Portland State University - Multi-department CMS Strategy Analysis


The client requested an analysis and strategy to migrate 50+ websites from their existing CMS solution into a Drupal centric system. The previous system was based on a long abandoned open source frame entitled Binary Cloud that was extensively customized by the project developer. The challenge was to devise a strategy to migrate all content and media from the "Saga 1" cms system and provide a strategy to migrate the data and media into a Drupal solution. The catch was that the Drupal installation had to support all of the business and political rules of the organization.


The solution was roughly a month of research and development that was separated into three main stages.

Stage one: Where is the client currently
We conducted interviews with different department representatives, this included end-users and management personnel who maintane the current system. Next we documented the business and political rules that the current system enforces. The current processes was limited by the sophistication of the current system and we captured the desired business rules for the new system based on the old.
Other members of the team conducted network, hardware, and software analysis identifying and documenting the current infrastructure used to support the current "Saga 1" system.

Stage two: Identify the tools needed
After we had identified the baseline system, software, and business requirements we conducted research and development into what version of Drupal would meet the requires specified. I conducted an analysis of the current modules for version 5.7 and 6.2 to determine how many modules existed verses what would need to be developed custom to meet the client's requirements

Stage three: Define where the client wants to be
Based on the research and prototyping accomplished we then documented our findings, defined strategies for each of the business and technical requirements identified and provided estimates and schedules to accomplish the scope required.

We presented our findings, strategies, and recommendations to the client commitee, the commitee greatly impressed with our research, analysis, and recommendations and was quoted in saying, "From this point on all consultants are going to be held to the level of professionalism and sophistication as your company has presented us today."

Robert's Thoughts
This wasn't a very difficult first phase for a project of this size. I had a clear strategy to analyzing the clients requirements and the scientific method I applied provided the base for what was discovered and the strategies I recommended. This is the first project where I had exposure to Drupal and based on my exposure so far it is an interesting framework that I look forward to learning more about. Many of the design patterns used in Drupal could be applied to many other procedural languages and with some tweaking OO languages as well. What also struck me as amazing is even though we didn't have a lot of experience with Drupal because of our ability to be detail oriented and conduct technical solutions reguardless of the technologies involved our problem solving skills are what really got this job. I think that is saying alot about my ability to provide professional services to a client.