Drupal is quickly gaining momentum at the state government level. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural “Drupal Day” at the Georgia Technology Authority’s (GTA) headquarters in downtown Atlanta. I was invited to Drupal Day because Phase2 Technology, Mediacurrent, and Acquia partnered together to migrate 65 Georgia state agency sites off of Vignette and over to Drupal. The event was put on by the GTA to expose Georgia state agencies to Drupal and educate agency technology leaders about Drupal’s powerful content management features and elegant technology framework. It was packed with roughly 80-90 attendees filling up three conference rooms and lots of interest in finding out how and why Drupal made its way into the GTA.
The GTA team’s presentation was a testament to the value Drupal brings to an organization and a microcosm of the thinking and reasoning behind many government agencies worldwide moving to Drupal. We were lucky enough to have one of the team members film the day’s presentations. The presentation that intrigued me the most is titled “What is Drupal?” and gives a brief overview of Drupal and the selection process the GTA underwent. Their process was thorough and included evaluation of many proprietary systems (including Sharepoint, Sitecore and CrownPeak) and open-source systems (Alfresco, WebGUI and Wordpress to name a few). If you don’t have time to watch the presentations, here’s a recap of the main decision-making factors that led the GTA to Drupal:
Why Drupal for state government?
- Enterprise-ready: Drupal is powerful, secure, and scalable enough to handle the amount of requests and resources an enterprise such as the Georgia state government demands.
- Cost: Drupal’s free open-source licensing model means large organizations that have grown accustomed to paying hefty annual licensing fees for proprietary CMS’s, upwards of $800,000, now have the opportunity to reallocate their budgets to continuing to innovate.
- Flexible: enterprise proprietary CMS’s are notoriously difficult to customize. Drupal’s open architecture was built with customization in mind and allows developers to continually innovate, contrary to the closed-source, traditional release cycle that’s typical amongst proprietary CMS vendors.
- Marketshare and community: Drupal is the dominant open-source enterprise CMS with a growing membership of 750,000.
- Sector adoption: Drupal is the most widely used CMS in the U.S. government space.
As most in the Drupal community are aware, the U.S. Federal government has embraced Drupal and several U.S. state-level entities have followed suit. As larger migration projects continue to occur in levels of government below Federal, such as the GTA’s (the largest to date at the state level), I expect exponential demand for Drupal service providers to increase over the next 2 to 3 years. Not only will these Drupal websites need to be built, they’ll also need to be supported and maintained. Furthermore, I expect to see many of these websites begin to leverage innovative concepts and technologies such as RDF and responsive design, creating a better overall user experience regardless of the device used for viewing them.