Georgia.gov has Drupal on its mind

The next iteration of Georgia.gov will be built using the open source platform Drupal.

Phase2 Technology announced it was awarded a contract to replace, migrate and support an overhaul of the state’s website and content management system, which will be developed using Phase2’s Drupal distribution OpenPublic. The company will partner with Acquia and Mediacurrent to transition the current site from the Vignette CMS to Drupal.

“We are excited about the possibilities that Drupal brings to the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Chief Information Officer Calvin Rhodes. “This new platform will give us the flexibility to offer more online services to Georgians while making government more efficient and saving taxpayers money.”

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh and a strategy consultant for CivicActions and NuCivic. He can be reached at luke@govfresh.com. Other projects: GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMakers and Agile Government Leadership.

4 Responses

  1. The answer to that question isn’t straightforward, because the requirements of every site are different. Obviously, Drupal can be free up front, which is a big advantage. We at Phase2 think that a good, free Drupal 7 distribution can be huge cost and time saver. However, every site is different and there is more to a site than the up-front costs. 

    I feel that in terms of Total Cost of Ownership for most mid-sized to large organizations, Drupal does have a bit of an edge in addition to it’s free up front cost:

    * No Lock-In, for data, upgrades, or maintenance and support: companies that go with Drupal own their data and have access to the code, so they can make cost effective choices downstream, even moving to another platform, without having to pay any “tax” for a proprietary solution
    * Custom development can be done in-house: Drupal isn’t just a CMS, it provides a framework for building new functionality, from integrations to new features. If custom development does require an external vendor, Drupal doesn’t lock you in to a particular vendor
    * Organic Growth: One issue that some organizations have with large CMSes is that when buying you may be pressured to get everything and the kitchen sink (for a variety of reasons). This is often more expensive in a variety of ways, including launch delays when a simpler start may be better. Drupal is built to grow, making it safe to deploy smaller and grow if that’s the right strategy for your organization (and they’ll be no hidden costs later when you want to build more)

    There are some definite rule-outs though, or things that should make an organization pause and really evaluate the costs:

    * Size of the site: If an organization is building a few simple static pages and a blog (a typical small business brochure site) there are off-the-shelf solutions that you should probably consider, both open and closed. But even in this case, note that there are great resources like http://www.drupalgardens.com/ so you can build with Drupal even in this case
    * Size of the organization: if you’re in a small organization and don’t have a team to manage the site or hosting at all, a commercial offering with support that you can buy may be helpful. That said, if your business is on the web, you probably should consider bringing that talent in-house beginning with someone in charge of content strategySo, consider your options. A bit of planning up front and taking the time to do some proof of concept work can be a big help. At Phase2, I often advise folks to try and Drupal 7 by downloading the (free) OpenPublic and kicking the tires a bit. There is very little cost to the experiment, and it can really help organizations figure out their requirements so they can make an informed build/buy open/proprietary decision:

    * http://www.openpublicapp.com/

    And remember to check out the documentation on: http://docs.openpublicapp.com/display/INST/Documentation 

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