The first annual Drupal CEO Survey reports that there is a bright future for Drupal in the enterprise segment

Results from the global Drupal CEO business survey conducted by One Shoe and Exove, in partnership with the Drupal Association, indicate that Drupal will adopt a role as an enterprise level platform. The Drupal CEO Survey has been carried out this year out for the first time and gives insights in the key issues that Drupal agency owners and company leaders worldwide face.

Among the surveyed 75 Drupal companies, the C-level respondents mainly work at digital agencies (37,8%) and software companies (27%). More than two thirds of the respondents (69,3%) were the founders of their company, indicating that Drupal business is entrepreneur driven.

As the survey was conducted just before the European DrupalCon 2016, a majority - 65,7% - of the companies have offices in the Europe. Altogether 35 countries were mentioned in the answers, and all continents - except Antarctica - had respondents. The country with the highest amount of offices is the United States (24,3%), followed by Germany (18,6%) and United Kingdom (15,7%). Compared to the size of the country, Finland (12,9%) and the Netherlands (11,4%) had the most respondents. This is partially explained by the survey organizers having headquarters in these countries, but also by wide adoption of Drupal in both countries.

Most of the surveyed companies were small to medium sized enterprises. Only 9,9% stated to have more than 80 employees, while 21,9% had five or less employees.

A bright future for Drupal in the enterprise segment

A vast majority (90,5%) believes that Drupal has reinvented itself with the release of Drupal 8, the newest version of the CMS, released in November 2015. Even though Drupal has become somewhat more complex, respondents don’t think this is a turnoff for developers (77,1%). As one respondent said: ‘Some developers will resent the added complexity, but I see it becoming the defacto standard for "Enterprise" CMSs.’ This respondent is not the only one: 89,2% of the respondents think that the popularity of Drupal for clients will grow in the next three years. Drupal is seen as being a leader in larger enterprise deployments in the future. As one respondent stated, ‘Drupal will see continued growth for clients who are committed to their digital strategy and see its importance as part of their overall business goals. But it will probably tail off for clients who just need a website.’ Or, as another respondent sees it: ‘Drupal will become the platform of choice for enterprise level solutions.’

Drupal is popular for enterprise healthcare projects

The surveyed companies serve clients in numerous industries. From enterprise perspective, the major industries are healthcare and medicine (40,0% respondents have clients from this industry), banking and insurances (38,7%), and retail (37,3%). Overall, Drupal companies also work with charities and non-profit organizations (64%), government and public administration (56,0%), media (49,3%), IT (45,3%), and arts and culture (36,0%).

The cost of an enterprise solution project varies from company to company. Most of the companies (28,0%) work in 100 000 - 250 000 euro range, while 18,7% of the companies charge 250 000 - 500 000 euro and also other 18,7% charge 50 000 - 100 000 euro for an enterprise level solution built on Drupal. Only a handful of companies, 4,0%, charge between half million and one million euro. Compared to typical cost of enterprise level solutions, Drupal based solutions are implemented with less costs. This is due to the good fit of Drupal to the enterprise needs, flexibility of the platform, and huge amount of readymade modules.

Drupal empowers growth

The surveyed executives forecast growth in their business - 89,2% of the respondents think that their company’s headcount will increase in the future, while just 8,1% believe the headcount will stay the same. The rest (2,7%) didn’t have an opinion on the matter. The growth has also been strong during 2014-2016, as the amount of larger agencies (over 80 people) has grown from six to nine among the 75 respondents during this period.

The most important strategic priorities of the companies also focus on growth: finding the right talent, 53,3%; ensuring financial growth, 45,3%; and developing new growth strategies, 41,3%. The executives expect to face challenges in the coming three years on the same areas: finding the right talent, 59,5%; talent retention, 36,5%; and ensuring financial growth, 33,8%. 

While finding and retaining the talent is seen challenging, 60,0% of the respondents do not outsource work to vendors. Companies operating in Europe less use outsourcing, as 67,0% of these companies do not employ vendors. European companies outsource work to Asia (17,0%) and Europe (17,0%), while non-European companies use vendors in North America (25,0%), South America (25,0%), and Asia (19%).

Also illustrating the growth-empowering aspects of Drupal is the geographical presence of companies. One third (31,1%) of the surveyed companies have offices in more than one country, and 12,0% has offices in five or more countries.

Open Source for the win

Almost all respondents (94,5%) think that Open Source software will become more popular in the next three years. Besides Drupal, companies also work with numerous other PHP based open source systems, such as the Symfony application platform (42,7%), the WordPress CMS suite (33,3%), the Laravel application platform (22,7%), and the Magento e-commerce platform (10,7%). Also the JavaScript based Node.js application platform is very popular among Drupal companies, as 44,0% of the companies use it.

The majority of the companies (70,3%) combine Drupal with other technologies from time to time. Of those, 29,7% do it often or regularly. Only a handful of companies, 4,2%, use also commercial content management systems in combination or integration with Drupal.

Drupal companies also give back to the community. 97,3% of the companies have contributed code, documentation, or bug reports to Drupal.org - the open source home of the Drupal project. Also 68,0% of the companies maintain contributed modules - extensions to the core functionality of Drupal - and a whopping 17,3% of the companies maintain more than 20 modules. This is seen as a crucial part of the success of Drupal - as respondents stated: ‘The transformation of modules from D7 to D8 is crucial.’ and ‘Drupal has a lot of support and the community is big as compared to other CMS application.’

Comments

The survey organizers Janne Kalliola from Exove and Michel van Velde from One Shoe are very happy with the results. ‘This survey confirms a number of positive indications about Drupal which we have been seeing in our markets. I am especially happy with the strong enterprise focus of Drupal companies across the globe, as our experiences with enterprise customers have confirmed that Drupal is an excellent fit to enterprise.’, Janne Kalliola says. Michel van Velde continues: ‘We are foreseeing steady growth of Drupal in a number of markets. There are so many untapped opportunities for Drupal and it’s great to see that Drupal 8 is now equipped to compete with closed source solutions like Sitecore and Adobe.’

Megan Sanicki, Executive Director at Drupal Association says ‘I am excited that this survey has been made and so many Drupal companies have answered the call. The results validate the positive and energetic feeling we see and hear in the Drupal marketplace. To help the agencies, the Drupal Association is working together with the Drupal business community to amplify Drupal’s success on Drupal.org. We connect enterprises evaluating Drupal with agencies providing Drupal services, we organize DrupalCons to attract and train new talent to work with Drupal, and we support the local business communities in countries around the globe.’

Dries Buytaert, the Drupal founder and project lead, President of Drupal Association, and CTO of Acquia, says ‘The results of the survey verify my understanding of the situation of companies in the Drupal business community. I am very proud of the new opportunities and prospects these companies are creating for Drupal - and also feel satisfied that Drupal is seen as so good fit for their needs. And it gets even better with the soon to be released Drupal 8.2.’

About Exove

Exove delivers digital growth. We help our clients to grow their digital business by designing and building solutions with agile manner, service design methodologies, and open technologies. Our clients include Sanoma, Fiskars, Neste, Informa, Trimble, and Finnlines. We serve also start-up companies, unions and public sector. Exove has offices in Helsinki, Oulu and Tampere, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; and London, United Kingdom. 

About One Shoe

One Shoe is an integrated advertising and digital agency with more than 10 years experience in Drupal. With more than 40 specialists, One Shoe combines strategy, UX, design, advertising, web and mobile development to deliver unique results for international clients like DHL, Shell, Sanofi, LeasePlan, MedaPharma and many more. For more information, please visit www.oneshoe.com.

About Drupal Association

The Drupal Association is a non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, OR, USA. It helps the Drupal project and community thrive with funding, infrastructure, and events. Its vision is to help create spaces where anyone, anywhere, can use Drupal to build ambitious digital experiences. For more information, please visit association.drupal.org.

----

For media enquiries, please contact Janne Kalliola (janne@exove.com), Michel van Velde (michel.vanvelde@oneshoe.com), or Brad Fields (bradley@association.drupal.org).

Add new comment

Plain text

Fill in the blank.