The Future for Drupal & Open Source Content Management

Sara Olson, Marketing Analyst
#Featured | Posted

Earlier this month at DrupalCamp Costa Rica, I gave a keynote speech on the future of Drupal and open source content management. In the talk, I discussed how the digital landscape is changing rapidly and how enterprise web content management must increasingly be built to adapt.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.13.41 PMThe web is changing in profound ways that the content management system must address. The web is now:

  • Mobile - Content and interface design must be designed FIRST with mobile in mind as common denominator of digital experience.
  • Data-centric - Data as both a primary objective and a by-product are collected, stored, analyzed - and business decisions and models are optimized based upon those insights.
  • Geo-centric - Location awareness and optimization provide more personalized and targeted offerings to users.
  • Omni-channel - Content is disaggregated from code and is optimized for each channel of distribution.
  • Cloud - Software, hardware, and content are distributed, ubiquitous, and increasingly commoditized.
  • Commercial - Everything is monetized from subscriptions, to shopping, to advertising and data.
  • International - Global and cultural barriers are transcended and disproportionate growth goes to the developing and most populous locations.

The evolving content management system

Content management systems were initially built to help non-technical content creators post content to sites. But they have evolved over the years into a development framework to help developers create robust sites. Today the CMS is moving from a software tool for editing websites to an enabler of digital experiences – a framework that supports and enforces the standards, interfaces, and best practices for development for the properties it creates. As a result, the CMS must now support all of the needs of a development environment and an integration framework in addition to being an enabler for stakeholders like content creators and marketers.  The modern CMS must support essential features like APIs, mobile-first design, commerce and CRM integration, and omni-channel content distribution. And it must work natively in an infinitely multi-lingual world with distributed cloud infrastructure.The implication is that a CMS software product for just one purpose or audience is no longer relevant.

Open source dominates the CMS marketplace

Open source, and specifically Drupal, is keeping pace with these industry trends better than proprietary software solutions. In fact, open source is winning.Open source technologies currently dominate the worldwide CMS marketplace. Three of the top leading solutions are open source: Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. Of these leading solutions, Wordpress is used on 44% of the top 100,000 highest trafficked websites. Drupal which is more prevalent among the largest enterprise platforms - is used on 9% of the top 10,000 sites. Joomla represents 3%. Collectively that is 56% of the top sites using these three open source systems.Why is open source winning in the CMS world?

There are five main reasons for open source WCMS success:

  1. Community innovation
  2. Flexibility
  3. Full control of platform
  4. Openness & transparency
  5. Lower total cost of ownership

Drupal 8 leading the charge

Over the next few years, I anticipate that Drupal will capture a much greater percentage of those top 100K sites, becoming the dominant open source CMS for enterprise. Although it remains a viable tool for smaller and simpler sites, Drupal has over time shifted towards enterprise use cases. With the advent of Drupal 8, Drupal is more capable than ever before of meeting enterprise content management challenges.drupalcampCRWith Drupal 8 we will see Drupal used as a content repository, an ingestion engine, a workflow and site building tool and to create user experiences. But we will also see it carved up into subsets of these purposes like so called “Headless Drupal” which uses Javascript to create an entirely independent theme layer separate from the content repository. That flexibility to decouple the solution is key for both developers and enterprise organizations with complex needs. The major focus areas for the development of Drupal 8 - configuration management, mobile, authoring experience, multi-lingual capabilities, and web services - improve Drupal’s ability to support major multi-site platforms. What’s more, major changes in Drupal’s architecture make it better suited to handle the omni-channel requirements demanded in today’s digital ecosystem.For a more detailed and nuanced discussion of Drupal 8 for enterprise, check out Phase2’s white paper: Drupal 8 in a Changing Digital Landscape. Or see what our developers, content strategists, and account directors have to say about their experiences working with Drupal 8.

Sara Olson

Marketing Analyst