EvolveDrupal: Insights from Atlanta & What's Next in Montreal!

Reflecting on Atlanta's Inspiration, Anticipating Montreal's Innovation!
EvolveDrupal: Insights from Atlanta & What's Next in Montreal!

Following the success of EvolveDrupal Atlanta, where professionals from tech, UX, and higher education sectors gathered for a day of insightful discussions, attention now turns to the upcoming summit in Montreal on June 14, 2024. Debuting in Montreal in May 2023, EvolveDrupal has become a hub for open-source collaboration and learning across diverse communities.

EvolveDrupal organized by Evolving Web offers a range of sessions in three tracks—Communications & Digital Strategy, Technical, and UX/UI Design—suitable for attendees with varying interests and backgrounds. Rooted in the spirit of open source, the summit fosters connections and knowledge-sharing among participants.

Attendees can expect a mix of lightning talks, extended sessions, and EvolveUX design showcases, providing opportunities for learning and networking. Pre and post-summit receptions also facilitate informal discussions and relationship-building among participants.

As we shift our focus to Montreal, let's also take a moment to appreciate some of the insightful presentations from EvolveDrupal Atlanta. Among them, Ryan Szrama, CEO at Centarro, shared valuable insights on "Drupal Commerce Unifies the Association Digital Experience", while Karim Marucchi, CEO at Crowd Favorite, offered expertise on "Guiding Teams through CMS and DXP Choices: Differentiating Agile, Monolithic, Composable & Headless". These sessions contributed meaningfully to the discussions at the event, providing diverse perspectives on navigating the open-source landscape.

Ryan Szrama

TDT[1]: You presented at Evolve Drupal on how Drupal Commerce can benefit associations and non-profits, could you share some key insights or takeaways from your session?

Ryan Szrama: My main takeaway is that it's understandable why associations and non-profits often piece together

Ryan Szrama

 varying tools to do the job. They have a website for content management, which serves as a reasonable marketing vehicle. However, they lack the in-house expertise or funds to hire a developer to implement the features that intersect with Commerce - fundraising campaigns, one-off vs. recurring donations, membership management, premium content for members, etc.

For many such organizations, integrating a third-party widget or redirecting off-site is a fine solution. But there will come a time when the advantages of integrating everything outweigh the costs - either in terms of pure financial requirement or to satisfy ulterior motives - e.g., unifying membership management and member payments with fundraising/donations, incorporating user-generated content into fundraising (e.g., the use case of https://ioby.org/ or similar items that allow users of a platform to direct the collection of funds), etc.

I tease that out a bit on slide 14.

Slide 14

Ultimately, it's a classic build vs. buy decision for any organization. But the thing to keep in mind is that building often gets you things you simply can't get when you buy off-the-shelf software - e.g., first-party data ownership and full control over what does or doesn't happen with your customers' / members' / end users' data.

Regarding leveraging Drupal's features along with CRM and marketing automation to enhance digital engagement strategies, I think the biggest win is ditching third-party association management services. Organizations can use either Subscriptions or Licenses in Drupal Commerce to model the membership relationship and utilize Group / GCommerce to model the B2B relationship. They can also employ existing content access features to distribute premium content and create members-only features.

Then, they can explore opportunities for growth from there. For example, many of these organizations operate events with or without paid attendance. There's no reason an "Event" can't operate as a miniature site within the site, keeping all user accounts correlated - i.e., a member who is also a sponsor of event X, and an attendee of events Y and Z, would have a single user account page/purchase history that shows all of their financial transactions with the association.

Karim Marucchi

TDT [2]: Karim, you have presented a session at EvolveDrupal focusing on guiding teams through CMS and DXP choices, particularly highlighting Agile, Monolithic, Composable, and Headless approaches. Could you provide some insights or key takeaways from your session? I'm interested in learning more about how these different approaches are evolving in the digital landscape and how teams can navigate the complexities of choosing the right fit for their brand.

Karim Marucchi: Marketers today have increasing demands for more integrated, flexible, and user-centric digital

Karim Marucchi
Karim Marucchi

 experiences and digital experience platforms (DXPs) have become increasingly complex. Proprietary systems lock organizations into inflexible pathways and there is a need for a paradigm shift. Agile CMS solutions offer greater modularity and integration capabilities that allow for quicker adaptations to market changes without extensive backend overhauls. 

Composable DXPs allow organizations to tailor their tech stacks by selecting the best-of-breed components, fostering innovation and potentially lowering costs. Headless CMSs continue to grow in popularity, driven by the need for omnichannel content delivery, which allows businesses to push content seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices, enhancing the customer experience. These shifts reflect a broader trend towards more agile, scalable, and customer-focused digital solutions that can support the diverse and evolving needs of modern businesses.

Choosing the right fit for a brand involves several key considerations that help teams align technology with business objectives. This allows teams to choose a solution that not only meets their current needs but also positions them for future growth and innovation. This kind of strategic approach helps in maximizing the return on investment and achieving a competitive edge in the digital marketplace.

Assess Organizational Needs and Goals: Begin with a thorough understanding of the existing team structure and their editorial processes. It's crucial to determine the origin of the content, who is responsible for writing it, and the technical skills of those involved in content creation and management. Understanding the flow of content from inception to publication—without the need for frequent technical intervention—is essential.

Evaluate Technical Capabilities: Consider the in-house technical expertise and resources available. Some solutions might require significant developer involvement, while others might offer more user-friendly interfaces suitable for non-technical staff. Deciding between a solution that requires more initial customization and one that works more or less out of the box can depend heavily on the team's capabilities.

Consider the Integration Ecosystem: The ability to integrate with existing systems such as CRM, e-commerce platforms, and analytics tools is crucial. Teams should look for solutions that either offer built-in integrations or support easy integration with other tools through APIs. This ensures a seamless flow of data across systems, enhancing efficiency and data consistency.

Scalability and Flexibility: The chosen system should be able to grow with the organization. This means it should handle increasing amounts of data and traffic, more complex content management needs, and the potential expansion into new markets or channels. A flexible system that allows for adjustments and additions over time without major overhauls is ideal.

This approach ensures that the chosen technology enhances productivity and supports the team’s existing capabilities while allowing them to grow and scale.

As we conclude our reflection on EvolveDrupal Atlanta, let's anticipate the major updates we'll soon share from Montreal. Get ready for this exciting experience, where we'll continue to explore and learn together.

Disclosure: This content is produced with the assistance of AI.

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