Adaptive Web Limited, 4, Ascot Business Park, Longbridge Lane, Derby, DE24 8UJ
Fax : 01332 639880
We had an interesting conversation with a potential customer recently. They were considering three options for their relatively large-scale Intranet.
The options were Microsoft Sharepoint, Drupal and a proprietary Microsoft-based Intranet.
We disclosed our Drupal-bias but like to think our summary of the risks and benefits was reasonable.
We feel that Sharepoint is extremely hard, from a developers point of view, to work with. Simple changes can take considerable time. The other factor is that you are stuck with a lot of what you get.
Many software publishers, when defending their proprietary software, argue that Open Source is not commercially supported. The reality is, when you last had a bug with a Microsoft product, did you contact them to get it fixed? The answer is probably "no" because a) you know they wouldn't fix it and b) how do you contact them?
The reality is that Open Source software is far better supported than proprietary. If a support request is posted on the Drupal.org forum, a reply is usually made within minutes with a fix. Obviously we tend to fix any bugs ourselves because we have the expertise and the code is available to us.
We work with Drupal for a number of reasons - it's an extremely flexible framework and because there are so many modules available, we can create some great sites very quickly.
To answer the Sharepoint vs Drupal question then.... the first thing we asked the customer was:
What is the aim of the Intranet - is it:
a) Central "command and publish"
b) Workforce engagement and community development
There are clearly lots of other aspects to consider (MS Office integration, document management, etc) but we felt it was important to understand the overall aim of the software. Sharepoint is far better at document management than Drupal - there are ways around this but there's little point in using Drupal if the aim is to share and collaborate on documents.
You could quite easily argue that Drupal, as a "Social platform in the workplace" can actually co-exist with Sharepoint - it would certainly be using the "best of breed".
We believe that Drupal can be extremely effective in connecting organisations employees that operate across the country or the world. Sharing experience (personal and professional), building relationships and employee engagement can provide significant benefits to staff and management.