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Open Source Content Management Systems for Small and Medium Businesses, Charities and Non Governmental Organisation


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How can open source CMS's meet the particular challenges that running SME's, NGO's or charities involve? Whether you run a small business, non-governmental organisation or charity, the potential for …

How can open source CMS's meet the particular challenges that running SME's, NGO's or charities involve? Whether you run a small business, non-governmental organisation or charity, the potential for spending hundreds of thousands of pound on software to assist with the running of your business is untenable, however, how far can open-source software (and particularly content management systems) enable your business to evolve, thrive and even surpass your expectations. In my presentation I intend to discuss; what your content is and how to use it to your advantage when running a complex operation with limited resources. The advantages and disadvantages of utilising open source software and how you can leverage the community to gain support and expertise. What the future for open source projects are and how you can ensure your business/organisation/charity can continue its work into Web 3.0

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  • 1. Open Source Content Management Systems for SMEs, NGOs and Charities
  • 2. About Me
    • Web developer for Forward Press (the largest poetry publisher in the world)
    • 3. Build majority of site using PHP/MySql
    • 4. MSc IT concentrating on Web Application development and Open Source CMS
    • 5. Drupal fan-boy
    • 6. I own 16 guitars and play in a band
  • 7. Learning Outcomes
    • Identifying you specifications
    • 8. Realization of your specifications
    • 9. What is a content management system?
    • 10. Why use content management systems?
    • 11. What is open source?
    • 12. Why open source?
    • 13. Open Source vs Bespoke vs Commercial/Proprietary
    • 14. Factors in choosing open source content management systems
  • 15. Challenges Facing SMEs, NGOs and Charities Budget
    • With money being imperative, how much can the business afford on software?
    • With a large proportion of part-time/voluntary workers, especially in charity work, or workers having to multi-task/multi-role how can you find the time to develop business systems?
    • With a small workforce, the experience/knowledge of the staff can be limited, and the prospect of having a full-time developer unrealistic.
  • 16. The most important question: What do you want to do? When planning anything it is the most important question, yet regularly overlooked:
    • Analyse why you want a computer system.
    • 17. What you want to achieve.
    • 18. Who are your users/audience?
      • Without this information, software has a propensity to drift. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. You can’t make sensible software decisions without a blueprint.
    • Never imagine anything is impossible, just difficult to achieve.
    Establish your requirements and how important each aspect is, then find a system to suit them! Never the other way round!
  • 19. Identify your specifications
    • Look at other sites/competitors, what features do they have you would like
    • 20. Compare with other software
    • 21. Be realistic about what you want to achieve, but stay optimistic
  • 22. Realization of your specifications
    • Analyse current system. Does it require complete replacement or migration?
    • 23. Could your business processes be improved (complex, not complicated)
    • 24. Standardisation
  • 25. What is content management system? Content Broadly means all “stuff” you have, video, images, text, audio: all content. This also has to include “stuff” you may create/use in the future. Management System The organisation of that content. How to present/structure/use to achieve the specifications of the project. Maximise potential applications and usability. Together, a computerised system to create, edit, publish, manage and search off of your “stuff”!
  • 26. Why Content Management Systems? Purpose is to make it easier for users to create, edit, manage, publish and search their content. Often take take of a large proportion of:
    • Content structure (information architecture)
    • 27. Content searching/indexing
    • 28. User access control/tracking
    • 29. Much more
  • 30. What is Open Source Software?
    • Open source usually refers to software that is released with source code under a license that ensures that derivative works will also be available as source code, protects certain rights of the original authors, and prohibits restrictions on how the software can be used or who can use it.
    • 31. Open source began as, and for the most part still is, software created by a community of people who are dedicated to working together in a highly collaborative and evolutionary way.
    • 32. (whatever the OSI says it is?!)
  • 33. Why Open Source Software?
    • Modify
    • 34. Redistribute and improve
    • 35. Use the software in any way
    • 36. There is no single entity on which the future of the software depends
  • 37. OSS vs Bespoke vs Commercial OSS Bespoke Commercial Reliability (bug free?) Many devs make light work Unknown Tested yet closed Stability / Upgrades Often free / recent Pay for / only when required Pay for / scheduled Auditability Fully changeable/testable Must largely rely on dev Believe the software Cost Free (potentially license based) Pay up front, pay for upgrades Pay up front, pay for upgrades Flexibility / Freedom Open to changes Closed system Closed system Support / Accountability Community based, learning involved Pay based on dev team Pay based to supplier / training
  • 38. Open Source Software Advantages
    • The software can be very sophisticated as the very large numbers of developers means that a lot of resources can be applied to it's development
    • 39. Updated and revised, constantly under development
    • 40. Have active support network
    • 41. System created with minimal configuration
    • 42. Open to configuration as you require
    • Not necessarily tailored to specific needs
    • 43. By it's nature it is designed for many different types of users, each of whom will have different requirements
    • 44. Open Source CMS can be highly complex and will usually include large sections that you will never use
  • 45. Bespoke Software Advantages
    • Tailored to specific needs
    • 46. Users will usually find it easier and more intuitive to use
    • 47. It can incorporate business processes that are specific to you not existing in a packaged solution
    • Not quick development
    • 48. Without support contract:
      • No possibility for update/development
      • 49. Limited product life cycle (it can not develop further than the end product)
      • 50. Lack of support network
  • 51. Commercial/Proprietary Software Advantages
    • Company responsible for maintenance/updates
    • 52. Developed by professional companies (potentially less likely to fold/stop support of the system
    • Closed to bespoke configuration
    • 53. May include large sections that you are unable to remove change which do not respond as you wish
    • 54. Cost based either upfront or potentially as SaaS/licence based
  • 55. Open Source vs Bespoke vs Commercial/Proprietary
    • Open source software gives you far more flexibility and manageability when resources are limited
    • 56. Bespoke is likely to be able to be customized to your particular situation, yet, can cost a great deal for both the initial product and ongoing support and maintenance
    • 57. Commercial/proprietary, ongoing costs for support/product licencing
  • 58. The Real Analysis The real analysis is what is best for your requirements and resources budget. For the majority of small/medium businesses, charities or NGOs the cost of a bespoke systems, with active developers to maintain/upgrade/adjust the software is unobtainable.
  • 59. Choosing an open source CMS; the Community Open source is largely dependent on community, therefore the strength of the open source project is normally directly proportional to the skill and size of the contributing community. The community drives the project forward!
  • 60. Choosing an open source CMS; Documentation/Code
    • Open source thrives on the strength/structure of its source code, and the documentation that assist it both for developers and managers.
    • 61. With so many complex solutions required, how can the open source answer your queries?
    • 62. Standards based
  • 63. Choosing your open source CMS; Support
    • Google (Knows the answer but you must ask the right question. If the answers not the right answer, have you asked the right question?)
    • 64. Assistance through forums/IRC or traditional learning methods, tuition/books.
  • 65. Web Based CMS Solutions
    • Web based solutions offer possibility for more flexible working, part-time, remote
    • 66. 24x7 always on
    • 67. Less requirement for own IT hardware (use remote services far more cost effective than owning equipment/paying IT support)
    • 68. No requirement for centralised offices etc
    • 69. Flexibility
  • 70. The Big 3; Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla
    • Top 10,000 global sites
    • 71. Backend Battles, but uses a larger sample size of 100,000 sites. According to BuiltWith as of July 2010, WordPress is used by 3.09% of websites, and Drupal is used by 1.67%.
  • 72. Drupal/Wordpress/Joomla Drupal (
    • Configurability over simplicity
    • 73. Requirement to learn Drupal terms
    Wordpress (
    • Good user interface
    • 74. Lacking an extent of configurability
    Joomla (
    • Relatively middle ground on both user interface and configurability
  • 75. Leveraging the Open Source Community
    • Google (knows the answer)
    • 76. Understand that although it may be time critical for you, many contributors have other responsibilities/time constraints
    • 77. Give full and detailed analysis of your problems (not simply “it doesn’t work”, use “how”, “why”, “I’ve tried...”, System Details etc)
    • 78. Be friendly/open (if you are a charity, say it and maybe even mention a bit about your business, the more people know about you, the more likely they are to help.
    • 79. If you find an answer, think about becoming a contributor yourself, blog, forum etc. Grow the community. Don't be a leech!!
  • 80. Demonstration Drupal+CiviCRM
    • My Charity
    • 81. Accept Payments
    • 82. Installation and setup in 5 minutes or your money back!
    • 83. Start the stopwatch!
  • 84. The future
    • 1989: The future is multi-media
    • 85. 1999: The future is the Web
    • 86. 2009: The future is smart mobile
    • 87. 2019: ??? (App Inventor/All Content Mashable/Social)
    The strength of your open-source software can provide solutions into the future
  • 88. Points to take away!
    • Always build a system around your requirements
    • 89. Just because I'm an open source fan-boy doesn't mean it is always the right decision for you
    • 90. Open source may have a learning curve, but will pay off in the long run
    • 91. Bespoke/commercial for short term/costly matters
  • 92. Questions?
    • [email_address]
    • 93. Web:
    • 94. Twitter: @willhallonline
    • 95. Drupal/Ubercart: willhallonline
    My question to you: how could today have been improved? Thankyou!