Are you looking for a CRM interface for your website? If yes, then it is possible to manage the CRM of your website with a simple open source relationship management system software like CiviCRM.
The best part is that CiviCRM is available for installation as a standalone software or as a component along with content management systems like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. It may also be installed as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Let’s take a detailed look at the benefits offered by CiviCRM, its features and how it can work seamlessly with a Content Management System (CMS) like Drupal.
CiviCRM is a web-based application which is a great advantage, as it can be easily installed and utilised by you with the help of an internet-enabled computer system.
It synchronises seamlessly with various CMSs for effective web-based relationship management, especially for school, church and other charitable or non-profit organisations.
As CiviCRM is developed by the community Hive Mind, you may not get instant direct support for any related issues. However, there are plenty of help forums that provide solutions for various CiviCRM based problems.
Online Fundraising and Donor Management
It can manage and keep track of all the contributions or donations to your organisation from your constituents from a single screen within the application.
You are empowered to create customised web pages quickly in order to accept online donations. You also get access to updated details of every donation and relevant contact with no chance of data entry errors.
Online Membership Management
With CiviCRM, you can easily manage the online sign ups, renewals and membership summaries for your organisation.
It enables you to configure any number of membership types as well as customise membership rules and status.
It is also possible to create customised web pages for self-service membership sign up and renewal. You can break down the membership summaries by date (month), membership type, number of contributions, contact information and the total contribution.
Online Event Management
CiviCRM offers you the functionality of creating customised web pages to manage online events or meeting registration for your organisation and then track the number of people who registered as well as the number of active participants.
Online Mass Mailing Management
With this CiviCRM app, you can create or develop newsletters to be distributed to different members directly from your website instead of having to create the group mailing list manually.
It thereby saves a lot of time. You can keep your constituents engaged with timely newsletters for everyone or personalised emails targeted at only a certain group of members.
Thus, CiviCRM assists you with email marketing, social media marketing as well as personal email campaigns.
Integration with Drupal CMS
In comparison to other large CRM applications, CiviCRM may not offer a similar level of data analysis and reporting.
However, it does offer a free alternative to maintain data records of a wide variety of information related to the constituents of your organisation.
It can easily be configured to work with your existing business processes as well as seamlessly customised according to your specific business requirements. Furthermore, it is a free CRM component that is designed to integrate and work with CMSs, such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.
However, it is more popularly known for its integration with Drupal. This is because Drupal provides most integration options for CiviCRM and because the Drupal community is more of a developer community, which can handle the technical challenges easily and add to the CiviCRM documentation.
Your website enables you to create roles for site users and grant them permission to execute different tasks, such as edit, view, delete, administer contacts or access specific information.
The Drupal permission settings determine which tasks a specific role will perform and what information it can access. They override any access control setup in CiviCRM, which means that if the CiviCRM settings restrict access to contacts, but the Drupal permission settings allow complete access, then the particular user role will have complete access to contacts.
The Drupal Views module enables you to display website content and CiviCRM integrates with it in order to allow CiviCRM data to be publicly displayed on your website.
When we tried to combine them together for a client’s website, we had to do some configuration, as our CiviCRM and Drupal belonged to different databases.
The Final Verdict
All in all, CiviCRM has several features working in its favour, especially if your business is a non-profit, advocacy or a charitable organisation that has a website CMS like Drupal. It does not involve any licensing fees and so you can add users without any incurring additional costs.
However, you do require certain technical skills to ensure a seamless setup and maintenance of this CRM tool.
So have you explored Drupal CiviCRM before? Do you have any point to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
Choosing the right content management system for your project depends on the amount of people working on your site, the size of your site and how frequently you will have to access it. There are, of course, many different options available, and in this blog post we are going to look at two different platforms to consider, Drupal and SharePoint. We will weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each CMS, and look at ways you may be able to use them to get the best out of your website.
What is a CMS?
Firstly, we’ll get back to basics and answer a simple question – what exactly is a content management system?
Essentially a content management system (CMS) allows the user to have full control over the addition of content, editing and organisation of their website through a conventional web browser. Without having to delve into code, a CMS can be entirely customisable and adapted to suit an individual or a business’ needs.
Drupal vs. Sharepoint
Before we look too deeply into a comparison between the two management systems, it would be a good idea to revisit exactly what each system offers its customers.
Released in 2001, Drupal is today considered to be one of the leading content management systems for businesses around the world. Released as an open source project, the software is available for free and comes with an unlimited licence for customisation and re-distribution. This is part of Drupal’s appeal – the ‘building blocks’ approach allows users to have flexibility when it comes to their site.
Microsoft Sharepoint comes from a slightly different perspective. Originally produced and developed as a document management system, it has seen numerous development cycles and iterations to make it into the product it is today. There are many different SharePoint products available from Microsoft to enhance the content management of your website – and much of it is based around the cloud and access of a wide range of information from a wide range of devices.
How popular are Drupal and SharePoint as CMS platforms?
The graph below indicates how successful more recent iterations of Drupal have been. Of all sites running Drupal, Version 7 has 69% of the share – with sites such as Twitter and Weather.com being notable examples that highlight the scalability and size of Drupal’s strengths.
The matrix shown underneath from w3techs.com highlights the market position of Drupal and SharePoint as a CMS – showing that both are preferred by many high traffic sites, even though widespread adoption has not yet occurred to the extent seen by Joomla or WordPress.
Benefits of Drupal
As well as the flexibility and ‘building blocks’ approach mentioned earlier, there are many other benefits to using Drupal for your website
- Wide graphic design capability and possibilities – including responsive design
- Unlimited amount of customisation between the front and back end of your site. The administrator portions of the site can be fully altered to suit your needs
- No limits in terms of scalability
- Intuitive content structure, minimizing the learning curve for new administrators
Benefits of SharePoint
SharePoint is an excellent way to store, share and manage a large amount of documents. It is mainly used for Intranet services and eCMS solutions.
- Flexible and customisable document management
- Cloud services
- Top-down collaboration for large amounts of content
- Best used when treated as a database rather than a ‘one size fits all’ CMS solution.
It has been argued by many developers that using Drupal and SharePoint combined will yield the best results from a CMS system – although of course as with any content management system carefully consideration will be needed to ensure you are getting the best from any platform you decide to use.
In many cases should you wish to use SharePoint exclusively as content management system for your website, significant workarounds and add ons will have to be installed. Where is does excel however is in document management and collaboration – you can easily keep track of who is creating and sharing what within your system, and it is therefore highly useful to internal systems, such as the Intranet within organisations, for example.
Choosing the right CMS can determine to a large extent how you wish to use your site, and how you wish your site to be grown and scaled in the future. Both SharePoint and Drupal have enormous benefits to the users in terms of content management – and Drupal in particular has many customisable options to benefit your site as it grows. If, however, you are looking for a CMS that provides first-class document management, for instance if you are building an Intranet site, then SharePoint is becoming an increasingly obvious choice.
If you need any help choosing your CMS, expert web developers and content management experts can point you in the right direction and in the long run save you time, money and energy migrating. If you make the right decision from stage 1, you are likely to have an excellent and long-term relationship with your CMS.
One of the most popular and widely used open source web content management systems, Drupal is under the process of releasing its newest version, Drupal 8. Backed by a strong community, Drupal 8 CMS is going to be a platform with over 200 features that will change the way content management has been perceived till date. The official release is being awaited by Drupal developers in UK and the by the developers world over. Here are a few features that makes Drupal 8 release, an exciting affair:
The new Drupal 8 isn’t just mobile friendly. Instead, it has mobile at its core. All you need to do is deploy the content once and it will be displayed the way you want it, on any mobile device. All the built-in themes in Drupal 8 are responsive that will simplify designing and development of websites optimized for various devices and screen sizes.
Built-in Web Services
Drupal 8 comes with built-in web services that will allow a website to respond with data and not with an HTML page, to a request. It will make machine to machine communication possible. Also, there will be no need to define the context for data.
Drupal 8 will allow HTML-based page markup. This means that Drupal websites will be fully functional and compatible with mobile screens of all sizes. Speaking of mobiles, Drupal 8 will also have proper native input tools on mobile for fields such as data, phone and email.
Features like Inline editing and CKEditor will make authoring way easier that what it is right now. Inline editing will allow you to edit the content simply by clicking on edit on the body content. Also, CKEditor will replace Drupal’s default WYSIWYG, which will simplify HTML editing for web content.
Twig framework Theming engine will replace the PHPTemplate. Twig template engine is faster, more secure and highly flexible. The more mobile friendly Drupal 8 will have responsive themes including the default themes like Stark, Seven and Bartik themes.
Drupal 8 will have more field types in core and will allow you to attach fields to more types of content. For example, email, telephone, entity reference, date, link, etc.
Content Management System is one of the most integral parts of web development. A good CMS can help increase efficiency, let you control & manage your web content, help in increasing your Search Engine ranking and help the visitors of your website to search for information with ease. There are many more ways in which CMS helps your website and business. Therefore, it is important to choose a CMS wisely.
If you are looking for a robust content management system, then you must consider Drupal. There is no reason why Drupal will not work for you. The program is capable of powering big sites, and it comes free of cost. Some of the websites are Fast Company, The Economist, the White House and Sony BMG.
This article will give you an insight on why and how Drupal can work for you. There are several benefits of using this framework –
Drupal offers unmatched flexibility and can be heavily customized. It gives you the power to develop applications of any magnitude and complexity.
Drupal allows the developers to customize their applications with the help of free programs called modules. In fact, the extensive number of modules makes it so powerful. Considering the fact that the program comes for free, the functionality that it provides is extensive.
If you are used to using command line utilities, then Drupal is the program for you. The framework entails the ultimate deal breaker in CMS. The site developed on this platform can be easily maintained using Drush, which makes the maintenance tasks rather convenient.
Cost Effective and Easily Maintainable
However, if you are not acquainted to command line utilities, this program also offers the developer an opportunity to perform routine maintenance activities quickly and in a cost-effective manner. In addition, Drupal also allows you to set up multiple sites that can easily be maintained. The Aegir program allows the developer to perform complex tasks like –
- Creating a copy of the site
- Easy migration of the site to an upgraded version
In addition, there are a plethora of tasks that can be easily performed using this utility.
Designed for the Future
Contrary to popular belief, web development is not a one-time project. In fact, it is a continually evolving project. Foresight is one of the most essential qualities of Drupal. The upgrade system available as part of this program is backward compatible and the site can be easily upgraded to the new version without any breakages to the website.
Now that you know the benefits of Drupal, the next crucial question is how and why this technology is the right choice for you. Here are a few reasons –
- Your website is a central element in the structure of your organization
- You have a good money and time budget
- If you are an amateur web developer and you love to learn latest software, then this framework gives you a good opportunity to broaden your expertise
Despite so many benefits, this framework is suited for those not willing to learn the system or doesn’t have sufficient budget to get the system developed. The bottom line is that Drupal provides a stable and flexible solution.