Drupal - The Optimum Solution for the Public Sector
“Not only have we seen 1OO% uptime from the new platform but it’s four times faster than our previous platform.”
- Peter Edwards, Digital Technology Manager at British Council
Public sector organizations have needs and accountabilities that are unique in the world of service providers. Since they run on the money of millions of taxpayers, their operations, output and most of all, expenditure, are subjected to intense scrutiny by the public and the media. It’s no secret that a huge majority of every form of mass media derive their incomes from analysing, dissecting and criticizing government actions and expenditure, because constant openness to feedback and suggestion is a vital part of healthy governance.
This necessitates the presence of stringent legislation with strong penalties to ensure fairness, confidentiality, safety and accountability in public sector operation. Unfortunately, such laws lead to the infamous ‘red-tape’ of complex hierarchies, long drawn vendor-selection processes and delayed grievance redressal that creates more grievances than they resolve.
Consequently, by adhering to rules made for the good of their clients, well-meaning public servants can unintentionally cause snags and delays in providing services. Since they operate in an intensely competitive environment in which image counts so much, these hold-ups can actually impact public servants’ careers and the image of the government, too.
Drupal - Inexpensively Automates Large Scale Policy Adherence
Drupal is a powerful Open Source CMS that can provide a web application that aids in adherence to standards and in monitoring through easy to implement automation. Understanding the complex workflows, documentations and policies of the public sector, Drupal developers have created powerful modules that make it easier to follow every step of mandated workflows and bureaucratic guidelines.
Further, as Drupal solutions are highly scalable and modifiable, they save money and time and free up resources to best meet client expectations given the exceptionally severe constraints under which the public sector functions.
Meets Service and Security Needs at Lower Costs and Increased Speed
Drupal is also extremely robust and secure and well meets the paramount need for the public sector to strike a balance between interactively providing information and services and maintaining a high degree of security for millions of records and data items. Additionally, Drupal’s capabilities of handling data fluctuations data make it perfect for handling the sudden spikes in service requirements around due dates for paying tax for instance.
What’s more, though Drupal is capable of being scaled and extended to much more complex levels as requirements increase, a Drupal solution can actually be set up very rapidly and easily. Temporary enhancements to handle different requirements during a special initiative such as a once in a decade census, for instance, can be rapidly configured, cloned for use again if needed, then withdrawn from the system.
The modular extensibility of Drupal also means that one need not scale up a system beforehand, but have an easier to maintain, more cost-effective and faster system by keeping things simple until the complexity is actually required. All this results in tremendous savings to the finances, resources, time and effort of a public sector organization and helps it to exceed people’s expectations.
Public service organizations have to necessarily use most of their funds for service. Although vital, security is not their main job. Drupal modules and updates necessarily have to be created keeping stringent security policies in mind, and have to integrate with or enhance the security management system of the Drupal solution they are added to. This ensures that the organization does not spend anything extra on security when it extends, scales up or modifies its Drupal system.
Frees up Resources - Automates Integration of Service Interfaces
Drupal is especially effective in managing user experience across devices. For an organization serving the public, interactivity may need to take place over a mind boggling array of platforms and devices -- a public sector organization may provide services and information over computers, tablets, smartphones, basic mobiles, landlines, ATMs, brick and mortar offices, smart cameras, interactive kiosks, television, radio etc.
Such an organization needs chat-rooms, forums, phone lines, mail services. It needs to offer secure forms and data access, and provisions for interaction, complaints and redressals, information upload and data recording provided by one complete solution which is scalable while being robust and secure. Drupal does all this as well as some of the best paid CMSs. Since it is a popular open source framework with a passionate culture among its highly skilled developers of constantly creating, updating and integrating modules according to every evolving need, an organization under strict spending constraints can concentrate its budget on adding technology features that directly improve services and reduce costs, instead of having to worry about paying costly licensing fees each time it needs to do so.
Scales and Extends to Meet Future Needs at no Licensing Costs or Lock In
The reason an organization can always get Drupal experts to provide it a highly professional, effective and secure application devoid of licensing fees, vendor lock-ins or expenses for security updates is the highly skilled and motivated Drupal community. The community consists of thousands of talented developers with a passionate culture of constantly contributing modules that meet ever evolving or anticipated need.
Drupal modules have to comply with the community’s strict quality and security policies. This makes Drupal is an extremely reliable investment for the future of a public sector organization. Additionally, the portable nature of Drupal precludes the possibility of an organization’s being locked in to any one Drupal provider. An organization can easily change providers or even have multiple providers working on it’s application at the same time. This also means that a company can hire any Drupal expert for site maintenance, monitoring, extending and scaling regardless of who has actually set up the site.
Migration to Drupal - Highly Secure, Minimally Disruptive
An expertly planned migration to Drupal using the Drupal migration module can rapidly and easily ramp up the site into a brand new enhanced one with all the needed components while ensuring workflow and data security including prevention of data loss. Drupal’s flexibility also ensures the integration of existing third party systems and software into the current processes. Thus, migration to Drupal causes minimal disruption and no data loss or corruption for sensitive and critical governance and service functions that need to be smooth and uninterrupted for the peace of mind of millions of people.
Drupal - A Well-Established Public Sector Success Story
Drupal has been around for over ten years, and is used by thousands of sites. Many of these are public sector sites with complex traffic, integration and security requirements such as NASA and the White House. Drupal has been known to drastically reduce or eliminate downtime in big sites, and to save time and money due to vastly reduced ‘failure alerts.’ Also, there are highly reliable troubleshooting resources and tutorials openly available due to the culture of documentation, contribution and sharing that has grown into a strong feature of Drupal that distinguishes it from other open source CMSes. In fact, there is a saying in the Drupal community that any solution an organization is looking for will probably have been discovered and implemented by Drupalers.
Drupal Solution Providers - Expert Service for Everyone
The vast resources at a Drupal expert’s disposal through the huge and established community of highly skilled and experienced module creators have facilitated the entry of a huge number of highly skilled individuals and boutique organizations capable of providing reliable Drupal services at lower costs than what a big organization would charge. Thus, for a public sector organization with perpetual difficulties in getting budgets approved, a Drupal solution would be approved much more easily by the funding authority.
It is not just developed countries, but also rapidly developing countries, especially hugely populated ones such as India and China, that are showing a strong trend towards Drupalizing their public sector service interfaces. When the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India needed to optimise workflows for the purposes of critical data collection from its sixteen different labs, each of which is a behemoth following complex hierarchies and bureaucratic processes, it preferred to use the services of Valuebound Interactive Solutions, a boutique Drupal solutions provider.
Drupal experts create well-planned solutions by choosing the correct pre existing modules, developing needed modules and customizing distributions to create a solution designed for adaptation to constant change and enhancement, thus assuring an organization’s Drupal solution will last for decades working better for less money and time.