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Drupal and the Power of Community

Dave » 17 years 21 weeks ago

Given the nature of our work here at Woven, I read a number of blogs and other publications having to do with collaboration. One of these, Collaboration Loop, profiles collaboration technologies in the enterprise space. They usually focus on enterprise grade offerings from the larger commercial players, but they just featured a short article on the open source Drupal platform. Coincidentally, it’s the very platform we’re basing our work on. I thought the article nicely relayed some of the very reasons we chose to make Drupal a crucial part of our strategy, and it presents a good case for why Drupal may give some of the enterprise offerings a run for their money.

Drupal is clearly an effective collaboration tool, as it powers the worldwide Drupal effort itself. It’s already a success story in geographically distributed software development, as I see it.

We often are so focused on the future opportunities of collaborative technologies that we may not see the outcome of successful collaborative work right in front of us. […] [T]he Drupal project itself is an example of how a large loosely knit group of people can produce powerful results.

An open and engaged community means there’s bleeding edge innovation.

The core developers … incorporate significant user contributed innovations into the platform itself enabling the development of the next generation of extensions that continue to outpace offerings from competitive products such as those from Microsoft and IBM.

While commercial players can surely implement the same things, Drupal has an intrinsic edge.

There is probably nothing in Drupal that products from the big vendors can’t do and may have implemented somewhere. The difference is companies using Drupal are meeting customer needs faster and cheaper because they are sharing innovations within the community. This is resulting in a growing community that is increasing the pace in which new innovations are brought to market.

Drupal does a great job of supporting and leveraging a large community of contributors, something the large vendors would be well served to do.

[U]nless the large software vendors figure out a way to leverage a community to this extent their days of competing for Internet marketshare may be numbered.

Leveraging the strengths of a community and platform like Drupal, while actively participating in its growth and evolution, is a viable strategy that rivals even the big players.

In an era where Google is giving away services for free, the cost of deployment and the time it takes to bring innovations to market is becoming much more important. Many smart system integrators are recognizing the power of an open community like Drupal and are effectively competing in this new environment. Time will tell if the large software vendors can adapt.

How do you use Drupal? Do you use it as a collaboration tool? Do you use other collaboration tools? What do you think about Drupal’s future as an enterprise collaboration tool itself?

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