While Drupal is considered to be a flexible web CMS, businesses might find it challenging to quickly set up their community sites while customizing their software and tacking on add-ons for better functionality. Acquia (news, site), which provides commercial Drupal support, promises to address this with the version 2.0 launch of Drupal Commons, which enables businesses to build community sites faster with its "social-as-a-service" setup.
Acquia Commons 2.0 enables business to create social business solutions built on Drupal, with a focus on being flexible and able to meet each organizations' requirements, which might differ from group to group. Commons 2.0 includes actvity streams, social networks, blogs, wikis, events, badges, enterprise-class analytics and management support. Acquia intends Commons 2.0 to be a viable open-source bundle that organizations can choose as an alternative to proprietary solutions.
Acquia Drupal Commons User Interface
Acquia's vice president of marketing, Bryan House, stresses the importance of social software in building communities, enhancing brand loyalty and improving customer service. Given these requirements, businesses can lower their cost with Commons 2.0, while still meeting their web engagement goals.
Commons is the alternative to costly, proprietary social business solutions — offering enterprises a more flexible, better way to create social community sites at a dramatically lower cost.
Acquia Commons 2.0 is touted as a Social-as-a-Service offering, which enables businesses to deploy their own white-label community sites via the Acquia Cloud. Acquia says this can be done in a matter of weeks, compared with months with other services. Some features of Commons 2.0 include:
- Out-of-the-box configuration is simple, and organizations can start focusing on engagement rather than the technicalities of setup. This include Acquia's Social Business JumpStart package and Community Management Strategy, which can help get businesses set up with their communities without fuss.
- Commons 2.0 is flexible — organizations can choose the style of their community sites, which can focus on different aspects of the social web, including microblogging, a Q&A style forum or a full-fledged social network.
- Branded communities will enable organizations to retain their identity. Commons 2.0 lets users have design control over their sites' presentation layer. Meanwhile, Commons 2.0 also has bundled pre-built themes, so that the design can be tweaked or customized out of the box.
Subscription Plans, Availability
Acquia offers a range of packages and plans for organizations, which can go from a basic support plan to a fully managed service. The latter will involve Acquia Cloud, bundled with Remote Administration and network support subscription from Acquia. Acquia will release Commons 2.0 to the public by July 2011.