Chapter Three Goes Gold

It's with great pleasure that I announce that Chapter Three is now an Acquia Gold Partner. This is a move that makes perfect sense to us as a business, and I'd like to quickly make the case as to why.

Drupal Market Growth

Acquia's business depends on the continued growth of the Drupal marketplace. It's simply essential for their success, and the more people who are using Drupal, the better off we all are. Moreover, Acquia is proactively marketing and selling the platform in enterprise markets and new verticals, which is going to pay huge dividends down the road.

I believe in this because of what we experienced with a plucky little upstart organization called CivicSpace. The work that Zack, Neil, Kieran and others did back in 2004 putting together a packaged Drupal distribution and making an energetic effort to evangelize it to the world of non-profits resulted in a huge spike in interest in Drupal from that world. This persists as a cornerstone of the present-day Drupal market. I'm hopeful that Acquia will have similar success, especially as over the past four years, Drupal has grown into a much more mature platform with a much clearer value proposition vs. proprietary CMSs.

Business Development Pipeline

Following on the above, one of the reasons we wanted to jump on the Acquia partner bandwaggon is, frankly, to work with more and better clients. While we're all capable representatives of our business and of Drupal -- and we think our portfolio is pretty dang impressive already -- our passion is in the work: the conception, planning, strategy, design and execution; not so much in the sales process.

While we've never had a shortage of business inquiries (now accepting RFPs for winter/spring 2009) it's also true that the best and brightest prospects often require a proactive business development effort, and a lengthy courtship. We see Acquia as helping our firm in this process by laying the groundwork and making qualified introductions, letting us remain focused on our strengths.

Long-Term Support

Unlike many web development shops, our model is based around building up exciting new projects, not long-term support contracts. However, clients still often want and need longer-term Drupal support. While we've had good experiences addressing this by building capacity -- training and limited expert-support for internal experts -- the simple truth is that many of our clients would feel a heck of a lot better with a traditional tier-1 support resource. This isn't something we can realistically provide, but we hate saying no. Enter Acquia.

The ability to offer them the piece of mind that comes from using Acquia's commercial support gives everyone what they want: we can move on to the next big challenge with a clear conscience, our clients get world-class support for their Drupal website, and Acquia gets subscribers. That's a win-win-win situation.

In Conclusion

We're glad to be on board with Acquia and with the development of Drupal into a viable commercial product powerhouse. We're already seeing benefits in the marketplace, and although the overall economic picture points towards some slowing, the internet is now an integral part of every major economy and business. This marketplace isn't going away.

In fact, in this economic context, I think Drupal is a good bet. With budgets tightening, clients will be looking much more seriously for value. As expensive proprietary software-as-service licenses come up for renewal, we expect to see more conversions to Drupal as businesses and organizations continue making the leap away from costly/brittle proprietary systems and embracing the freedom, flexibility and bottom-line value of commercially-supported Open Source.

(Also, we chose gold because we have to stay one step ahead of our flat hat awesome friends at Zivtech)