Five reasons why Drupal is great for business
Drupal is an excellent tool for building and operating a wide range of client facing websites and corporate intranet sites.
It has powerful features built into the core, and comes with a massive array of modules that extend its formidable default functionality.
[UPDATE]: For an in-depth comparison between the Drupal CMS and leading website builders, check out Popular website builders, Weebly & Wix, overtake Drupal & Joomla in Google Trends.
I recently spent some time in Canada, and was invited to talk to the people at Disney's Club Penguin about the advantages and uses of Drupal. One of the things that struck me, during the meeting, was how advanced Drupal was in comparison to people's expectations - I don't think most companies fully appreciate what Drupal is capable of, and how it can streamline and automate business operations.
Many businesses (I'm speaking generically here, not about Club Penguin) operate on legacy systems that are slow and inefficient, even though they get the job done in the end. Since the job ultimately gets done, company decision makers don't look for ways to improve.
The attitude,"If it ain't broke, don't fix it", must be costing the global economy trillions of dollars in wasted man hours using inefficient legacy software and business processes.
I thought I would highlight just a few features of Drupal that make it an excellent choice for small, medium and large businesses requiring any type of web platform - internal or client facing:
1. Migration and updating legacy systems
Drupal has an open API that makes it possible to utilize all the excellent programming that has gone into developing the CMS itself for any custom applications.
Amongst the thousands of functions that are available, are those that create, update and manage content. Migrating from any other web platform, or even a text file or excel spreadsheet, or something equally arcane, becomes very easy with a small PHP script.
Something like this:
$legacy_array = fetch_legacy_records($legacy);
$drupal_node_array = prepare_legacy_data($legacy_array);
while (list($key, $val) = each($drupal_node_array) )
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The highlighted function in the above demo PHP script shows how easy it is to programatically create new Drupal content - a single function call.
An iterative PHP script like the one above makes it very easy to migrate thousands or millions of records to a new Drupal CMS in minutes.
Drupal also has built in features to migrate from other well known CMS platforms, so you won't even need a script for those platforms.
Bottom line: Don't be afraid of migration costs. It's not as bad as you think.
2. Extensible and modular
Almost every business I speak to thinks that the dictates and requirements of their business are unique. In reality, the vast majority of business requirements are, in the abstract, very similar.
Drupal has a large community of business users and many of these businesses have contributed back to the Drupal community by making their developments available for others to use as part of Drupal modules download facility.
The net result is that most of what your business needs to accomplish can be done without having to resort to custom development - someone else has already grappled with the problem and solved it. Find the right module, install it and the functionality you need is available at the click of a button.
Bottom line: Powerful business oriented functionality is available in the form of freely downloadable, well supported community modules. Expensive, custom coding can often be avoided by using Drupal as your web platform.
3. Easily implementable business rules
Businesses tend to grow their processes organically as they grow. There's no set rulebook for how business operations must be run. One of the questions I most often face is "Will Drupal be able to adapt to us, or will we have to adapt to it".
I don't like this question because it smacks of apathy. To me it makes more sense to adapt your own processes, if doing things a different way is more efficient.
That's my personal opinion, but Drupal doesn't enforce it. In fact, Drupal tries its best not to enforce any processes on its users. Instead, it comes with a completely customizable, flexible and extensible Rules system that allows any business process to be modeled with little to no programming required.
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