles and not other OS CMS, is very valuable.

April 16, 2011
Joel 'Senpai' Farris (not verified):

Dries, how would we know who in our community has the talent, experience, or skill in another software platform? Interesting dilemma.

Perhaps we need to enable a way for d.o profiles to also show 'other software experience' in the same manner as clicking on someone's company field and seeing a page of "other people who have also worked for this company"?

If this is a good idea, I'll open an issue for it.

April 15, 2011
Dries:

Sharing more migration stories and discussing the pros and cons of each system is what is necessary to educate more people in the Drupal community. Better user profiles could enable that, but might not be enough on its own.

April 15, 2011
Gordon Rae (not verified):

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

When all you have is Wordpress, everything looks like a blog.

April 15, 2011
Chris Johnson (not verified):

Excellent post, Dries! If one measured only the market being sold the proprietary products you've mentioned, it would be huge -- and yet most of us have not even heard of many of the products you mention. That means there is a huge opportunity for Drupal and open source.

April 15, 2011
Dominik Lukes (not verified):

I was at a university that used Polopoly to the great dissatisfaction of many. But there were some features that were superior - e.g. the ability to cut and paste node-like objects from one place to another. It was also advertised in the Adobe sites thing recently.

In general, Drupal (out of the box) is really poor at linking internally. There's a module that integrates with TinyMCE but it's very basic. This sort of thing should really come out of the box - see the latest Wordpress release.

April 15, 2011
ZCJ (not verified):

Drupal does out-compare WordPress, but many of the people speaking here are right that at the low-end the comparison gets made.

I've built many sites for clients in WordPress because Drupal content entry and management was much more work for the business staff to figure out, as compared to WordPress.

Usability is not to be undersold in the slightest. If the front end was easier to dive-into then I could make the sale for Drupal 90% of the time. This kind of broad small business adoption would put Drupal on many more people's lips.

April 15, 2011
Larry Garfield (not verified):

As others have said, it's a big market out there. It depends on which market you're talking about.

In the enterprise and medium-to-large market? Sure, WP doesn't really play much and we're mostly up against Sharepoint, Vignette, etc. But in the much larger (but also lower margin) small fry market WP dominates. I happened to be on a plane a few weeks ago next to a woman who's company had just standardized on rolling out a few dozen WP sites instead of Drupal.

If I had to make an over-generalization, I'd say our competition is Wordpress and Joomla in the "clients too small to have a purchasing department" category, and Sharepoint, Vignette, RedDot, etc. in the "companies big enough to have a purchasing department" category.

Acquia hosting competes with Vignette. Acquia Gardens competes with Wordpress(.com).

Drupal actively claims to be competitive in both markets. That means we're fighting a battle on two very different fronts. This should be a cause for concern for us, but also an opportunity if we can navigate that properly.

Navigating that properly, though, is not easy.

April 15, 2011
Dries:

Well summarized. I'm determined to try and capture the opportunity. If we navigate this properly, we'll change our industry as Drupal will become the dominant platform to build websites large or small. I'm convinced we can and don't want to aim for less.

April 15, 2011
Rapsli (not verified):

I do also think that MS Sharepoint is a big competitor. Everybody knows Microsoft, is used to it. Big companies most likely have an internal IT team that know Microsoft technologies, that have MS Servers and MS SQL db. Why not use Sharepoint for the intranet? And if we already have it as Intranet, why not just also use it for the extranet? Honestly: It sucks!

I really like the way you can integrate office into sharepoint. It's really a plus. Maybe we should need a close office integration to get into bigger companies?

April 15, 2011
kvantomme (not verified):

I don't think Sharepoint is a real competitor, unless we want Drupal to also become a full fledged versioned document repository for office documents. There is a community effort that Microsoft is supporting to get better Sharepoint integration for Drupal. With it you could build a solution where you get best of both worlds: Drupal for the community front end and the familiarity of Sharepoint for document management.

April 18, 2011
sun (not verified):

Right. Key instruments that are missing in Drupal and that make us loose the battle with enterprise systems:

  1. Native, solid, and fast Tree Handling (CRUD/API)
  2. Revisioning, everywhere
  3. Ease of use in content editing and publishing
  4. Solid, hierarchical, and advanced user access/permission handling
  5. Files and media as true first-class citizens

Truth is, almost no one builds complex enterprise/content/documentation systems with Drupal, since Drupal is just simply not able to do it. There are not even contributed projects that attempt to solve some of these problems. Most of them are way too complex to be solved in contrib anyway.

The current effort to build a better help system for D8 is hitting exactly these limitations.

April 18, 2011
David Lee (not verified):

Simply, if we think WordPress is not competitor and just focus on big company. Freelance developer and small company that focus on small client may have no future here and what would happened to community if they leave Drupal?

Drupal just need to match older WordPress version End User, Editor, Admin Usability and a few cool theme out-of-the-box to win. Why leave the market segment we based on now when we don't have to? Just do it, then we don't have to worry and expand our focus on big business without have to leave small business segment.

Or maybe, we have to push freelance and small business to become bigger business.

April 15, 2011
Dries:

WordPress is a competitor for a part of the Drupal market. The point of my blog post is that there are more competitors than just WordPress. I never recommended that we stop paying attention to WordPress. Quite the contrary, I think we can and should learn from WordPress in certain areas.

I'd like to see many of the small Drupal shops become bigger businesses. That will require them to look beyond WordPress and to learn more about proprietary systems. Thus, we need to create an environment where people can learn about other systems. The end result will be a better Drupal.

Plus, while WordPress is a competitor, it is also an ally. At the end of the day, we're fighting the same fight (i.e. Open Source vs proprietary). I really prefer to fight proprietary systems. :-)

April 15, 2011
Alltooeasy (not verified):

We have had a wide range of clients ask and work with towards developing Drupal websites.

The main question that gets asked time and time again. Is what does Drupal offer out of the box.

The answer is, with a good Drupal developer almost anything a SAAS or software platform might deliver. Better yet. Use them via Drupal to get the best of both worlds.

Put simply and having had to chop about 40% of our proposed ver1.0 pages and functionality. Wordpress has a price. By module, by the hour and by the site.

Drupal doesn't. Drupal faces the problem ( a great problem to have, I might add ) that it is the pairing of an immense Open Source system with good development.

However our experience shows that the decision making process for this, is much more in favour of"has been shown to" than "is able/can and much more".

Often the ultimate decision makers for these big commitments are not technophiles. With a job and responsibility on the line. Going open source, is a minus point still!

It isn't seen as a plus for a variety and a long list of amazing reasons that are obvious to an Open Source community. It is seen as a risk. It's a perception thing.

conservative (small c) organisations are currently very risk averse. A license fee is a small price to pay for that perception of being risk free.

If a big system takes 6 or 9 months to develop, QA, and deploy then your not dealing in something tangible, tested and proven. Your selling an idea a concept and the prospect.

Sadly the perception is (and unfairly) that system such as MS sharepoint whilst widely loved and hated, exist already. Making it work for your business is as easy as skinning it and customising it.

Whereas Drupal, whilst able, is seen as a ground up build.
Put simply, most businesses desire affordable generic tools. More technical specialist businesses require specialist tools or the ability to make their own.

Drupal is still a specialist tool. It is the factory that manufactures the factory that produces what you want.

Until this view changes, selling Drupal will always be hard.
Its the difference between having a CAD and CAM setup versus having a tool box. One will do most things, but has to be adapted and distorted (ahem....wordpress) versus the ability to just design and manufacture the perfect tool for the job.

That said, it is my strong belief that Drupal should not pursue the toolbox route. Drupal is to Content management systems what PYTHON is to Code. You can chuck what you want in it, at it or pass things through it and it will work reliably to produce what you want back.

The most common issue we find with SME's is getting them to lay out their problems. We have yet to find a "no Drupal can't do that situation". Even better, we've been able to say to clients, do it with X (e.g. Google Docs.) and host it with Drupal.

But as has been said before or alluded to. You have to bear in mind what Microsoft has as a bargaining chip. Its no different in big business versus smaller business.
Consider what for example the cost of Microsoft license payments might be in say the EU parliament versus the money generated from a sharepoint system running their docket systems + ongoing fees + locked in for X....., it would be a sensible move to make.

Even Google has said that Chrome is its biggest Coup d'etat. Its a marketing pipe. Once hooked your sold on Google and the odds of taking it up are that much greater.

Whilst awesome its still early days for Drupal. Keep the faith. Keep doing what your doing and people will wise up.

It might take a couple of years spending reviews, but sooner or later someone will do the maths to see that a good Drupal developer or team of costs a fraction of what a MS Enterprise System does.

Just imagine what the monster of a system a Drupal team could produce for the same money? ! ! !

April 16, 2011
Brian Shumate (not verified):

Adobe CQ5 will be powering the primary website of at least one international household word company soon.

Not to mention the kinds of "viral marketing" coming from the people who push their products...

April 16, 2011
Alex Dergachev (not verified):

Yep, we have a big client that recently went with Adobe's Day Software as their primary enterprise CMS. Drupal was briefly considered, but their investments Java-resources kind of tied their hands.

April 18, 2011
Mark Ferree (not verified):

Great Drupal usability benefits small businesses as well as large corporations. Most of the comparisons I have seen with Wordpress focus on its better usability. I don't think anyone is suggesting that Drupal needs to be better at making blogs.

I fear that these large closed CMS's might be beating us there as well, but from what I have seen in passing they probably aren't.

April 16, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

In my experience, customers don't really seem to care all that much about *which* CMS, they simply care that a company can come along and make the website that they need. If any given CMS happens to fulfill the requirements of that website, they're happy to go with it. Trying to sell on comparisons of CMS features doesn't work, we simply say "we can make it do anything, it's just a matter of time and money". Customers *get* that.

When we first started out in the web game, we spent ages trying to hone our message against all these different CMSes, and it never really got us anywhere. To be entirely honest, shit hot design counts for way more with the client than the bleeps and bloops of a CMS, which is why Drupal is so fantastic - we focus on making the site LOOK good, while Drupal gives us the tools to make an admin interface that the users can manage themselves.

April 16, 2011
Bill Winett (not verified):

IMHO, Drupal's greatest weakness is the lack of a large, well-funded sales and marketing organization. The commercial CMS vendors fly in slick salespeople and technical engineers to hand-hold prospective customers. With so much FUD, and with how complex these systems are, it's easy for good salespeople to influence prospects.

While Acquia is a great start, at this point it's much too small to make a significant dent in organizational decisions. It might be in Drupal's best interest to pool the community's talents and resources to do SWOT analysis, do surveys, create a committee of organizational advisers to better understand what organizations want (and what their fears are), develop marketing materials, build and share a database of leads, etc. In other words, create an open source sales and marketing effort.

April 16, 2011
John Eckhardt (not verified):

I totally agree on that and what is mentioned before "In my experience, customers don't really seem to care all that much about *which* CMS". Drupal is an outstanding Platform and CMS but still too tech-orientated.

The activity of Acquia is essential for the future of Drupal and I hope the company with just the right SERVICES will grow very fast to make an impact in sales and marketing on a global scale.

The majority of the marketing people really don't care about technological aspects and the CMS even though it has major long term effects for them. I stated these points in my blog http://www.pmdrupal.com/de/drupal. We just have to play the game and market it well to the decision makers.

I was working 3 years as head of project management for the biggest TYPO3 agency here in Switzerland and it is relatively strong here because there are a lot of companies using it, so decision makers don't see it that risky to choose TYPO3.

Drupal 7 will now be a very interesting challenger against TYPO3 as long as the i18n-modulus are ready to use. Than a good list of clients that already use Drupal is VERY helpful and much more important then a features list: for that reason I appreciate Dries list of Drupal sites.

April 16, 2011
Robert Douglass (not verified):

Don't forget Jive! Drupal Commons is competing head-to-head with Jive Software, and they've got a big IPO coming up. Being in the same space as well funded companies like Jive is going to be an exciting ride.

April 16, 2011
Halil (not verified):

Dries,

Many have already said the same thing but I want to repeat it in my own words.

Drupal is a better, more powerful product in the enterprise and in the big company markets. And its a little bit weak, lacking alternate in the small business market.

This is more or less something you and many others said several times in the past.

You always repeat that you want Drupal to be a winner on both markets and you will not favor one market over the other for Drupal's future.

Well, after knowing where you want Drupal to be on both markets, one would assume that you would direct more time, energy, resources (whatever) to the weak, lacking side of Drupal and less resources to the already powerful side of Drupal.

However, this blog post suggest focusing more on the enterprise market, in which Drupal is already more powerful, stating that its where the real money is. Which might be true. And suggesting less focus in the lower market, where Drupal needs to catch-up a lot more with its competitors.

It doesnt makes any sense to me. The enterprise market really might be the place where the real money is, but continuously losing in the small market would seriously hurt Drupal's future.

Am I mis-interpreting what you said?

Thanks...

April 16, 2011
Cary Gordon (not verified):

The money might be in the high end products, but the numbers are in WordPress competition. I would venture that the greatest number of Drupal developers are one person shops who are not well-situated to go after the kind of high-end work that would put them in competition with OpenText or Autonomy. While they might occasionally encounter Sharepoint or even Ektron, the bulk of their competition comes from WordPress and, of course, other Drupal developers.

April 16, 2011
Dominik Lukes (not verified):

This post inspired me (well prodded, more like) to look at some of these CMSs' websites - Sitecore, OpenText, Polopoly and I am totally disgusted. All that sets these guys apart is this vomit inducing CEO-bait lingo. They send a flashy sales rep who will say absolutely anything, like this from Polopoly: "Attract more visitors and keep them longer" or these ridiculous videos on Sitecore: http://www.sitecore.net/Resources/Tours.aspx. I watched one of the videos and where they were saying intuitive, I just saw confusing. Or this from OpenText: "OpenText products help organizations put content to work." BS! Everybody who's used one of these proprietary products know that this is just more Dilbert fodder with no resemblance to reality. Not that these products don't work or don't have some nice features but they are nowhere near their hype nor price! (SAP anyone?)

Compare with Drupal's simple and true message: "Drupal is an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world."

The other non-sense is this notion that these guys provide superior support. I've recently heard stories from users of Blackboard and commercial library software. We need to tell CEOs and CIOs the truth. Choosing a one-company closed-source products is irresponsible. You get vendor lock-in and developer lock-in. No matter how many clauses you put in your contract, if you have nowhere to go, you're stuffed. And how many companies who got shafted by "enterprise-level" software providers actually sue them when the service is nothing like what was promised? Most of them just bend over and pay them more money to fix bugs they promised not to have.

Drupal is far from perfect. Content staging, asset management, internal content integration, hierarchical content and yes even content-level permissions are areas where I've seen better solutions elsewhere. But there are modules that fix these and if these companies spent the money they shell out for licence fees on development, they could have a far better solution for their content management and do something good for the world at the same time.

But maybe Drupal should do more of this hyping stuff. Obviously the more highly paid the executive, the less they want to hear something about reality. Maybe there should be a tab on D.org entitle "CEO Land" with a teaser: "If you want us to tell you exactly the same meaningless stuff all the other people tell you, click here."

April 17, 2011
Fidelix (not verified):

Obviously the more highly paid the executive, the less they want to hear something about reality. Maybe there should be a tab on D.org entitle "CEO Land" with a teaser: "If you want us to tell you exactly the same meaningless stuff all the other people tell you, click here."

I loved this paragraph. ^^

April 17, 2011
NicolasH (not verified):

Hilarious....and totally true :)

April 18, 2011
sun (not verified):

Content staging, asset management, internal content integration, hierarchical content and yes even content-level permissions are areas where I've seen better solutions elsewhere.

Nice to see that your list is almost identical to mine (see above).

April 18, 2011
Megan (not verified):

My experience with OpenText was right in line with what you describe. It was impossible to find any real information about their product from their website. Just jargon. You had to contact their sales team to get any real information. Since we couldn't rule it out we ended up roped in. Unfortunately a lot of people are won over by smoke & mirrors.

April 17, 2011
Better Not Say (not verified):

Couldn't agree more. Open Text's community, documentation and support all fall very short of the mark for what we've spent. Their tool has to be the kludgiest, archaic piece of CMS software I've ever had the misfortune of working with.

January 20, 2012
Daniel Schiavone (not verified):

Previous to working with Drupal I worked with Enterprise applications in larger organizations. One engagement involved Stellent CMS (now Oracle Universal Content Management). The proprietary product was far more difficult to configure and use than Drupal with no discernible benefit. And licensing alone was six figures.

I've also worked with Sharepoint which seems to have no real benefit over other products, open source or otherwise except selling licenses and hardware.

The Wordpress vs Drupal question does come up a lot. Just addressed it with a new client on Friday. In cases where the comparison is relevant the decision points are trivial. I'd rather be having Drupal vs Sharepoint discussion.

Daniel
Snake Hill

April 17, 2011
Daniel Brumbaugh (not verified):
  1. Develop and Implement a training curriculum / certification path for Drupal People.
  2. Hook up with the Universities / Colleges and create the curriculum, we have great alliances there already.
  3. Produce degreed or at least Drupal Certified Systems Engineers, Themers and Module Builders etc., who've studied the SCIENCE of Drupal AND the Competition.

I'd enroll in this type of course of study in a heartbeat and know many others would too. Hell I'm fifty six years old but I see the advantage of Drupal as a disruptive technology, this is as important as the invention of the GUI in my opinion.

SECURITY is the driving market force here as mentioned herein by others, and Diplomas Certifications or Degrees from "Accredited Institutions" rule our societies at present in providing that (many times false) "Security".

Knowing what most Drupal and Open Source people do though, the current model hasn't been without it's issues, just because you've a piece of paper doesn't mean you know what you're talking about or can meet demanding creative / technical criteria given you for a given project .

I want to own a DRUPAL FRANCHISE, and essentially we are all franchise owners, or wannabes - we the developers are Franchise Owners who paid for their franchises with "sweat equity".

As all successful franchises have done, we need to establish, implement and enforce "STANDARDS" and "COMPLIANCE" and "SUSTAINABILITY" mechanisms.

Cheers : D

April 17, 2011
John Coonen (not verified):

+1 ~ Agree with you Daniel. Seems to me Acquia could lead the effort on this end, at least for phase one, and consider a phase two to team up with accredited, highly credible universities worldwide.

April 18, 2011
John Coonen (not verified):

Site Developers which specialize in Drupal rarely compete on enterprise projects with other firms which fly the WordPress banner. However, Drupal Developers DO compete with firms which specialize in Day, OpenText, Oracle, Microsoft SharePoint, Magnolia, eZPublish, TYPO3, LifeRay, etc.

So I agree, the Drupal Association can and should spend far less time comparing Drupal to WordPress. Instead, continue demonstrating how Site and App Developers are using Drupal today as an effective means to win major projects in the Enterprise realm against Oracle, IBM, MS Sharepoint, OpenText, Day, Alfresco, LifeRay, Magnolia, etc.

Drupal as a non-profit community competes with other OS communities for talent. That's a legitimate point. Drupal may be better-served to embrace WP as a potential talent pool, so that it can help its core followers - Site / App Developers - to combat their real competition, mentioned above (ECMs).

April 18, 2011
Gordon Rae (not verified):

I agree with Daniel's suggestion that we should develop and implement a training curriculum / certification path for Drupal people.

Talk to the UK's Open University. They already provide accredited learning on Linux; and they are a very enthusiastic Drupal user.

April 18, 2011
ebeyrent (not verified):

The company I work for is a subsidiary of a large parent company, who just rolled out a company-wide intranet with Jive. There's nothing there that I see that couldn't have been built with Drupal, but I don't know what kind of conversations took place that led them to choose Jive.

My company runs a number of sites on a custom-built CMS, which is simply awful. One of my co-workers wants to replace the whole system with Alfresco. I, of course, advocate replacing it all with Drupal. Wordpress has never been mentioned.

I think that some of the things that Drupal needs to compete in the enterprise space will make it into Drupal 8 which will help Drupal in these comparisons.

April 18, 2011
Amanda Wilson (not verified):

ebeyrent: I'd be curious to know if your company evaluated Drupal Commons when choosing Jive. Commons is Acquia's pre-packaged social business software that competes directly with Jive. http://acquia.com/drupalcommons

Would love to get your feedback on your experience with Jive and any comparisons to Drupal. DM me at @ajulietw if you can share!

April 19, 2011
Arnold Leung (not verified):

As someone who has worked with both Alfresco and Drupal, I have to say that these 2 systems have a really different focus. Alfresco is an Enterprise Content Management system for everything from email to records management. Drupal is a web content management system which is a subset of the ECM mix. Drupal is not designed for check and check out from MS Word. It is not a repository based system. Implementing the type of file access control that comes out of the box in Alfresco, in Drupal, will be a lot of work. At the same time, Alfresco requires custom Java frontend for WCM applications.

So the 2 arent meant for the same purposes, this is why for a lot of client projects, we integrate the 2.

April 21, 2011
Michael Cantrell (not verified):

We have experience with Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal and custom development. They all have their strengths and we choose the platform we are going to use based on what best meets the requirements of the project.

We typically use Wordpress for blog sites, Joomla for small business billboard style sites and Drupal or custom development for application development or large in-depth projects.

If Drupal wants to get into the space that Joomla is in, it is going to have to make huge strides in the theming department. It is so much easier to theme a Joomla or wordpress site than a Drupal site even with the huge strides in D7. There are so many classes that get added by the core to wade through that theming is too steep for most Joomla or Wordpress shops to even consider making a jump. I have talked to a dozen designers in my community and they all gave up after a cursory review because of this.

If that isn't the goal, then maybe Drupal doesn't try to compete in that space. Maybe it just does what it does. Drupal is to CMS what frameworks are to PHP, etc.

April 18, 2011
John Eckhardt (not verified):

Did you try Drupalgardens for theming, exporting it and, if neccessary, deploying it on a different server? I think there couldn't be an easier way for fast theming and deployment with D7.

April 19, 2011
Andy Pemberton (not verified):

Good post, Dries. At my company, we do technology consulting for large organizations in the US east coast.

For us, Drupal _rarely_ competes with Wordpress. Lately, we've seen more competition from Sitecore, Ektron, Fatwire, etc.

April 18, 2011
cooltekila (not verified):

Really Drupal is a powerful CMS, especially the community it is driven by. I have no experience of the other CMSs, open or proprietary, but I really love the open source solutions as they are not only solutions but also fields of community collaboration and contributions. The birth of Drupal Gardens and Drupal Commons have driven me crazy, loved it very much and would like to see other OSS grow like that. Drupal being open core is also a plus for its popularity.

April 18, 2011
Dominik Lukes (not verified):

@Daniel Brumbaugh: Great ideas. I've been talking about closer links with Universities since Drupalcon Brussels. There are also several certification initiatives going on at the moment but none have gained much traction in the community. I've proposed a social model for this but many others are available.

@cooltekila Drupal is actually not Open Core as the term is commonly used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_core.

Open Core is used to refer to projects where ONLY the core is open but proprietary addons / packages are sold. Therefore, Drupal's core is open, but it is not Open Core.

April 19, 2011
Jamie (not verified):

I think one of the bigger issues is a unified approach in Drupal. You take the other systems you have mentioned and pretty much everything is done the same way. Say you're a company hiring a writer. If you're using Wordpress (or about any other system you mentioned) and they use that same system, then training is minimal.

Now flip this to Drupal. Sure my company could be hiring a writer and we use Drupal, but that leaves open a ton of options. Am I using TinyMCE or FCKEditor (or BUEditor, etc.)? What kind of media management system am I using (CCK + ImageCache, IMCE, Media Module, etc.)? You can have two sites built with Drupal that look almost identical to the end user, but the backend is a totally different beast.

Of course this helps with making Drupal one of the most versatile systems, but it does add a huge layer of confusion to the people who aren't familiar with it.

April 19, 2011
Michael (not verified):

As a freelance, relatively recent Drupal devotee, I have a growing suspicion that I have climbed the wrong learning curve, unless I can convince some clients to let me onto much, much more complex projects where budget is not the only issue and Drupal can be justified.

Competing for projects at the bottom end of the market and spending hours configuring a myriad of modules and on issue queues trying to sort out glitches and contribute back is a struggle to say the least.

The point I wish to make is: are the goal posts moving here?

Is it realistic to compete with wordpress AND enterprise proprietary CMSs?

Is it realistic to have a user base made up of freelancers on tight budgets putting together 2/3 day projects AND 20-30 developer strong design shops who can dedicate resources exclusively to module development and convince big clients to commit?

I would hope so(Install profiles, Features...), 'cause my boots are kinda worn out from the climb up that curve!

April 19, 2011
Steve T. (not verified):

You may want to consider Joomla.

It does a pretty good of straddling the line between out of the box functionality (with some good free extensions) and as a development platform for larger projects.

Soon, Joomla.org will release "The Joomla Platform". This will be a bare-bones installation containing the framework and will be optimized to serve as a CLI application server.

I'd say Drupal's most direct competitor is Joomla. Wordpress just happens to be everyone's competitor because fills in a lot of the core requirements for blog sites and simple CMSs.

I committed to Joomla a while ago after seeing the commitment object oriented programming and MVC development methods (after Joomla 1.5). With Joomla 1.6.x, a powerful access control layer is built in which can be tapped to provide fine-grained control to, not only users, but within applications as well.

People seem to forget that Joomla, like Drupal, is just a web application framework on which the CMS is built.

I happen to prefer the component, module, plugin methodology for extension development in Joomla. With version 1.6, now you can also install your own libraries, languages and applications packages via the back-end.

Honestly, I can't see why more Drupal users aren't checking this out because the potential for rapid application development is tremendous. The framework allows for a very structured & modularized approach to development and makes it easy to maintain the code within a group.

To me, the strictly modular approach to application development in Drupal means that there can be no single distributable application which one could develop as the end result with the intent of dropping it into another Drupal installation. You're forced to make your *entire* Drupal installation encompass the scope of the project. With Joomla, you can create individually manageable applications which can be easily distributed, and rely only their own compartmentalized set of resources (of course, this doesn't *have* to be the case - you could just develop your own distributable library and base all your applications off of that).

May 19, 2011
Anonymous (not verified):

I strongly agree to Dominik's list where Drupal falls short, espacially when it comes to DAM and integration of any image-based content (I currently work on a Java-based DAM project). Maybe an interface to 3rd party solutions is all we need – but this is key in any marketing oriented environment. And do not laugh at Sitecore, this guys have a strong understanding of what marketing-oriented customers need, and their solution has a very reasonable price tag.

Every vendor tries to find it's niche, and being a brand for whatever solution: SDL on "global projects", Sitecore on "digital marketing", Sharepoint on standing on Microsofts's giant shoulders (and this is key to many CIOs). Drupal's way on emphazising the "ecosystem" is a great strategy – but we really have to be aware that the current D7 has more that just one weaknesses in direct comparision to some high-end CMSes (and yes, some of them are adressed in D8)

When talking to people (techies as wella as others), I always sell Drupal as the best tool when it comes to "lots of people see lots of different content" (aka as social media;-). This is where Drupal *really* shines.

April 19, 2011
Panos Kontopoulos (not verified):

We are using Drupal for 99% of our projects, we have also invested in Sitecore for special clients like Telcos and Banks where OpenSource is still a "forbidden" word here in Greece.

We are specialized in high traffic news portal sites where Drupal has a significant advantage over its commercial competitors due to its extended community features. We are working ONLY on original designs and we haven't encountered a single problem in applying our extreme pixel perfect designs to Drupal, I think all that discussion about Drupal being difficult to get themed, is just a myth.

Joomla is the main platform competitor in news portals in Greece mainly due to its huge existing theme gallery, we are working currently in our largest Joomla->Drupal migration for www.gazzetta.gr the 3rd largest sports portal in Greece with 150K articles, 950K comments and 65M page views per month, so stay tuned for some feedback. ;-)

April 23, 2011
Sebastiaan van ... (not verified):

For a comparison the eZ publish and Drupal ecosystems, check http://bit.ly/huA9Nz

April 27, 2011
Marilyn (not verified):

Yesterday I attended a seminar called "Improving Your Website for a Global Audience" which presented the case study in-progress of a large US ngo becoming a global NGO and in the process, facing issues re developing a global site + regional/country sites, translation and localization. Fascinating stuff.

The speaker indicated that the org chose an independent consultant who presented several solutions to the issues of multiple sites, translation management/content management, etc. including one open source solution (Drupal).

While the speaker indicated interest in using Drupal, they had contacted local developers and an unnamed company that sounded a lot like Acquia. The unnamed company declined, saying they no longer took full projects such as this one, and suggested a local partner. The local partner did not submit a proposal, so Drupal was dropped as a contender.

In the end, they chose between Day CQ5 and SDL Tridion, and SDL won the CMS part of the contract.

The speaker stressed the importance of hiring an independent consultant in order to take issues away from IT vs web team, or web team vs management in general. I thought that this point was worth our consideration as a community.

The Capgemini/Drupal partnership came to mind. Other strategic partnerships will be important as Drupal seeks enterprise/government/association/international clients.

Training needs also came to mind, as I wondered if the Drupal agency was stretched too thin to reply to the RFP at the point it was offered.

Afterwards, during a networking session I spoke with another potential international organization's representatives who were also interested in Drupal. They expressed IT reticence (in stronger terms) as a stumbling block, under the guise of security concerns.

I mentioned a seminar I had attended recently in DC for Drupal government clients/contractors that stressed FISMA compliance in the Drupal/Acquia sphere. One of the reps had attended the same seminar, and responded that it was excellent but didn't help, since the org is not US-based, rather international in scope.

Lots of room for growth, need for developing partnerships with independent consulting firms, sales/marketing opportunities, evangelizing Drupal in the context of enterprise/large organizations. Those were my takeaways.

April 27, 2011

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