Drupal vs. Sharepoint: Choosing the right platform for your site

March 14, 2014
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As Drupal continues to gain significant enterprise adoption, it is competing more and more against incumbent technology in the form of commercial and proprietary software. One of the more surprising competitors in the marketplace belongs to a software application that was created for document management, not content management.

That technology is Microsoft SharePoint, and it powers a surprising amount of enterprise websites. Then again, perhaps this is not as shocking as it seems given the ubiquity of Microsoft applications and the fact Microsoft will include a license for an external website if you’ve already purchased six-figures worth of Microsoft applications. How many organizations default to SharePoint for external site management and put up with all the quirks because of the “free” license -- as opposed to choosing a platform like Drupal that was built explicitly for this reason? It’s telling that Microsoft’s own website features a comprehensive list with 100s of CMS options on which SharePoint is nowhere to be found.

Last year, we were prompted to compare SharePoint as a CMS to Drupal after Microsoft’s release of SharePoint 2013; we’ve also shared links at the bottom of the page to established SharePoint partners so you can draw your own conclusions.

Clearly, SharePoint has its strengths as an overall product. Here are some areas where SharePoint is quite strong:

  • Internal document management
  • Business intelligence and reporting
  • Taxonomy and managed metadata for searching
  • Highly scalable across internal enterprise environments

However if your organization relies on it internally, why not integrate it with Drupal and get the best of both worlds: SharePoint for document management and Drupal to provide the comprehensive CMS platform for a great digital experience. To put this in context, let’s consider an analogy. Would you try and install a home stereo system in your car?

To attempt to use SharePoint as a CMS requires workarounds and customizations to even come close to matching your minimal expectations for an external web platform. This results in many challenges, and the frustration of never producing the site experience that you had envisioned.

Drupal on the other hand, is focused entirely on being a best-in-class web platform. By using an open-source framework, Drupal website projects have access to substantial resources in the form of contributed modules and integrations, allowing the team building the website to focus on higher quality aspects of the project.

Let’s take a moment and put the capabilities and limitations into a more visual context. As you review the following websites, which purport to highlight the best sites built in each platform, ask yourself whether there’s really any comparison?

When creating a modern website, it doesn’t make sense to have to start over at the beginning and re-invent the wheel with every new project. Drupal allows companies to get up and running faster, with no licensing fees, utilizing nearly limitless functionality and customization. Here are some of the highlights from the Drupal vs. SharePoint Fact Sheet we put together:

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Finally, here are some SharePoint partners who write from experience about using SharePoint as an external web platform.

The challenges of creating a great online experience today are demanding. Choosing the right platform for your site is the surest path to success.

Also in this series

  1. Drupal vs. Sharepoint: Choosing the right platform for your site
  2. Why are Mid-Market Companies Still Looking at Adobe CQ?
  3. Setting the Record Straight on the Total Cost of Adobe AEM vs Drupal

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Drupal intranet

Hi Jason,
interesting piece. In my organisation we are working toward changing our intranet and are evaluating both solutions. Who shall I contact with specific intranet experience in drupal based intranet solutions to get more info? Any suggestions?
Cheers,
Stef

After reading this article I

After reading this article I agree that Sharepoint contains areas in Internal document management, business intelligence and reporting, taxonomy and managed metadata for searching, and
highly scalable across internal enterprise environments. Also, I agree that Drupal provides a comprehensive CMS platform for a great digital experience. With that being said, why not kill two birds with one stone and take a look at Centralpoint. Despite Sharepoints popularity, it just isn't complete and doesnt complete everything a company needs to get done in an efficient way. To put it in perspective, if you want to buy an apple, you’ll get half an apple with SharePoint. Or, more precisely, you’ll get a bad apple that either doesn’t taste good, look good or doesn’t have the nutritional value you seek. In my past 15 years in the business, Centralpoint, by far, achieves everything I would ever need or want in a CMS in a very efficient way. I can export records from the system as word docs or pdfs right on the fly. The document management system lets me create 'portions' in the document that are dynamic, so when one person signs in they get the document they need vs. someone else. Plus, the advertising system built in cuts costs from outside providers and is easy to use. The single sign on piece lets me integrate, allowing me to organize the sites users from the get go.