Some “under-the-covers” details behind our new website March 21, 2013 in Drupal, Phase2 43 Comments on this post. sinanerdem In a marketing point of view, dont you think it is a disadvantage to have a non-Drupal website for a company like you when it comes to offer someone else Drupal services? Will you explain to customers each time they are asking you that you prefer WordPress over Drupal? http://twitter.com/mistcat Nate P. You might think that at first, but what most people really want is someone who understands their problem deeply and is very empathetic towards their stated and unstated business goals and objectives. Drupal is a powerful tool, but even it’s powers are directly tied to how well a Drupal solution is integrated with 3rd party services, existing legacy systems, and configured for the users of the system. You need to understand lots of tools, lots of technologies, and lots of business problems to offer the highest value and best results. Actively seeking and understanding a wider and deeper problem set actually makes our Drupal offering *more* compelling I’d say, especially when married up with our incredibly deep expertise within Drupal itself. The right tool for the right job, used with skill. http://twitter.com/OmerAtakoglu Omer Atakoglu Sinan, in a marketing point of view I think they got the attention, look we are talking about the company and everybody will go on . But I think it won’t help them to recruit Drupal talent which is more important in my opinion. patcon > But I think it won’t help them to recruit Drupal talent I think it’s a pretty big leap to assume that any or all Drupal talent is uninterested in learning other systems. It’s incredibly valuable to recruit hacker-types and hacker-wannabes, and these people are not always the type to tie themselves to a single system I personally think the tone of this post sends an awesome message, and if I weren’t gainfully employed, this would put phase2 on my shortlist http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro @sinanerdem I might not have highlighted it clearly in my post, but our clients are not coming to us to build them a site like our company website. So I don’t anticipate this to be a very big topic of conversation with clients. We do, however, have quite an impressive collection of client sites wild on the internet that we can point to in order to highlight the work we can do for them. http://www.facebook.com/sinanerdem Sinan Erdem It is relatively easy for you to explain this choice to me (not very easy, only relatively ), but most of the customers, at least the final decision makers are not that knowledgeable in those technologies. In the end, people tend to think simple and a company’s own decision is a good marker of how they think of technologies. For example, when a customer questions Drupal’s benefits, I can convince them by giving the whitehouse.gov example only. Even if their needs are completely different. I hope I explained myself clearly. One last question though. What is it that you can do faster with WordPress than Drupal? People always say that WordPress is faster to develop. But if you are not gonna choose a pretty theme and use exisitng blogging functionalities, I believe a skilled Drupal developer can develop any kind of website as fast as WordPress. patcon I don’t agree, but well-said http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro We did use a lot of existing functionality provided by WordPress, no there was much less to write/configure. The other benefit to our team is that the administrative tools to manage the minimal content and configuration we have are very easy to use and not hard to learn at all. Jeff @Sinan while I respect your point about the impression it makes, I do have some experience selling Drupal to decision makers myself and we aren’t lacking for examples other than our own website to demonstrate to customers when and why to use the right technology. I can use the Whitehouse.gov example to demonstrate why that was the perfect solution for that customer and their needs (and 1500 other Drupal sites we have built over the last 7 years). We launch several Drupal sites every month so examples of when/why it makes sense will be fresh too – we arent going to stop using/selling Drupal. I think most of our customers hire us for our expertise in Drupal but feel better knowing that we arent dogmatic about our technology – they also want us to know Java, Python, Django, Node.js, RAILS because not everything they need is a CMS website and the big guys need integration expertise too – which is where our team shines. Anyway, thanks for participating in the discussion, I would rather you care and not agree than not care katbailey This is a bold and awesome move – especially from the perspective of goal #3. I think the single most important thing a Drupal developer can do these days is to spend time on platforms other than Drupal (though personally I would have gone a step further and used something ruby-based instead of sticking with PHP ). Hats off! http://www.facebook.com/chrisf Chris Fowler Congrats. She’s a good lookin’ site. http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro @katbailey Thanks! Ruby was definitely a front runner and while we do a good deal of work in Ruby here, we also wanted to have the largest pool of folks at the company that could lend a hand if we need some site work, so it made PHP a good option in that regard. http://www.kaleemclarkson.com/ Kaleem Clarkson First let me say Phase2 has given so much back to the Drupal Community that there can be no way to measure. But It is a little disappointing that you went with a WordPress site being a leader in the Drupal community. In one of your business sessions that I attended you talked about finding a niche and staying with it. To me it sounds like you took the easy way out in hopes of attracting more business and getting the site done the fastest way possible versus educating your non technical people and coming up with more counter responses to “I want to use WordPress”. Jesse Stegmann I’ve attended a similar presentation by the Phase 2 guys and I think you have misunderstood the idea of niche. Being a Drupal shop is not a niche, that means you are competing with anyone who does Drupal. Their niche is enterprise CMS implementations and they think Drupal is the best tool for that. I very much doubt they are trying to get WordPress work with this move. They wanted a site with a blog, portfolio that was easy for content admins to use out of the box. Those are things that WordPress does well so why not use it? http://www.kaleemclarkson.com/ Kaleem Clarkson I completely understand niche markets and what they were saying. I would argue focusing only on drupal as a platform is far more of a niche market than servicing all types of CMS. Anyway, my main point is that I am just a little disappointed. I look at the big companies (Acquia, Phase2, Mediacurrent, Lullabot etc) to be our biggest advocates within the market and it is just a little weird to be such a large leader but not use the platform to showcase your work. Again it’s all good because at the end of the day because Phase2 will still be a leader in the drupal community. But on a small scale it would be like Bill Gates being caught using an iPhone, or CEO of Coke out in public with a Pepsi, or Magic Johnson wearing a Larry Bird Jersey in L.A. http://openchurchsite.com/ Jay Callicott I think Kaleem raises some good points here. I think each business can decide for themselves whether it’s better to focus specifically on one thing or whether your “niche” is being able to do many things. I think the cliche “right tool for the job” is a bit overused but I understand Phase 2′s point. At least there is some consistency in sticking with open source. I think WordPress is totally fine, it’s a good tool. So is Ruby on Rails, so are a lot of things. An argument could be made though that this might undermine Phase 2′s ability to champion Drupal. That being said, it’s not the end of the world to use another open source tool. Adam Ross I think it increases it. People who need convincing will judge software stack arguments by the background of the speaker. This is a visible statement that Phase2′s consistent Drupal position comes from broad experience. http://www.facebook.com/sinanerdem Sinan Erdem I agree with @katbailey:disqus though. Stucking in one technology and trying to use it for any kind of project is not a good idea. +1 for Ruby Adam Ross Congratulations on the relaunch, does this mean Agile Approach is going away? http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro Thanks @google-3e2f0386a66cb77f556b166cef941d6c:disqus. While the Agile Approach URL will now just redirect you to this site, our blog will accomplish the same goals as AA and all old posts have been migrated here, so no one loses. http://blog.rubenspeculis.com Rubens Peculis Great job on the relaunch. I’m impressed with the choice of WordPress too. It’s certainly validation of your ethos of the right tool for the job. http://www.facebook.com/markandrewsutton Mark Sutton Love the new digs. Love the WordPress underpinnings as well. Just because you CAN do a simple Website in Drupal does not always mean you should. Finding the right tool for the job is half the battle. Congrats! http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro Thanks @facebook-636558664:disqus http://twitter.com/TheRealChiko Chiko Mukwenha This sounds like a business decision to me more than anything. ———-The following is just a theory————– This is to be expected when passionate coders are no longer in places of authority. Moving away from drupal sounds to me like a business decision not so much backed with passion, but a need to pay bigger bills for the business. This is NOT a vote of no-confidence in drupal anymore. It’s a vote of LESS-CONFIDENCE. http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro @twitter-178428992:disqus You theories, while amusing, are hardly close to the truth. As a business we are always striving to find the intersection of the things we want to build and have expertise building and the needs of potential clients. As we grow, sure we have bigger bills to pay, but we also have larger clients with more diverse needs. Sometimes those needs might be smaller micro sites or blogs that could easily be knocked out with a tool other than Drupal, and other times they will be complex business applications that Drupal is not a good fit for either. What our clients NEED is us to pick the tool/approach/technology that best solves their problem and enables their business goals. Our job is not to make every problem a nail just because we have a Drupal hammer. Additionally if we had less confidence in Drupal we would not undertake such herculean efforts as upgrading Open Atrium to Drupal 7. But all of that aside, if you read my blog post again, this was about knocking out our company site so we can get back to our real jobs, and that is to continue delivering value for our clients. WordPress helped us get our site up and out the door (for what it is) quickest, is very easy to use for our folks that work in the CMS, and we learned quite a bit in the process. Wins all around. Jeff @twitter-178428992:disqus respectfully your theory is wrong. We let our tech team decide to use whatever they wanted to for the job as long as they met the requirements and stayed within the budget/timeline. As a member of the Drupal Association Board and someone who has championed Drupal around the world for the last 5+ years, I was honestly a bit worried at first that their decision would cause these types of rumors. But then I realized that this WASN’T a business decision and unless I (as the CEO) wanted to over rule my team to MAKE IT one I had to respect their wishes. I chose to empower and trust my team in areas that a CEO and technology politics do not belong. I think they appreciate that. http://www.facebook.com/michael.clendening.1 Michael Clendening Only time will tell if this was a wise move. For now, you have certainly lost the respect of quite-a-few Drupal enthusiasts. I cant imagine on what planet WordPress would ever be the first choice of a company who’s existence is based on great web tech like Drupal. Do as I say, not as I do? http://twitter.com/febbraro Frank Febbraro Our company existed long before Drupal (2001). We were building enterprise applications and content management tools in Java (and some other languages). So Drupal did not create Phase2. While it is true that we owe a lot of our current success and opportunities to Drupal, it remains only one (major) piece of the work we do. Our services also include work that is not even development oriented and always has. We certainly owe a lot to Drupal which is why we contribute, build open source distros, and are diamond sponsors to DrupalCon and sponsor many camps. That does not mean, however, that we owe it to Drupal to make every single site we do a Drupal site. Especially the simpler ones. Josh We certainly do. We have many people on the technical side who are very interested in using the right tool for the job and building solutions in a variety of technologies. http://www.robloach.net/ Rob Loach The web is always changing. Learning to adapt accordingly is a must. Whether it’s WordPress, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, it’s important to realize that it’s all on the web. What we can accomplish with it is up to us. We are the ones that push it forward… We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams. Great launch, guys! Keep it up. Michael Caccavano Thanks Rob. Appreciate the wise words – I couldn’t agree more! http://www.volacci.com/ Ben Finklea While it certainly is “purty” (we pronounce it “purdy” here in Texas, y’all) I’m surprised that you don’t discuss the role of marketing in your article. While ease of use, quick implementation, and the desire to stretch your team are admirable causes I’m curious about what it has done for your bounce rate, conversions, lead quality, and sales. Any early indicators you can share? febbraro Hey @BenFinklea:disqus. Marketing was certainly a concern. We are waiting after the splash of the new site and word of mouth to see what the lasting effects are. I could easily say our traffic was up 300% since the previous week, but most new sites with any social media push will see a short lived change. Our mobile usable was up quite a bit too w/ the new responsive theme. Richter Roger This is so disappointing to hear. Embarrassing to say the least. The reasons given, really don’t add up for such a renowned Drupal Shop. My grandmother could have grabbed a theme from Themeforest and one-click installed WP to achieve this. Way to saturate and commoditize your value. febbraro Sweet, is your grandmother looking for work? Seriously though, I’m not sure why you would care so much, but I’m flattered that you do. I do, however, think this is a prime example of living our values as a company and for that I’m super proud. In fact, I’m not even the slightest bit embarrassed. I think it took a good amount of guts to do this and based on the wildly successful client sites we have delivered on, I doubt a corporate marketing site in WordPress commoditizes our value. http://twitter.com/tonykopetchny Tony Kopetchny Frank (and team), congrats on the brand update and new site. It looks fantastic! I’ve reviewed all the comments in this chain and find the dialogue fascinating… What I believe is, value quality for clients comes from the ability to help define their needs, then, match appropriate fitting solutions (not preselected formulas)–bravo to the P2 team for using that value set in their own work. Any suggestion that using WordPress somehow diminishes confidence in Drupal is silly–Drupal is great for enterprise Web, this site just isn’t that scale (as you note). Technology exists to make work easier, it’s a tool not an end state–screwdriver or power drill? Guess it depends on my immediate issue, my longer term goals and budget, or if I only have a box of nails… m0j0_j0j0 So basically,from all the CMSs you considered, you came to the conclusion that: - WordPress was the easiest to use (especially for non-technical people) - WordPress was the fastest to implement brochure site features for Unfortunately, when your shop is a community leader ,a decision like this carries a statement, wether you want it to or not. This is a strong statement (especially in our world of thisCMS vs thatCMS). That said, every business is entitled to expanding their horizons to increase profitability. And every business is entitled to have more than one tool in their toolbox. Pingback: Designing for Drupal Marcus Morba It would be very interesting which additional modules you used and what theme. http://www.elijahlynn.net/ Elijah Lynn As a Drupal developer for around 4-5 years now I have on my list to learn WordPress and think it will make me a better developer in the long run. I do believe in having a niche and staying focused and becoming really great at one stack but I still feel like I have a bit to go with Drupal. Either way, I would value a shop more if I knew they weren’t so “tool” biased and were open to choosing the best tool for the job. I cannot say whether WordPress was a good or bad decision because I don’t have that experience yet but I don’t frown upon it and I think it shows some diversity. I think some shops can get distracted if they try to half ass too many different technologies but WordPress is hugely popular and there isn’t much reason to not know it well, if nothing else just to understand customers more and the platforms they are coming from. After all, most customers do some research on the net while researching companies to help with their challenges, they will undoubtedly come across WordPress as an option and it would be wise to know its strengths and weaknesses. /end opinion Big Brother So this explains why the OpenPublish distro is dead. http://softkube.com/ Mario Awad Is it possible that you guys share with us more technical details as to why you went with WordPress over Drupal? Maybe a case study where you go over different sections of your website (especially the homepage) and give us hints on how you implemented them with WordPress vs how you would have implemented them in Drupal and why you think WordPress was a better choice. This case study, in my opinion, would be of immense benefit to the Drupal and WordPress communities and also to anyone evaluating open source content management systems. Good luck with your new website. Cheers! mclinn Makes perfect sense to me. If you manufactured 18-wheelers but needed to give the mailroom guy a vehicle to run local errands — pick up pizza for the office, drop off the CEO’s dry cleaning, etc., would you give the kid a big old semi to bop around town in? Probably not. And would your customers, seeing this, think you had abandoned the truck industry? Not if they were paying attention. You fit the tool to the requirement. Anything else is just silly.