What can UK Drupal agencies learn from their US counterparts?
In a couple of weeks I’m heading off to DrupalCon LA with a couple of colleagues of mine from the Drupal shop, miggle that I run in Brighton & Hove in the UK. This will be my fifth DrupalCon, but my first in North America, so I’m looking forward to getting a chance to attend some sessions from key thought leaders in the US who don’t always make it over to the European Cons. We’re also hoping that we’ll make nyccamp as well in July (and ideally present there). More than the sessions, both events will give us the opportunity to meet as many new people as we can and learn more about how Drupal works in the US and how we can use that to shape what we do here in the UK.
One of the things I’m really interested in is how might the Drupal supplier market consolidate over the next few years? Drupal 8 has the opportunity to be a real game changer. A product fit for the Enterprise, in a headless world, delivering all of the benefits of community-driven open-source to a market that is evolving, maturing and making increasingly complex, challenging and exciting demands of its supplier base. How do suppliers grow with those changes and execute successfully? That’s one of the key questions I have and I’m really interested to get the opinions and hear first hand of the experiences of US shops who have been on, or are on that journey.
In the UK (and Europe) we’ve started to see some level of consolidation in the market. In 2012, seven or eight agencies across Europe joined force to make one pan-European shop. A few months ago, a market leading UK based PHP house acquired an experienced UK based Drupal Commerce supplier. Agencies need to decide what’s the best route for them — is it one of specialising around functions, technologies or sectors, or of being a much broader offering across one or all of these? Is it about consolidation? (and what can we learn from other disruptive industries that did the same — like the automotive industry at the change of the last century) What does growth do to business culture? To client and staff retention? Crucially, how does it change the ‘Why’ that the agency was created around? Finally, in an ever connected world, what opportunities are there for collaboration between agencies both sides of the Atlantic?
With a colleague of mine from another consultancy we’re hoping to run a BOF (Birds of a Feather) session on this at DrupalCon LA — if this is a conversation you can contribute to or are interested in it’d be great to meet up at that to talk more.