Drupal

OhTheHugeManatee: I'm Joining Microsoft, Because They're Doing Open Source Right

Planet Drupal - 8 January 2018 - 11:32am

I’m excited to announce that I’ve signed with Microsoft as a Principal Software Engineering Manager. I’m joining Microsoft because they are doing enterprise Open Source the Right Way, and I want to be a part of it. This is a sentence that I never believed I would write or say, so I want to explain.

First I have to acknowledge the history. I co-founded my first tech company just as the Halloween documents were leaked. That’s where the world learned that Microsoft considered Open Source (and Linux in particular) a threat, and was intentionally spreading FUD as a strategic counter. It was also the origin of their famous Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish strategy. The Microsoft approach to Open Source only got more aggressive from there, funneling money to SCO’s lawsuits against Linux and its users, calling OSS licensing a “cancer”, and accusing Linux of violating MS intellectual property.

I don’t need to get exhaustive about this to make my point: for the first decade of my career (or more), Microsoft was rightly perceived as a villain in the OSS world. They did real damage and disservice to the open source movement, and ultimately to their own customers. Five years ago I wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of working for “the evil empire.”

Yes, Microsoft has made nice movements towards open source since the new CEO (Satya Nadella) took over in 2014. They open sourced .NET and Visual Studio, they released Typescript, they joined the Linux Foundation and went platinum with the Open Source Initiative, but come on. I’m an open source warrior, an evangelist, and developer. I could see through the bullshit. Even when Microsoft announced the Linux subsystem on Windows, I was certain that this was just another round of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Then I met Josh Holmes at the Dutch PHP Conference.

First of all, I was shocked to meet a Microsoft representative at an open source conference. He didn’t even have bodyguards. I remember my first question for him was “What are you doing here?”.

Josh told me a story about visiting startup conferences in Silicon Valley on behalf of Microsoft in 2007, and reporting back to Ballmer’s office:

“The good news is, no one is making jokes about Microsoft anymore. The bad news is, they aren’t even making jokes about Microsoft anymore.”

For Josh, this was a big “aha” moment. The booming tech startup space was focused on Open Source, so if Microsoft wanted to survive there, they had to come to the table.

That revelation led to the creation of the Microsoft Partner Catalyst Team. Here’s Josh’s explanation of the team and its job, from an interview at the time I met him:

“We work with a lot of startups, at the very top edge of the enterprise mix. We look at their toughest problems, and we go solve those problems with open source. We’ve got 70 engineers and architects, and we go work with the startups hand in hand. We’ll sit down for a little pair programming with them, sometimes it will be a large enough problem that will take it off on our own and we’ll work on it for a while, and we’ll come back and give them the code. Everything that we do ends up in Github under typically an MIT or Apache license if it’s original work that we’re doing on our own, or a lot of times we’re actually working within other open source projects.”

Meeting with Josh was a turning point for my understanding of Microsoft. This wasn’t just something that I could begrudgingly call “OK for open source”. This wasn’t just lip service. This was a whole department of people that were doing exactly what I believe in. Not only did I like the sound of this; I found that I actually wanted to work with this group.

Still, when I considered interviewing with Microsoft, I knew that my first question had to be about “Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish”. Josh is a nice guy, and very smart, but I wasn’t going to let the wool be pulled over my eyes.

Over the next months, I would speak with five different people doing exactly this kind of work at Microsoft. I I did my research, I plumbed all my back-channel resources for dirt. And everything I came back with said I was wrong.

Microsoft really is undergoing a fundamental shift towards Open Source.

CEO Sadya Nadella is frank that closed-source licensing as a profit model is a dead-end. Since 2014, Microsoft has been transitioning their core business from licensed software to platform services. After all, why sell a license once, when you can rent it out monthly? So they move all the licensed products they can online, and rent, instead of selling them. Then they rent out the infrastructure itself, too – hence Azure. Suddenly flexibility is at a premium. As one CTO put it, for Azure to be Windows-only would be a liability.

This shift is old news for most of the world. As much as the Hacker News crowd still bitches about it as FUD, this strategic direction has been in and out of the financial pages for years now. Microsoft has pivoted to platform services. Look at their profits by product over the last 8 years:

The trend is obvious: server and platform services are the place to invest. Office only remains at the top of the heap because it transitioned to SaaS. Even Windows license profits are declining. This means focusing on interoperability. Make sure everything can run on your platform, because anything else is to handicap the source of your biggest short- and medium-term profit. In fact, remaining adversarial to Open Source would kill the golden goose. Microsoft has to change its values in order to make this shift.

So much for financial and strategic direction; but this is a hundred-thousand-person company. That ship doesn’t turn on a dime, no matter what the press releases tell you. So my second interview question became “How is the transition going?” This sort of question makes people uncomfortable: the answer is either transparently unrealistic, or critical of your environment and colleagues. Over and over again, I heard the right answer: It’s freakin’ hard.

MS has more than 40 years of proprietary development experience and institutional momentum. All of their culture and systems – from hiring, to code reviews, to legal authorizations – have been organized around that model. That’s very hard to change! I heard horror stories about the beginning of the transition, having to pass every line of contribution past the Legal department. I heard about managers feeling lost, or losing a sense of authority over their own team. I heard about development teams struggling to understand that their place in an OSS project was on par with some Rando Calrissian contributor from Kansas. And I heard about how the company was helping people with the transition, changing systems and structures to make this cultural shift happen.

The stories I heard were important evidence, which contradicted the old narrative I had in my head. Embrace, extend, extinguish does not involve leadership challenges, or breaking down of hierarchies. It does not involve personal struggle and departmental reorganization. The stories I heard evidenced an organization trying a real paradigm shift, for tens of thousands of people around the world. It is not perfect, and it is not finished, but I believe that the transition is real.

When you accept that Microsoft is trying to reorient its own culture to Open Source, suddenly all those “transparent” PR moves you dismissed get re-framed. They are accomplishments. It’s incredibly difficult to change the culture of one of the biggest companies in the world… but today, almost half of Azure users run Linux. Microsoft’s virtualization work made them the fifth largest contributor to the 3.x Linux kernel. Microsoft maintains the biggest project on Github (by contributor count). They maintain a BSD distribution and a Linux distribution. And a huge part of LXD (the container-based virtualization system for Linux) comes from Microsoft’s work with Canonical.

That’s impressive for any company. But Microsoft? It boggles the mind. This level of contribution is not lip-service. You don’t maintain a 15 thousand person community just for PR. Microsoft is contributing as much or more to open source than many other major players, who have had this in their culture from the start (Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…). It’s an accomplishment, and it’s impressive!

In the group I’m entering, a strong commitment to Open Source is built into the project structure, the team responsibilities, and the budgeting practice. Every project has time specifically set aside for contribution; developers’ connections to their communities are respected and encouraged. After a decade of working with companies who try to engage with open source responsibly, I can say that this is the strongest institutional commitment to “giving back” that I have ever seen. It’s a stronger support for contribution than I’ve ever been able to offer in any of my roles, from sole proprietor to CTO.

This does mean a lot more work outside of the Drupal world, though. I will still attend Drupalcons. I will still give technical talks, participate, and help make great open source communities for Drupal and other OSS projects. If anything, I will do those things more. And I will do them wearing a Microsoft shirt.

Microsoft is making a genuine, and enormous, push to being open source community members and leaders. From everything I’ve seen, they are doing it extremely well. From the outside at least, this is what it looks like to do enterprise Open Source The Right Way.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Console: Drupal Console 1.4.0

Planet Drupal - 8 January 2018 - 10:30am

Drupal Console 1.4.0 is out. The newest release contains several bug fixes, one new command, and one compatibility break related to chain command's placeholder definition.

Categories: Drupal

DrupalEasy: DrupalEasy Podcast 202 - Matt Glaman - Drupal 8 Development Cookbook Second Edition, Drupal Commerce

Planet Drupal - 8 January 2018 - 5:55am

Direct .mp3 file download.

Matt Glaman, (mglaman), Senior Drupal Consultant for Commerce Guys joins Mike Anello to discuss his book, Drupal 8 Development Cookbook, Second Edition as well as provide an update to Drupal Commerce in Drupal 8.

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Categories: Drupal

Dries Buytaert: Acquia retrospective 2017

Planet Drupal - 8 January 2018 - 2:45am
The entrance to Acquia's headquarters in Boston.

For the past nine years, I've sat down every January to write an Acquia retrospective. It's always a rewarding blog post to write as it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what Acquia has accomplished over the past 12 months. If you'd like to read my previous annual retrospectives, they can be found here: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. When read together, they provide insight to what has shaped Acquia into the company it is today.

This year's retrospective is especially meaningful because 2017 marked Acquia's 10th year as a company. Over the course of Acquia's first decade, our long-term investment in open source and cloud has made us the leader in web content management. 2017 was one of our most transformative years to date; not only did we have to manage leadership changes, but we also broadened our horizons beyond website management to data-driven customer journeys.

The next phase of Acquia leadership Tom Erickson joined Acquia as CEO in 2009 and worked side-by-side with me for the next eight years.

In my first retrospective from 2009, I shared that Jay Batson and I had asked Tom Erickson to come aboard as Acquia's new CEO. For the next eight years, Tom and I worked side-by-side to build and grow Acquia. Tom's expertise in taking young companies to the next level was a natural complement to my technical strength. His leadership was an example that enabled me to develop my own business building skills. When Tom announced last spring that he would be stepping down as Acquia's CEO, I assumed more responsibility to help guide the company through the transition. My priorities for 2017 were centered around three objectives: (1) the search for a new CEO, (2) expanding our product strategy through a stronger focus on innovation, and (3) running our operations more efficiently.

The search for a new CEO consumed a great deal of my time in 2017. After screening over 140 candidates and interviewing ten of them in-depth, we asked Mike Sullivan to join Acquia as CEO. Mike has been on the job for three weeks and I couldn't be more excited.

Mike Sullivan joins Acquia as CEO with 25 years of senior leadership in SaaS, enterprise content management and content governance.
Market trends

I see three major market trends that I believe are important to highlight and that help inform our strategy.

Trend #1: Customers are driven by time-to-value and low cost of maintenance

Time-to-value and low maintenance costs are emerging as two of the most important differentiators in the market. This is consistent with a post I wrote eleven years ago, in regards to The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems. The principle states that given two functionally equivalent content management systems, the simplest one should be selected. Across both the low and the high ends of the market, time-to-value and total cost of ownership matter a great deal. Simplicity wins.

In the low end of the market simple sites, such as single blogs and brochure sites, are now best served by SaaS tools such as Squarespace and Wix. Over the past five years, SaaS solutions have been rising in prominence because their templated approach to simple site building makes them very easy to use. The total cost of ownership is also low as users don't have to update and maintain the software and infrastructure themselves. Today, I believe that Drupal is no longer ideal for most simple sites and instead is best suited for more ambitious use cases. Not everyone likes that statement, but I believe it to be true.

In the mid-market, SaaS tools don't offer the flexibility and customizability required to support sites with more complexity. Often mid-market companies need more customizable solutions like Drupal or WordPress. Time-to-value and total maintenance costs still matter; people don't want to spend a lot of time installing or upgrading their websites. Within the scope of Ockham's Razor Principle, WordPress does better than Drupal in this regard. WordPress is growing faster than Drupal for websites with medium complexity because ease of use and maintenance often precede functionality. However, when superior flexibility and architecture are critical to the success of building a site, Drupal will be selected.

In the enterprise, a growing emphasis on time-to-value means that customers are less interested in boil-the-ocean projects that cost hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Customers still want to do large and ambitious projects, but they want to start small, see results quickly, and measure their ROI every step along the way. Open source and cloud provide this agility by reducing time-to-market, cost and risk. This establishes a competitive advantage for Acquia compared to traditional enterprise vendors like Adobe and Sitecore.

At Acquia, understanding how we can make our products easier to use by enhancing self-service and reducing complexity will be a major focus of 2018. For Drupal, it means we have to stay focused on the initiatives that will improve usability and time to value. In addition to adopting a JavaScript framework in core to facilitate the building of a better administration experience, work needs to continue on Workspaces (content staging), Layout Builder (drag-and-drop blocks), and the Media, Outside-in and Out-of-the-box initiatives. Finally, I anticipate that a Drupal initiative around automated upgrades will kick off in 2018. I'm proud to say that Acquia has been a prominent contributor to many of these initiatives, by either sponsoring developers, contributing code, or providing development support and coordination.

Trend #2: Frictionless user experiences require greater platform complexity

For the past ten years, I've observed one significant factor that continues to influence the trajectory of digital: the internet's continuous drive to mitigate friction in user experience and business models. The history of the web dictates that lower-friction solutions will surpass what came before them because they eliminate inefficiencies from the customer experience.

This not only applies to how technology is adopted, but how customer experiences are created. Mirroring Ockham's Razor Principle, end users and consumers also crave simplicity. End users are choosing to build relationships with brands that guarantee contextual, personalized and frictionless interactions. However, simplicity for end users does not translate into simplicity for CMS owners. Organizations need to be able to manage more data, channels and integrations to deliver the engaging experiences that end users now expect. This desire on the part of end users creates greater platform complexity for CMS owners.

For example, cross-channel experiences are starting to remove certain inefficiencies around traditional websites. In order to optimize the customer experience, enterprise vendors must now expand their digital capabilities beyond web content management and invest in both systems of engagement (various front-end solutions such as conversational interfaces, chatbots, and AR/VR) and systems of intelligence (marketing tools for personalization and predictive analytics).

This year, Acquia Labs built a demo to explore how augmented reality can improve shopping experiences.

These trends give organizations the opportunity to reimagine their customer experience. By taking advantage of more channels and more data (e.g. being more intelligent, personalized, and contextualized), we can leapfrog existing customer experiences. However, these ambitious experiences require a platform that prioritizes customization and functionality.

Trend #3: The decoupled CMS market is taking the world by storm

In the web development world, few trends are spreading more rapidly than decoupled content management systems. The momentum is staggering as some decoupled CMS vendors are growing at a rate of 150% year over year. This trend has a significant influence on the technology landscape surrounding Drupal, as a growing number of Drupal agencies have also started using modern JavaScript technologies. For example, more than 50% of Drupal agencies are also using Node.js to support the needs of their customers.

The Drupal community's emphasis on making Drupal API-first, in addition to supporting tools such as Waterwheel and Drupal distributions such as Reservoir, Contenta and Lightning, means that Drupal 8 is well-prepared to support decoupled CMS strategies. For years, including in 2017, Acquia has been a very prominent contributor to a variety of API-first initiatives.

Product milestones

In addition to my focus on finding a new CEO, driving innovation to expand our product offering was another primary focus in 2017.

Throughout Acquia's first decade, we've been focused primarily on providing our customers with the tools and services necessary to scale and succeed with Drupal. We've been very successful with this mission. However, many of our customers need more than content management to be digital winners. The ability to orchestrate customer experiences across different channels is increasingly important to our customers' success. We need to be able to support these efforts on the Acquia platform.

We kicked off our new product strategy by adding new products to our portfolio, and by extending our existing products with new capabilities that align with our customers' evolving needs.

  • Acquia Cloud: A "continuous integration" and "continuous delivery" service for developers was our #1 requested feature, so we delivered Acquia Cloud CD early in 2017. Later in the year, we expanded Acquia Cloud to support Node.js, the popular open-source JavaScript runtime. This was the first time we expanded our cloud beyond Drupal. Previously, if an organization wanted to build a decoupled Drupal architecture with Node.js, it was not able to host the Node.js application on Acquia Cloud. Finally, in order to make Acquia Cloud easier to use, we started to focus more on self-service. We saw rapid customer adoption of our new Stack Metrics feature, which gives customers valuable insight into performance and utilization. We also introduced a new Cloud Service Management model, which empowers our customer to scale their Acquia Cloud infrastructure on the fly.
  • Acquia Lift: In order to best support our customers as they embed personalization into their digital strategies, we have continued to add product enhancements to the new version of Acquia Lift. This included improving Acquia Lift's content authoring capabilities, enhanced content recommendations, and advanced analytics and reporting. The Acquia Lift team grew, as we also founded a machine learning and artificial intelligence team, which will lead to new features and products in 2018. In 2017, Acquia Lift has added over 200 new features, tracks 200% more profiles than in 2016, and has grown 45% in revenue.

Next, we added two new products to support our evolution from content management to data-driven customer journeys: Acquia Journey and Acquia Digital Asset Manager (DAM).

  • Acquia Journey allows marketers to easily map, assemble, orchestrate and manage customer experiences across different channels. One of the strengths of Acquia Journey is that it allows technical teams to integrate many different technologies, from marketing and advertising technologies to CRM tools and commerce platforms. Acquia Journey unifies these various interaction points within a single user interface, making it possible to quickly assemble powerful and complex customer journeys. In turn, marketers can take advantage of a flowchart-style journey mapping tool with unified customer profiles and an automated decision engine to determine the best-next action for engaging customers.
  • Acquia DAM: Many organizations lack a single-source of truth when it comes to managing digital assets. This challenge has been amplified as the number of assets has rapidly increased in a world with more devices, more channels, more campaigns, and more personalized and contextualized experiences In addition to journey orchestration, it became clear that large organizations are seeking a digital asset management solution that centralizes control of creative assets for the entire company. With Acquia DAM, our customers can rely on one dedicated application to gather requirements, share drafts, consolidate feedback and collect approvals for high-value marketing assets.

Acquia's new product strategy is very ambitious. I'm proud of our stronger focus on innovation and the new features and products that we launched in 2017. Launching this many products and features is hard work and requires tactical coordination across every part of the company. The transition from a single-product company to a multi-product company is challenging, and I hope to share more lessons learned in future blog posts.

While each new product we announced was well-received, there is still a lot of work to be done: we need to continue to drive end-user demand for our new products and help our digital agency partners build practices around them.

Leading by example

At Acquia, our mission is to deliver "the universal platform for the greatest digital experiences", and we want to lead by example. In an effort to become a thought-leader in our field, the Office of the CTO launched Acquia Labs, our research and innovation lab. Acquia Labs aims to link together the new realities in our market, our customers' needs in coming years, and the goals of Acquia's products and open-source efforts in the long term.

Finally, we rounded out the year by redesigning Acquia.com on Drupal 8. The new site places a greater emphasis on taking advantage of our own products. We wanted to show (not tell) the power of the Acquia platform. For example, Acquia Lift delivers visitors personalized content throughout the site. The new site represents a bolder and more innovative Acquia, aligned with the evolution of our product strategy.

Business momentum

We continued to grow at a steady pace in 2017. We focused on the growth of our recurring revenue, which includes new customers and the renewal and expansion of our work with existing customers. We also focused on our bottom line.

In 2017, the top industry analysts published very positive reviews based on their independent research. I'm proud that Acquia was recognized by Forrester Research as the leader for strategy and vision, ahead of every other vendor including Adobe and Sitecore, in The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017. Acquia was also named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, marking our placement as a leader for the fourth year in a row. In addition to being the only leader that is open-source or has a cloud-first strategy, Acquia was hailed by analysts for our investments in open APIs across all our products.

Over the course of 2017 Acquia welcomed an impressive roster of new customers who included Astella Pharma, Glanbia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Bayer GmbH. As we enter 2018, Acquia can count 26 of the Fortune 100 among its customers.

This year was also an incredible growth period for our Asia Pacific business, which is growing ARR at a rate of 82% year over year. We have secured new business in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and India. When we started our business in Australia in 2012, 70% of the pipeline came from govCMS, the platform offered by the Australian government to all national, territorial and local agencies. Today, our business is much more diverse, with 50% of the region's pipeline coming from outside of Australia.

Jeannie Finks, Director of Global Support Systems & Programs, accepting a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year. Go team Acquia!

Customer success continues to be the most important driver of the evolution of Acquia's strategy. This commitment was reflected in 2017 customer satisfaction levels, which remains extremely high at 94 percent. Acquia's global support team also received top honors from the American Business Awards and won a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year.

This year, we also saw our annual customer conference, Acquia Engage, grow. We welcomed over 650 people to Boston and saw presentations from over twenty customers, including Johnson & Johnson, NBC Sports, Whole Foods, AMD, the YMCA and many more. It was inspiring to hear our customers explain why Acquia and Drupal are essential to their business.

Finally, our partner ecosystem continues to advance. In 2016, we achieved a significant milestone as numerous global systems integrators repeatedly recommended Acquia to their clients. One year later, these partners are building large centers of excellence to scale their Acquia and Drupal practices. Digital agencies and Drupal companies also continue to extend their investments in Acquia, and are excited about the opportunity presented in our expanded product portfolio. In some markets, over 50 percent of our new subscriptions originate from our partner ecosystem.

The growth and performance of the partner community is validation of our strategy. For example, in 2017 we saw multiple agencies and integrators that were entirely committed to Adobe or Sitecore, join our program and begin to do business with us.

Opportunities for Acquia in 2018

When thinking about how Acquia has evolved its product strategy, I like to consider it in terms of Greylocks' Jerry Chen's take on the stack of enterprise systems. I've modified his thesis to fit the context of Acquia and our long-term strategy to help organizations with their digital transformation.

Chen's thesis begins with "systems of record", which are sticky and defensible not only because of their data, but also based on the core business process they own. Jerry identifies three major systems of record today; your customers, your employees and your assets. CRM owns your customers (i.e. Salesforce), HCM owns your employees (i.e. Workday), and ERP/Financials owns your assets. Other applications can be built around a system of record but are usually not as valuable as the actual system of record. For example, marketing automation companies like Marketo and Responsys built big businesses around CRM, but never became as strategic or as valuable as Salesforce. We call these "secondary systems of record". We believe that a "content repository" (API-first Drupal) and a "user profile repository" (Acquia Lift) are secondary systems of record. We will continue our efforts to improve Drupal's content repository and Lift's user profile repository to become stronger systems of record.

"Systems of engagement" are the interface between users and the systems of record. They control the end-user interactions. Drupal and Lift are great examples of systems of engagement as they allow for the rapid creation of end-user experiences.

Jerry Chen further suggests that "systems of intelligence" will be a third component. Systems of intelligence will be of critical importance for determining the optimal customer journey across various applications. Personalization (Acquia Lift), recommendations (Acquia Lift) and customer journey building (Acquia Journey) are systems of intelligence. They are very important initiatives for our future.

While Chen does not include "systems of delivery" in his thesis, I believe it is an important component. Systems of delivery not only dictate how content is delivered to users, but how organizations build projects faster and more efficiently for their stakeholders and users. This includes multi-site management (Acquia Cloud Site Factory) and continuous delivery services (Acquia Cloud CD), which extend the benefits of PaaS beyond scalability and reliability to include high-productivity and faster time-to-value for our customers. As organizations increase their investments in cross-channel experiences, they must manage more complexity and orchestrate the testing, integration and deployment of different technologies. Systems of delivery, such as Acquia Cloud and Acquia Site Factory, remove complexity from building modern digital experiences.

This is all consistent with the diagram I've been using for a few years now where "user profile" and "content repository" represent two systems of record, getBestNextExperience() is the system of intelligence, and Drupal is the system of engagement to build the customer experience:

We are confident in the market shift towards "intelligent connected experiences" or "data-driven customer journeys" and the opportunity it provides to Acquia. Every team at Acquia has demonstrated both commitment and focus as we have initiated a shift to make our vision relevant in the market for years to come. I believe we have strong investments across systems of record, intelligence, delivery and engagement that will continue to put us at the center of our customers' technology and digital strategies in 2027.

Thank you

Of course, none of these 2017 results and milestones would be possible without the hard work of the Acquia team, our customers, partners, the Drupal community, and our many friends. Thank you for your support in 2017 and over the past ten years – I can't wait to see what the next decade will bring!

Categories: Drupal

Acquia retrospective 2017

Dries Buytaert - 8 January 2018 - 2:45am
The entrance to Acquia's headquarters in Boston.

For the past nine years, I've sat down every January to write an Acquia retrospective. It's always a rewarding blog post to write as it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what Acquia has accomplished over the past 12 months. If you'd like to read my previous annual retrospectives, they can be found here: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. When read together, they provide insight to what has shaped Acquia into the company it is today.

This year's retrospective is especially meaningful because 2017 marked Acquia's 10th year as a company. Over the course of Acquia's first decade, our long-term investment in open source and cloud has made us the leader in web content management. 2017 was one of our most transformative years to date; not only did we have to manage leadership changes, but we also broadened our horizons beyond website management to data-driven customer journeys.

The next phase of Acquia leadership Tom Erickson joined Acquia as CEO in 2009 and worked side-by-side with me for the next eight years.

In my first retrospective from 2009, I shared that Jay Batson and I had asked Tom Erickson to come aboard as Acquia's new CEO. For the next eight years, Tom and I worked side-by-side to build and grow Acquia. Tom's expertise in taking young companies to the next level was a natural complement to my technical strength. His leadership was an example that enabled me to develop my own business building skills. When Tom announced last spring that he would be stepping down as Acquia's CEO, I assumed more responsibility to help guide the company through the transition. My priorities for 2017 were centered around three objectives: (1) the search for a new CEO, (2) expanding our product strategy through a stronger focus on innovation, and (3) running our operations more efficiently.

The search for a new CEO consumed a great deal of my time in 2017. After screening over 140 candidates and interviewing ten of them in-depth, we asked Mike Sullivan to join Acquia as CEO. Mike has been on the job for three weeks and I couldn't be more excited.

Mike Sullivan joins Acquia as CEO with 25 years of senior leadership in SaaS, enterprise content management and content governance.
Market trends

I see three major market trends that I believe are important to highlight and that help inform our strategy.

Trend #1: Customers are driven by time-to-value and low cost of maintenance

Time-to-value and low maintenance costs are emerging as two of the most important differentiators in the market. This is consistent with a post I wrote eleven years ago, in regards to The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems. The principle states that given two functionally equivalent content management systems, the simplest one should be selected. Across both the low and the high ends of the market, time-to-value and total cost of ownership matter a great deal. Simplicity wins.

In the low end of the market simple sites, such as single blogs and brochure sites, are now best served by SaaS tools such as Squarespace and Wix. Over the past five years, SaaS solutions have been rising in prominence because their templated approach to simple site building makes them very easy to use. The total cost of ownership is also low as users don't have to update and maintain the software and infrastructure themselves. Today, I believe that Drupal is no longer ideal for most simple sites and instead is best suited for more ambitious use cases. Not everyone likes that statement, but I believe it to be true.

In the mid-market, SaaS tools don't offer the flexibility and customizability required to support sites with more complexity. Often mid-market companies need more customizable solutions like Drupal or WordPress. Time-to-value and total maintenance costs still matter; people don't want to spend a lot of time installing or upgrading their websites. Within the scope of Ockham's Razor Principle, WordPress does better than Drupal in this regard. WordPress is growing faster than Drupal for websites with medium complexity because ease of use and maintenance often precede functionality. However, when superior flexibility and architecture are critical to the success of building a site, Drupal will be selected.

In the enterprise, a growing emphasis on time-to-value means that customers are less interested in boil-the-ocean projects that cost hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Customers still want to do large and ambitious projects, but they want to start small, see results quickly, and measure their ROI every step along the way. Open source and cloud provide this agility by reducing time-to-market, cost and risk. This establishes a competitive advantage for Acquia compared to traditional enterprise vendors like Adobe and Sitecore.

At Acquia, understanding how we can make our products easier to use by enhancing self-service and reducing complexity will be a major focus of 2018. For Drupal, it means we have to stay focused on the initiatives that will improve usability and time to value. In addition to adopting a JavaScript framework in core to facilitate the building of a better administration experience, work needs to continue on Workspaces (content staging), Layout Builder (drag-and-drop blocks), and the Media, Outside-in and Out-of-the-box initiatives. Finally, I anticipate that a Drupal initiative around automated upgrades will kick off in 2018. I'm proud to say that Acquia has been a prominent contributor to many of these initiatives, by either sponsoring developers, contributing code, or providing development support and coordination.

Trend #2: Frictionless user experiences require greater platform complexity

For the past ten years, I've observed one significant factor that continues to influence the trajectory of digital: the internet's continuous drive to mitigate friction in user experience and business models. The history of the web dictates that lower-friction solutions will surpass what came before them because they eliminate inefficiencies from the customer experience.

This not only applies to how technology is adopted, but how customer experiences are created. Mirroring Ockham's Razor Principle, end users and consumers also crave simplicity. End users are choosing to build relationships with brands that guarantee contextual, personalized and frictionless interactions. However, simplicity for end users does not translate into simplicity for CMS owners. Organizations need to be able to manage more data, channels and integrations to deliver the engaging experiences that end users now expect. This desire on the part of end users creates greater platform complexity for CMS owners.

For example, cross-channel experiences are starting to remove certain inefficiencies around traditional websites. In order to optimize the customer experience, enterprise vendors must now expand their digital capabilities beyond web content management and invest in both systems of engagement (various front-end solutions such as conversational interfaces, chatbots, and AR/VR) and systems of intelligence (marketing tools for personalization and predictive analytics).

This year, Acquia Labs built a demo to explore how augmented reality can improve shopping experiences.

These trends give organizations the opportunity to reimagine their customer experience. By taking advantage of more channels and more data (e.g. being more intelligent, personalized, and contextualized), we can leapfrog existing customer experiences. However, these ambitious experiences require a platform that prioritizes customization and functionality.

Trend #3: The decoupled CMS market is taking the world by storm

In the web development world, few trends are spreading more rapidly than decoupled content management systems. The momentum is staggering as some decoupled CMS vendors are growing at a rate of 150% year over year. This trend has a significant influence on the technology landscape surrounding Drupal, as a growing number of Drupal agencies have also started using modern JavaScript technologies. For example, more than 50% of Drupal agencies are also using Node.js to support the needs of their customers.

The Drupal community's emphasis on making Drupal API-first, in addition to supporting tools such as Waterwheel and Drupal distributions such as Reservoir, Contenta and Lightning, means that Drupal 8 is well-prepared to support decoupled CMS strategies. For years, including in 2017, Acquia has been a very prominent contributor to a variety of API-first initiatives.

Product milestones

In addition to my focus on finding a new CEO, driving innovation to expand our product offering was another primary focus in 2017.

Throughout Acquia's first decade, we've been focused primarily on providing our customers with the tools and services necessary to scale and succeed with Drupal. We've been very successful with this mission. However, many of our customers need more than content management to be digital winners. The ability to orchestrate customer experiences across different channels is increasingly important to our customers' success. We need to be able to support these efforts on the Acquia platform.

We kicked off our new product strategy by adding new products to our portfolio, and by extending our existing products with new capabilities that align with our customers' evolving needs.

  • Acquia Cloud: A "continuous integration" and "continuous delivery" service for developers was our #1 requested feature, so we delivered Acquia Cloud CD early in 2017. Later in the year, we expanded Acquia Cloud to support Node.js, the popular open-source JavaScript runtime. This was the first time we expanded our cloud beyond Drupal. Previously, if an organization wanted to build a decoupled Drupal architecture with Node.js, it was not able to host the Node.js application on Acquia Cloud. Finally, in order to make Acquia Cloud easier to use, we started to focus more on self-service. We saw rapid customer adoption of our new Stack Metrics feature, which gives customers valuable insight into performance and utilization. We also introduced a new Cloud Service Management model, which empowers our customer to scale their Acquia Cloud infrastructure on the fly.
  • Acquia Lift: In order to best support our customers as they embed personalization into their digital strategies, we have continued to add product enhancements to the new version of Acquia Lift. This included improving Acquia Lift's content authoring capabilities, enhanced content recommendations, and advanced analytics and reporting. The Acquia Lift team grew, as we also founded a machine learning and artificial intelligence team, which will lead to new features and products in 2018. In 2017, Acquia Lift has added over 200 new features, tracks 200% more profiles than in 2016, and has grown 45% in revenue.

Next, we added two new products to support our evolution from content management to data-driven customer journeys: Acquia Journey and Acquia Digital Asset Manager (DAM).

  • Acquia Journey allows marketers to easily map, assemble, orchestrate and manage customer experiences across different channels. One of the strengths of Acquia Journey is that it allows technical teams to integrate many different technologies, from marketing and advertising technologies to CRM tools and commerce platforms. Acquia Journey unifies these various interaction points within a single user interface, making it possible to quickly assemble powerful and complex customer journeys. In turn, marketers can take advantage of a flowchart-style journey mapping tool with unified customer profiles and an automated decision engine to determine the best-next action for engaging customers.
  • Acquia DAM: Many organizations lack a single-source of truth when it comes to managing digital assets. This challenge has been amplified as the number of assets has rapidly increased in a world with more devices, more channels, more campaigns, and more personalized and contextualized experiences In addition to journey orchestration, it became clear that large organizations are seeking a digital asset management solution that centralizes control of creative assets for the entire company. With Acquia DAM, our customers can rely on one dedicated application to gather requirements, share drafts, consolidate feedback and collect approvals for high-value marketing assets.

Acquia's new product strategy is very ambitious. I'm proud of our stronger focus on innovation and the new features and products that we launched in 2017. Launching this many products and features is hard work and requires tactical coordination across every part of the company. The transition from a single-product company to a multi-product company is challenging, and I hope to share more lessons learned in future blog posts.


While each new product we announced was well-received, there is still a lot of work to be done: we need to continue to drive end-user demand for our new products and help our digital agency partners build practices around them.

Leading by example

At Acquia, our mission is to deliver "the universal platform for the greatest digital experiences", and we want to lead by example. In an effort to become a thought-leader in our field, the Office of the CTO launched Acquia Labs, our research and innovation lab. Acquia Labs aims to link together the new realities in our market, our customers' needs in coming years, and the goals of Acquia's products and open-source efforts in the long term.

Finally, we rounded out the year by redesigning Acquia.com on Drupal 8. The new site places a greater emphasis on taking advantage of our own products. We wanted to show (not tell) the power of the Acquia platform. For example, Acquia Lift delivers visitors personalized content throughout the site. The new site represents a bolder and more innovative Acquia, aligned with the evolution of our product strategy.

Business momentum

We continued to grow at a steady pace in 2017 and hired a lot of new people. We focused on the growth of our recurring revenue, which includes new customers and the renewal and expansion of our work with existing customers. We also focused on our bottom line.

In 2017, the top industry analysts published very positive reviews based on their independent research. I'm proud that Acquia was recognized by Forrester Research as the leader for strategy and vision, ahead of every other vendor including Adobe and Sitecore, in The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017. Acquia was also named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, marking our placement as a leader for the fourth year in a row. In addition to being the only leader that is open-source or has a cloud-first strategy, Acquia was hailed by analysts for our investments in open APIs across all our products.

Over the course of 2017 Acquia welcomed an impressive roster of new customers who included Astella Pharma, Glanbia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Bayer GmbH. As we enter 2018, Acquia can count 26 of the Fortune 100 among its customers, up from 16 at the beginning of 2017.

This year was also an incredible growth period for our Asia Pacific business, which is growing ARR at a rate of 80% year over year. We have secured new business in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and India. When we started our business in Australia in 2012, 70% of the pipeline came from govCMS, the platform offered by the Australian government to all national, territorial and local agencies. Today, our business is much more diverse, with 50% of the region's pipeline coming from outside of Australia.

Jeannie Finks, Director of Global Support Systems & Programs, accepting a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year. Go team Acquia!

Customer success continues to be the most important driver of the evolution of Acquia's strategy. This commitment was reflected in 2017 customer satisfaction levels, which remains extremely high at 94 percent. Acquia's global support team also received top honors from the American Business Awards and won a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year.

This year, we also saw our annual customer conference, Acquia Engage, grow. We welcomed over 650 people to Boston and saw presentations from over twenty customers, including Johnson & Johnson, NBC Sports, Whole Foods, AMD, the YMCA and many more. It was inspiring to hear our customers explain why Acquia and Drupal are essential to their business.

Finally, our partner ecosystem continues to advance. In 2016, we achieved a significant milestone as numerous global systems integrators repeatedly recommended Acquia to their clients. One year later, these partners are building large centers of excellence to scale their Acquia and Drupal practices. Digital agencies and Drupal companies also continue to extend their investments in Acquia, and are excited about the opportunity presented in our expanded product portfolio. In some markets, over 50 percent of our new subscriptions originate from our partner ecosystem.

The growth and performance of the partner community is validation of our strategy. For example, in 2017 we saw multiple agencies and integrators that were entirely committed to Adobe or Sitecore, join our program and begin to do business with us.

Opportunities for Acquia in 2018

When thinking about how Acquia has evolved its product strategy, I like to consider it in terms of Greylocks' Jerry Chen's take on the stack of enterprise systems. I've modified his thesis to fit the context of Acquia and our long-term strategy to help organizations with their digital transformation.

Chen's thesis begins with "systems of record", which are sticky and defensible not only because of their data, but also based on the core business process they own. Jerry identifies three major systems of record today; your customers, your employees and your assets. CRM owns your customers (i.e. Salesforce), HCM owns your employees (i.e. Workday), and ERP/Financials owns your assets. Other applications can be built around a system of record but are usually not as valuable as the actual system of record. For example, marketing automation companies like Marketo and Responsys built big businesses around CRM, but never became as strategic or as valuable as Salesforce. We call these "secondary systems of record". We believe that a "content repository" (API-first Drupal) and a "user profile repository" (Acquia Lift) are secondary systems of record. We will continue our efforts to improve Drupal's content repository and Lift's user profile repository to become stronger systems of record.

"Systems of engagement" are the interface between users and the systems of record. They control the end-user interactions. Drupal and Lift are great examples of systems of engagement as they allow for the rapid creation of end-user experiences.

Jerry Chen further suggests that "systems of intelligence" will be a third component. Systems of intelligence will be of critical importance for determining the optimal customer journey across various applications. Personalization (Acquia Lift), recommendations (Acquia Lift) and customer journey building (Acquia Journey) are systems of intelligence. They are very important initiatives for our future.

While Chen does not include "systems of delivery" in his thesis, I believe it is an important component. Systems of delivery not only dictate how content is delivered to users, but how organizations build projects faster and more efficiently for their stakeholders and users. This includes multi-site management (Acquia Cloud Site Factory) and continuous delivery services (Acquia Cloud CD), which extend the benefits of PaaS beyond scalability and reliability to include high-productivity and faster time-to-value for our customers. As organizations increase their investments in cross-channel experiences, they must manage more complexity and orchestrate the testing, integration and deployment of different technologies. Systems of delivery, such as Acquia Cloud and Acquia Site Factory, remove complexity from building and managing modern digital experiences.

This is all consistent with the diagram I've been using for a few years now where "user profile" and "content repository" represent two systems of record, getBestNextExperience() is the system of intelligence, and Drupal is the system of engagement to build the customer experience:

We are confident in the market shift towards "intelligent connected experiences" or "data-driven customer journeys" and the opportunity it provides to Acquia. Every team at Acquia has demonstrated both commitment and focus as we have initiated a shift to make our vision relevant in the market for years to come. I believe we have strong investments across systems of record, intelligence, delivery and engagement that will continue to put us at the center of our customers' technology and digital strategies in 2027.

Thank you

Of course, none of these 2017 results and milestones would be possible without the hard work of the Acquia team, our customers, partners, the Drupal community, and our many friends. Thank you for your support in 2017 and over the past ten years – I can't wait to see what the next decade will bring!

Categories: Drupal

Steemit

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 5:39pm

Placeholder for an upcoming module that provides an integration with Steemit.com

Categories: Drupal

Media Bulk Upload

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 3:46pm
Categories: Drupal

Extended Number Field

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 12:53pm

Adds extended xinteger, xdecimal, xfloat field types and xnumber form display widget. Additionally, each type is provided with the unsigned storage setting, allowing to restrict input on a field only to positive values. One more useful feature of the module is working Default value property, which has no any effect on the current core set up, despite being exposed as one of the field settings.

See more on the module's Github repository:

Categories: Drupal

Cardano

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 8:50am

Placeholder for an ongoing suite of modules to interact with the Cardano blockchain .

Categories: Drupal

Steem

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 8:49am

Placeholder for an ongoing suite of modules to interact with the Steem blockchain.

Categories: Drupal

Commerce Discount Userpoints

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 5:52am

Module implements Commerce Discount Offer Type that allows use userpoints to discount orders on checkout. It creates discount program (disabled by default) creates userpoints transaction on "Checkout Complete" event to prevent same userpoints to be used multiple times for discount purpose.

Categories: Drupal

Surfly Integration

New Drupal Modules - 7 January 2018 - 2:34am
Introduction

As described in the Surfly website, Surfly.com allows you to

Categories: Drupal

HelloSanta Checklist

New Drupal Modules - 6 January 2018 - 7:17am

This main purpose of this module is to help developers confirm the configuration of the system before going online.

這個模組的主要目的是為了給開發者從開發到正式上線的過程中,提供幾個重要的檢查表。讓做出來的網站能夠更完善。

但這個模組主要是搭配HelloSanta Corp.的工作流程。因此裡面都是以繁體中文為主。若有興趣的人,一樣也可以下載下來後參考。也期望會有更多的建議跟想法:)

Categories: Drupal

Drupal.org blog: What’s new on Drupal.org? - December 2017

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2018 - 1:59pm

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

Announcements DrupalCon License program launched

In 2018, the Drupal Association made the difficult decision to pause DrupalCon Europe for the year, so that we could re-envision the program for greater scalability and sustainability. We're pleased to announce that we have launched a new program for licensing DrupalCon, so that local entities can bring this great event to their area. Read the announcement by Executive Director Megan Sanicki for more information.

Analysis of Developer Tooling options published

For more than a year, the Drupal Association has been evaluating options for improving the tooling used by developers on Drupal.org. We have recently concluded our study, and published a detailed analysis of the options, as well as our next steps. As expected, this blog series has sparked ongoing conversations about the future of our tools both among the community and with our potential partners - so look out for more updates.

Drupal.org Updates Easier management of Drupal Association Membership

In December we worked on updates to membership management, so that Drupal Association members will be able to manage their membership information.

New DA Membership Directories launched

Last month we mentioned the launch of the new individual member directory on Drupal.org. In December we expanded on this work to update our directory of organization members as well. You can explore the directory of Drupal Association members here, as well as the new directory of organization members. If you have feedback on either of these directories, please let us know!

Akismet for spam protection

The content analysis tool Mollom is rapidly approaching its end of life. And so to continue to protect the Drupal community from spam, we have implemented Akismet on Drupal.org. We are currently running it in silent mode, side-by-side with Mollom and our other protection methods, to ensure a smooth transition.

DrupalCI: Chrome Webdriver available for JS testing

One of the major services provided by the Drupal Association is continuous integration testing for the Drupal project. An increasingly important component of this is our javascript testing stack. Previously we tested javascript for the project using PhantomJS. However, that library is now deprecated. We have since created a new testing environment running Chrome Webdriver, and are working with core and contrib developers to ensure it meets their needs.

Drupal.org Updates Mitigating the risks of Spectre and Meltdown

By now everyone in the technology industry is likely aware of Meltdown and Spectre, the two major security vulnerabilities recently disclosed in major CPU architectures. Drupal Association staff are in close coordination with our infrastructure partners at Tag1Consulting, to ensure that any vulnerable machines in our infrastructure are protected as soon as possible, and our community's data is kept safe. ——— As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who make it possible for us to work on these projects. In particular we want to thank:

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Drupal

Lullabot: The Paradox of Tolerance

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2018 - 11:46am
This episode explores the "paradox of tolerance," and what it means for free software communities, business, conference organizing, and our daily interactions. Learn more at https://hackingculture.org/episode/12.
Categories: Drupal

Mandrill Webform Tweaks

New Drupal Modules - 5 January 2018 - 9:22am

This module's only feature currently is to allow the "From Name" from Webform to be used when sending mail with Mandrill.

Categories: Drupal

Matt Glaman: Noindex WTF

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2018 - 7:00am
Noindex WTF mglaman Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:00 On a client project, we wanted to prevent search engines from accessing pages on the site. It needed to be directly linked to from some various sources, public, but not queryable. So we did the reasonable thing. We modified our robots.txt and added our metatags. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to work as we would expect and pages still showed up in Google searches.
Categories: Drupal

Field Quick Cardinality

New Drupal Modules - 5 January 2018 - 6:57am

Provides a quick and easy way to display the cardinality (ex. how many values a field is allowed to store) of field instances through the UI, without having to go to the settings screen.

This is especially useful when using the Manage Fields overview page for reference (eg. to develop an importer) and a bundle of an entity contains many fields from which some accept only one value, some two or three and some unlimited.

Categories: Drupal

Valuebound: A beginners guide to Performance optimization in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2018 - 5:30am

Web performance is an important factor to consider when developing a website because user experience and usability are dependent on the speed of page loads. Not to mention, web giants like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay are obsessed with it. And there are numerous ways you can boost site performance. 
          
In Drupal 8, there are specific tools and modules to optimize the site performance. 

To begin with, Caching is a popular technique to optimize the website. It is a process that stores web data (HTML, CSS, Image) in some accessible space. For instance, when a user request for a web page for the first time it stores readable content or information in the cache memory and…

Categories: Drupal

Ansible

New Drupal Modules - 5 January 2018 - 4:49am

This module Run Ansible playbooks with Drupal.
Ansible module require asm/php-ansible library

Ansible module include 3 modules:

Categories: Drupal

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