Choosing the right Web Content Management System is a critically important step toward digital transformation. During the five years since its release, many enterprises have realized the benefits of Drupal 7 and open source software as a cost effective, flexible, and innovative way to maximize digital business results.
With the release of Drupal 8 today, those benefits now extend to Drupal as a platform, and its corresponding advantages increase exponentially.
Digitally mature companies out-perform their peers in innovation, agility and responsiveness to customers. The most effective digital organizations enjoy advantages in efficiency and effectiveness in product delivery, marketing, e-commerce, sales, and customer service. More importantly, companies that achieve digital excellence are 26 percent more profitable. Drupal 8 is a great platform to achieve those results.
So, how do we define Web Content Management (WCM), and what are Drupal 8’s advantages over other WCM systems?
Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, defines WCM as: “the process of controlling content to be consumed over one or more digital channels through the use of management software based on a core repository.” These may be commercial products, open-source, or hosted service offerings. WCM product functions go beyond simply publishing web pages.
Gartner already places Drupal 7 in the Visionary Leader category. With the inclusion of REST and Services in core alone, the ability to execute complex WCM applications propels Drupal’s features and functionality even further. Drupal 8 offers significant advantages in each of the WCM capability areas.
Drupal 8’s WCM Capabilities
Content creation functions, like templating, workflow, and change management
Drupal 8 authoring and theming systems have been completely refactored for ease-of-use and standards compliance. Real in-place editing and previewing is just one example. Content and revision workflows have been expanded and simplified with the inclusion of Views, and Drupal’s native query and display builder have been streamlined in core. This deep integration with Views in core enables site managers to build new content displays from existing templates using easier methods than ever before.
WCM repositories that contain content or metadata about the content
Everything is fieldable in Drupal 8, significantly improving data modeling. With output that conforms to Schema.org, your metadata will be properly formed and more search-friendly than ever before. This means native Drupal 8 asset management solutions will be smarter and easier to build, and connecting to third-party digital asset management applications will benefit from Drupal 8’s next-generation services. Why invest time and energy learning, maintaining, and paying for, multiple systems when you can focus on just one?
Library services, like check in/check out, version control, and security
Drupal 8’s core improvements and APIs make it easier to build custom functionality based on bi-directional data connections to manage and exchange content and create new custom functionality. Drupal 8’s Web Services features is key to connecting to external and building custom Integrated Library Services applications for libraries and corporate knowledge management programs.
Content deployment functions that deliver prepackaged or on-demand content to Web servers
Like its content creation functions, Drupal 8 content deployment has been completely refactored and improved. Beginning with mobile-first displays and responsive layouts, content can be deployed across platforms prepackaged for smartphone and tablet consumption. With expanded use of entities to manage content in the data layer and the inclusion of REST in core, a Drupal 8 backend can manage content and be completely decoupled from the front end and web applications. This allows Drupal 8 to serve data out to web servers in any number of formats quickly and securely. Migration functionality and configuration management improvements provide additional support in this area.
A high degree of interoperability with adjacent technologies
This includes things such as CRM, multichannel campaign management (MCCM), marketing resource management, digital asset management (DAM) and Web analytics.
Drupal 8’s API, REST, and external libraries like Guzzle make it an even stronger choice for integration with other enterprise technologies. Faster data connections, better handling of file formats, and metadata are just a few advantages. Drupal 8’s shift away from Drupal specific solutions toward embracing other best of breed open source technologies, such as Symfony, have significantly improved its already strong interoperability benefits.
Real-time adaptation to visitor interaction
Drupal 8 achieves this through a delivery engine, an enhanced framework for delivery applications, or similar. Some products also integrate well with delivery tiers such as e-commerce, social media and portal software.
Drupal 8 offers significantly stronger opportunities for real-time interaction across platforms beginning with its smarter data storage methods. Different types of data are now stored as separate entities. Data is better structured and each data type has its own dedicated API. Further supporting real-time visitor interaction is Drupal 8’s new configuration system, which keeps configuration settings out of the data layer and makes for faster and more flexible caching.