Web Experience Management in Drupal

One of the sessions I eagerly anticipated at this week’s DrupalCon was Acquia‘s Jay Batson speaking on “Assembling a Drupal Web Experience Management Powerhouse.”

Web Experience Management (sometimes also called Customer Experience Management, or Customer Engagement Management) is clearly one of the major trends in the Web CMS world in 2012. Major CMS platforms in the commercial space have begun to redefine themselves, shifting the conversation from CMS narrowly defined (getting content onto sites, managing the publication process) forward to include optimizing how effectively that managed content leads to business results. It’s no longer just about what your CMS can enable you to do, but how effective it can make your content in relation to business goals.

(I’ll be speaking at CMS Expo on “Busting Web Experience Management Myths” – trying to separate the vendor hype or marketing from the practical, hands-on leverage this way of thinking can provide).

Here’s the video of Jay’s talk, which is worth watching whether you’re a Drupal veteran or novice.



A couple of things I think are worth highlighting:

  • Success for Drupal as a platform has pushed it in to competition with not just WordPress and Joomla! but also with Sitecore, Squiz, Adobe CQ, and other commercial platforms. (Not coincidentally, many of the platforms pushing the WEM message)
  • It’s no longer enough to have functional coverage – to demonstrate that the platform can accomplish the basic tasks. Whatever it is, it can be built – but that’s just table stakes at this point.
  • Batson outlines a few areas where the Drupal platform doesn’t have a clear solution in core or in contrib, or at least no solution that clearly meets the WEM need. In many cases, Drupal has 90% of what is needed, but the community needs to define a reproducible approach: a distribution, a book of recipes for how modules work together, a set of features, etc.

Ultimately, the flexibility of Drupal as a content management platform and web application framework means that there’s nothing in the Web Experience Management space that can’t be built on Drupal, but the community has not anchored or focused on the opportunity.

I look forward to seeing how the Drupal Web Experience Management group grows.

Drupal’s strengths as a platform have to be combined with a consulting focus that aligns site features to business goals. That’s always been true, but compelling Web Experience Management approaches will only highlight this need.

About the Author

Formerly the Managing Director of Boston Connective DX office, John's passion for technology and the role of CMS are clear in his point of view.

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