Mar. 14, 2012

Duo Brings Drupal to the 2012 Legal Marketing Association Conference

As a rule, when one attends a conference it is to capture important “take-aways” – actionable ideas that you can implement in your business or which shape your thinking about the way you execute your work. Sure we want to network to build our lifeline, swap stories and experiences and learn from each other. And, of course, we want to have some fun and get away from the daily grind. All good.

This  year, though, is different for me and my company Duo. We have something to share. And we think it is very important.

Duo Leads Its Clients to the Drupal Framework

We work in the Internet space. It is not a stable environment. Few are. But the Internet world is even more volatile than most.  One cannot ignore daily news items ranging from the contribution of social media to transforming geopolitics to the astronomical stock market valuations of Facebook (and Google, etc.). Things happen very quickly and dramatically in the Internet world. It is very different from the world of law and legal marketing.  Sure change happens, just not quite as explosively.

Because the Internet changes things, Duo, too, must change. Over the last four years we have migrated our technology to reflect one of the most important movements in the Internet world. It is called open source.  Over the last 4 years, we have migrated to the Drupal open source content management systems.

We have felt so strongly that the direction we’ve taken represents the best the Internet could offer that we risked our entire business by inviting our clients to follow us into this technology.  Over the 4 years of this evolution some took our cue, building remarkable next generation websites on Drupal. Others did not and moved to different providers.

With a substantial portfolio of successful law firm and other websites, our gamble is now proven and we’ve come to the LMA Annual Conference to tell this story.

Dominant Platform

Websites using Drupal dominate the web. Over 1 million websites are powered by this platform including substantial portions of the Federal government, leading associations and major corporations. Chances are you haven’t heard of Drupal even though it is over 10 years old. But you have been to Drupal websites plenty of times. From The Grammys to the White House, Mattel to XXXX, Drupal is there doing its job.

Freedom

The proprietary and licensed content management system platforms offered by other web service providers tie you to their system, their code, their company and often their hosting. If you have a problem with the provider or the system your only option may be to rebuild your website ground up. With the open source Drupal framework you enjoy a level of mobility that is unprecedented. It is the new, new-way of doing things and it represents a best practice.

Flexibility

How many developers does the largest licensed or proprietary CMS have working on it? 10? 50? 100? The Drupal platform is supported by over 15,000 Drupal developers.  Even if only 10% of this crowd are doing insanely great and imaginative work, it still blows away anyone behind it. Blows it away. Entirely.

What does the feature development queue look like for a licensed or proprietary content management system? When will new features be released? Drupal has no effective development queue. One example, Google Plus comes out and within 2 weeks there is Google Plus integration functionality released for Drupal.  Why? Because a small group of those 15,000 developers wrote and tested the code and released it free for others to use.  This happens every day. That’s why there are over 15,000 “module” add-ons for the Drupal framework. Yes, there is an app for that.

Cost

Drupal is free. Let’s be clear – and honest. Developing a Drupal website is not free. You still pay for strategy, design and development services. You still need to host the site somewhere. And upgrades and security patches may also be free, but you have to pay to implement them. But there is no cost to simply use the Drupal content management system.  No cost for a license or a right to simply use. The intellectual property is public. Go ahead, ask your IP attorney about that.

The New Old News

In the time we’ve been working with Drupal, its momentum has only accelerated. There is no perfect system. And it is reasonable to anticipate that Drupal will either morph into or be replaced by yet another great new thing.  But for the foreseeable future we believe that powering your website on the Drupal framework is the way to go to future proof your web investment as best you can. And we’re bringing this story to one of the last hold-outs in corporate America. It’s no surprise who that is: law firms.

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