My token prediction for 2011

Well tis the season and all that so I thought I’d pitch in with my own pointless prediction for 2011🙂 I’m going with a list of 1 as all the others that crossed my mind seemed unlikely even to me!

So here is my bet for 2011.

Someone will launch a (public sector or education) site entirely based on a third party, cloud based CMS..

God knows if that is the right term but I think this is the year when someone in the public sector or education decides to take a punt on something like WordPress.com or, more likely for a full site, DrupalGardens. Obviously this means giving away alot of control and a great deal of the ability to tweak the offering to your particular needs but most sites really aren’t that complicated and with the ability to customize CSS, map domains and guarantees of the kind of uptime that most hosting companies could never offer it starts to be a very compelling offer – especially for smaller sites. That isn’t even taking in to account the kind of cost savings that would be possible!

If I was to move my current organisations website to Drupal Gardens for instance I would actually be massively upgrading the functionality of the CMS, improving the hosting SLA and likely upgrade the performance and support offered. All this for the grand price of £312 per year (there would likely be a few additional costs but still the savings would be HUGE!).

Now I’m not saying I would do that but someone is going to – and soon.

One of the things that is interesting about DrupalGardens is that it is already based on Drupal 7 with built in support for RDF. This is likely to make many of the Linked Data advocates in the public sector very happy and might really go some way to embed LD ideas to a wider group and content producers.

Also like the relationship between the open source version of WordPress and Automattic the company that runs WordPress.com DrupalGardens is very closely tied to the open source community. In fact it is run by Acquia, the company founded by the creator of Drupal Dries Buytaert amongst other open source luminaries. Amongst other things this gives the opportunity to move over to a different environment in the future, perhaps when money is less tight or functionality needs genuinely outstrip the hosted offerings and you need something custom (I actually think this is rarely the case and anything really, really custom should sit outside of the CMS.)

I also think the time from decision to launch would be so much quicker that it would make many a CIO head spin – but that is probably no bad thing!

There are obviously many reasons why this isn’t the solution for everyone – the legal obstacles real or imagined about data security etc as much as anything but I have to assume in the age of shared services and doing more, better for less someone is looking hard at this.