Drupal for Enterprise

Posted By Ellen Cowan In Enterprise 09/19/2011

A natural starting point in the discussion about Enterprise IT considerations at DOOR3 is the use of open-source solutions and how Drupal fits into the conversation.

Drupal for Enterprise

Based on its strong technical architecture, feature set and the strength of its developer community, Forrester Research recommends Drupal for enterprise use. In fact, the call-out was to both Drupal and Alfresco as two of the top open-source WCM systems.

Drupal is  both an open-source dynamic content management system and also a framework that speeds the road to development for a wide range of applications from robust marketing websites with good administrative tools and support for changing, evolving rich media and content to e-Commerce sites and online collaboration and conversation communities – browsed by users across devices.

The open-source nature of Drupal has enticed hundreds of thousands of developers to actively support the Drupal community by contributing, supporting and evolving thousands of modules, which consist of pre-developed code, to solve for any number of functionality needs across applications in the Drupal community.  Where a company needs custom code, of course custom modules may be added to a Drupal solution. Open-source solutions relieve dependencies on edition upgrades and high-cost licensing fees. And again, Drupal is well supported and constantly evolving.

Features and Benefits

Some additional enterprise features and benefits include:

Dynamic Content Management  - Drupal is able to support Enterprise Content Management with CMIS.

Multilingual "out of the box" for a global site – It is easy to install a multi-language module to your Drupal site to support not only content publishing across languages, but also multiple views of your application with multi-language navigation and unique content choices based on language or geography.

Enterprise Database Compatible  - While Drupal is commonly used with MySQL, a database that can be scaled for Enterprise use, it is also able to use any number of enterprise databases, such as an existing Enterprise ERP or CRM. Database integration into existing systems is also fairly straightforward leveraging Drupal web services, if you work with experienced developers that approach the platform correctly. It is also easy to integrate Single Sign-On and leverage OpenID for security.

What else can it do? Leverage geospatial data. Index file attachments. Provide faceted, Enterprise search. Broadcast content broadcasting using push notifications, RSS, email and SMS. Ease introduction of social media and community components, such as user logins and profiles as well as integration to social media platforms via API. Take advantage of multi-site capability to launch multiple brand sites on a common CMS. Create a quick, cross-platform mobile view. Create unique views / sites for different users in different languages.

Furthermore, I recently learned from our front-end development team how easy and versatile is to re-brand by switching "Themes" with Drupal. There is no limit to the options for look and feel. Drupal is compatible with all the latest and cutting edge technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, RDFa and more.

Why Drupal?

On a final note, I asked someone recently why he said his company would never consider open-source for its website, intranet, CMS or e-commerce solutions. The answer I got was surprising to me. He said it is reassuring for his company to know that if and when they ever need to call a software vendor to complain about a problem, they would be on the line to fix it (because of the expensive licensing arrangement and accompanying paperwork).  He figured, since they paid a considerable sum for the license, someone would come and fix a problem if it occurred.  Apparently in his mind, the bill that comes with licensing is reassurance that the software company behind the solution will provide support and carry the blame if something goes awry.

So then I asked, “Does that happen”? Do you get solutions, free from blame, and quick fixes from the vendor when things go wrong?” The answer was, of course, no. In truth, they could hire that vendor for costly hourly professional services to fix the problem, or hire outside consultants.

I had to ask why not take the cost-free license and find or build a team with the money saved in licensing costs, a team that is dedicated to your business? I guarantee you can get a lot from an internal support team or contract consultant in exchange for the savings in licensing fees.  And that real person may even make you laugh one day or buy you a coffee. Who knows what the answer is – the point is, Drupal for the enterprise is worth consideration.

DOOR3 has worked on a wide variety of Drupal solutions for the enterprise, ranging from an internal content management systems, to an advanced social networking communities, to B2B and B2C e-commerce and marketing sites. Enterprise companies using Drupal include Pfizer, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner, Coty, Inc., Sony, Warner Brothers, AOL, Yahoo, Adobe, and many more.

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