How Drupalcon helped us to improve
This Drupalcon in Barcelona was really special for us because we had so many touching points with the community and other businesses in the Drupal ecosystem. This Drupalcon really helped us to increase our Drupal8 knowledge but also our whole business. In this blog post I want to share how the community helped us to win more ideas to improve our business in the near future.
We went to Barcelona to get in personal contact with all the amazing people in the Drupal community. Talking to some contributors of ERPAL, we got lots of new ideas about how to make ERPAL Platform better, more flexible and focus on specific business use cases when building ERPAL for Drupal 8. Also we got some very valuable information on how to improve Drop Guard to automate the processing of Drupal updates with integration into individual development workflows.
Talking for example to Bojan of the commerce guys about how to make Drupal Commerce even more flexible and suitable for B2B projects in Drupal 8, we saw the power of personal connections of community members the bring new ideas to live. Thanks for the time to listen to our ideas. While maintaining ERPAL Platform since the last year as a Drupal distribution to build flexible business applications, we realized that it is not that easy to build distributions for concrete use cases that provide users the same flexibility that they know and expect from Drupal itself. There was also a full session about our experience when building Drupal distributions. The discussions after this session showed us that there is big interest in the Drupal Community to build niche products using Drupal distributions. Nevertheless there are many challenges to tackle which have been covered in our talk at Drupalcon. See the full session recorded below.
The new architecture of Drupal 8 gives us the chance to re-architecture ERPAL Platform to be laveraged by the flexibility of Drupal commerce and provide even more flexible features to manage business processes than today. To make this project become a success in Drupal 8 we want to cooperate closer with other project maintainers and use our network of contributers and Drupal passionate people to create a Drupal 8 distribution that is a solid and flexible base to build SaaS businesses based on Drupal. What makes the Drupal community special is both, the open software that people develop and many people having an open mind to solve real world problems with Drupal.
As we got more then 100 new people interested in joining our beta test group for Drop Guard and some onboardings already took place at Drupalcon, we saw the many different ways people build, operate and maintain their Drupal sites. This gave us the chance to make Drop Guard accessible for much more people by supporting drush make files, composer and submodules. Talking to some members of the Drupal.org security team we got the confirmation that a system like Drop Guard, to make the Drupal update process much easier, faster and more relyable can have a huge positive impact on the security of the Drupal ecosystem. Nevertheless we realized that some people are afraid of automated updates as they have concerns that the functionality of their sites will break. That's why we also had some productive meetings with hosting platforms such as Acquia Cloud, pantheon.io and platform.sh to discuss how an integration with hosting platforms and testing systems can reduce the risk of broken sites. I am looking forward to integrate Drop Guard with external services to let automated updates increase the security of the Drupal ecosystem.
Another thing we've learned is that the health of Drupal businesses depends on the release cycle of Drupal. Dries also mentioned this in his key note as many companies are waiting with their new project for the release of Drupal 8. What we realized is, that this Drupalcon had much less sponsors and less attendes compared to the last Drupalcon of Europe in Amsterdam 2014. This shows that Drupalcon is not only about community but also a lot about business. That's the reason why many Drupal shops try to get more independend of their project business by growing monthly recurring revenue. We realized that providing Drop Guard as a white label service for Drupal shops can help other business to start their way on the road of recurring revenue without huge investments. Selling update support is the most obvious service that produces recurring revenue and adds a real value to customers of Drupal development shops. You can watch the whole session about how to grow recurring revenue as a Drupal shop below.
Now we are excited to attend the next european Drupalcon in Dubline, hopefully to see Drupal 8 fully released at this time ;-)
If some of you couldn't attend Drupalcon and didn't have the chance to win a free Drop Guard procted site, you can attend our survey to join the free beta user group.