Drupal 8 Reinvented as Modern Experience Management Platform

We spent the week at DrupalCon 2016, an amazing experience gathering the passion and dedication of 3,000 attendees in New Orleans.

by Bret Otzenberger and Rob Huffstedtler

Acquia and the Drupal community have reinvented Drupal into as a modern-day experience management platform by creating Drupal 8.  We spent the week at DrupalCon 2016, an amazing experience gathering the passion and dedication of 3,000 attendees in New Orleans. The crowd was largely made up of people who “do Drupal” in one way or another —many of them code contributors who actually built features during sprints throughout the week. This amounts to a massive workforce all contributing to evolving Drupal’s features and capabilities faster than any software product we’ve seen. 

Here are ten reasons to consider Acquia and Drupal for your next digital customer experience:

1.  Acquia has created a feature-rich digital marketing platform with Drupal 8 at its core.  This combination of complementary products and services like Acquia Cloud Enterprise, Lift, Site Factory, and Content Hub allows you to deliver personalized experiences to your customers on any channel, all while maintaining the performance and security required in an increasingly connected world.

2. Creative freedom to build the experience your customers’ needs without having to consider the typical CMS technology limitations and constraints. It completely separates content, logic, and presentation, allowing you to create the design-rich and highly interactive experiences your customers demand.   

3.  Enterprise-ready architecture that appeals to the corporate Enterprise Architect. Drupal 8 was rebuilt from the ground up with a security-first mindset and using Object Oriented Programming and frameworks.

4.  Future-ready customer experience.  People have talked about multi-channel delivery for years.  It is finally becoming a reality with screens everywhere, and in some cases, no screens.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how we interact with brands on devices without screens.  Dries Buytaert (the founder of Drupal and Acquia CTO) played a demo at his keynote that showed how conversational interfaces can be used with Drupal 8 in a common consumer use case.  See the keynote video and jump to 43:55.  Additionally, he had other examples illustrating how Drupal 8 is used for content on the Tesla app, the in-flight systems on Lufthansa Airlines, and the kiosks for the New York MTA. 

5.  Reinvented editorial experience focused on easy authoring and layout. Prior to Drupal 8, the core Drupal authoring experience was more favorable to developers rather than content authors.  Drupal 8, especially using the Acquia Lightning distribution, changes that. Easy inline content editing and intuitive page layout tools are a good step toward the experience that authors and editors have come to expect. The community (including key commercial partners) have dramatically improved the rate of development for Drupal 8. Based on the specific set of initiatives that Dries identified for moving toward, what he calls an “outside-in” vision for the editorial experience, we will see an editorial experience that rivals or surpasses the Adobe experience. 

6. Standardized developer experience. The Acquia Cloud provides a Drupal-optimized hosting solution that is incredibly developer friendly.  Acquia Developer Workflow makes DevOps invisible and allows developers to focus on building great experiences with fast time-to-market.  Acquia Insight provides developers with all the information they need to keep the sites running safely and smoothly.  And, Acquia Cloud Support provides Drupal expertise for those times you need it most.  

7.  Enhanced quality assurance by leveraging a completely testable technology stack, which can be validated bug-free through automation.  This allows for higher quality and faster releases, ensuring that all audiences get to use new features sooner.  In an increasingly demanding market with rapidly changing technology, this will allow you to adjust to new trends and keep your customer experience more relevant.

8.   Native Multilingual capabilities.  In an ever-shrinking world, your online business is likely to require multiple languages.  Drupal 8 was built from the ground up with all parts of the platform to be used in multiple languages and allow for all text to be translatable.  In fact, you can install Drupal 8 without English at all.  It also allows you to easily manually translate all content or integrate with a Translation Management Service through its module ecosystem.

9.  A large community who can innovate and move fast supports Drupal.  According to Drupal.org, there are over 100,000 people across the world who contribute to the software development process of building Drupal.  It’ is hard to imagine how an organization this big can all march to the same beat.  What we witnessed at DrupalCon and see in Drupal 8 leads us to believe the Drupal community has found a way to work together to build a great product in spite of being big, globally dispersed, speaking different languages, and working across every time zone.  They have a visionary leader in Dries, they follow a code of conduct geared towards inclusiveness and maturity, and they are all in it to make Drupal great for the long haul.  It's a similar passion shown by early Mac and Linux adopters, and we all know where those technologies are now.

10.  And last but not least, Acquia Cloud with Drupal 8 at its core, is going to be a strong competitor against Adobe and Sitecore.  You can get a sense of this by reviewing Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and The Forrester Wave.  Acquia has been a rising star over the last few years and analysts are now aligning it competitively in the same quadrants as Adobe and Sitecore. We have worked with many CMS platforms ranging from open source to commercial, and from custom to enterprise.  Technology changes all of the time, but right now we see a new leader rising to the top.

Questions or comments? Email bret.otzenberger@icfolson.com