Thoughts on the Drupal Executives Meetup in Brussels

This weekend the first Drupal Executives Meetup (Drupal CXO) took place in Brussels. People in executive roles at Drupal shops from all over Europe gathered at the Microsoft offices to discuss and collaborate on various topics related to Drupal in a business environment.

Following the OpenSpace concept, I participated in a few sessions that were of interest to me. Below is my summary on 2 interesting topics that were discussed during various sessions. I enjoyed these most because some real action points came out of them.

Backoffice systems

I was present at 3 sessions that touched the topics of improving the backoffice systems that we as Drupal shops use. Those sessions were labeled as "Open sourcing our backoffice systems", "Sharing & building tools" and "Knowledge management". During those sessions we analyzed what kind of tools shops are using currently for each specific dimension in the backoffice system (knowledge management, resource planning, CRM, ticketing system, ...). We could conclude that everyone is using different tools, and a variety of tools for specific dimensions. Another point that came up was whether we should be eating our own dogfood (e.g. use CiviCRM, OpenAtrium, or create a new distribution to fill existing gaps), or fall back on existing tools that are used within the wider web- and software development communities.

A few action points came out of these discussions:

  • We should start a survey to gather information from more Drupal shops on what tools they use for specific backoffice tasks, and how well it suits their needs. This should give us better insights in where the main problems are, and how we could solve those.
  • We should gather people that are interested in eating their own dogfood, and discuss whether a new Drupal distribution should be created that tries to solve the pain points that most Drupal shops seem to have with their current systems.

Notes that were taken during these sessions:


Marketing Drupal

2 sessions were held on marketing, and how to collaborate on marketing materials and resources. I was only present at the second one that was held on sunday, but nevertheless some interesting ideas sparked up. Within range of this topic, there was also a session on fighting FUD, where we discussed some of the main FUD that companies are spreading about Drupal, and how to react on that.

The main problem is that Drupal shops around the world are reinventing the wheel over and over again when it comes to marketing material for Drupal (whitepapers, case studies, arguments against FUD, ...). There are some efforts to bundle this, most specifically the group. However those are good for discussing Drupal marketing, but not really suited to actively collaborate on them. So we figured the closest we could get to collaborating on this without having to set up a lot of tools, is by creating a project:

The Enterprise Marketing Resources project aims to bundle existing marketing resources, as well as newly created ones, into a single downloadable package that can be used by Drupal shops everywhere. This would allow them to use the materials as is, or add some own branding to them.


Apart from the 2 topics mentioned in this blog post, there were of course a lot of other interesting discussions going on. I met a lot of great people over the weekend. Special thanks goes out to Kristof Van Tomme for organizing this event, to Microsoft for sponsoring the venue and lunch, and Acquia for sponsoring the first dinner on friday evening.

I hope some real action will come out of this event and the discussions we had. I'll surely try to do whatever is within my abilities to keep the initiatives that were started during the Drupal CXO weekend rolling. More Drupal CXO events are already getting planned, which I'm really looking forward to attending again.