By Felipe Rubim
In the past few years, open source content management systems (OSCMS), like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress, have reached a level of quality and time-to-market that have resulted in a larger demand for these solutions by companies beyond the traditional digital startups. These software solutions can now keep up with the pace previously owned by only proprietary or in-house solutions, especially for enterprises. As with any software change, making the switch to an OSCMS should be done with full knowledge of the advantages and potential disadvantages.
First, what are some of the advantages that enterprises can experience by using an OSCMS?
- No licensing fee: Due to the open source nature of the software, the code is available for anyone to use, without a fee.
- Readily available support: Most open source projects have an army of developers readily available to assist users, and also constantly working to improve the platform.
- Faster time-to-market: Since an OSCMS project leverages several hundreds of companies using the platform, new implementations are quickly shared with the community. This includes thousands of pre-loaded components created by the community that can be used by enterprises, and the solution allows the flexibility to customize components for specialized use.
- Flexibility: With open source solutions, an enterprise can integrate the OSCMS with any other solution, without having to consider who created the code. While proprietary software companies often offer similar flexibility, non-open source solutions are typically pre-configured to work better with their whole proprietary software suite, where open source solutions can be integrated with other solutions regardless of vendor.
Now that some advantages have been identified, it’s also important to discuss the areas that organizations must to ensure they get the most out of an OSCMS:
- Support: While community support is readily available, enterprises must choose the right company with the correct skill set for their needs. There are many options, and choosing the right match requires additional research.
- Choosing the right updates: The OSCMS community will release new versions and enhancements, but in the end it’s up to the enterprise to plan their own roadmap and strategy so they know which enhancements are best for their use.
- Training: Since the OSCMS can be customized for individual enterprise use, each company will likely have to train new internal support teams so they know how to best use the solution to meet the organization’s goals.
We have seen OSCMS provide real benefits to our enterprise customers. As with any new project, it’s important to have put a plan in place so the organization can take full advantage of the benefits that an open source solution can provide. It’s also helpful to know that businesses don’t have to jump into this project alone. There are a lot of experts within the community who have worked with OSCMS before and can pull from this experience to provide guidance and best practices to help pick the best tool to meet the company’s unique business needs.