Drupal 9 came out late last year, Drupal 8 reaches its end-of-life in November 2021, and Drupal 7's life will end in November 2022 (the date was extended due to COVID-19 and the large number of active users). With a time frame of just under a year and a half to upgrade from 7 to 9? Is it time to make a plan, or seek other options if that timeline is not feasible. But what other options are there?
What does end-of-life for Drupal 7 imply?
The term end-of-life (or EOL) is used to indicate the end of official support on a particular piece of software or product. The software in question is no longer sold, promoted or supported. In the case of Drupal 7, this means that Drupal’s community and security team will no longer be releasing any security patches or functional updates as of D7’s official EOL-date in November 2022.
Organizations will be able to keep using their Drupal 7 website for the time being. Nevertheless, technical problems will inevitably arise past D7’s EOL date - think of deprecated modules that are no longer supported or security issues that will no longer be addressed. This, in turn, will decrease your website’s SEO score. Come November 2022, extended support for Drupal 7 will only be provided commercially by a limited number of international providers, including Dropsolid.
Choices for your current D7 site
Option 1: migrate to Drupal 8 or 9.
You can choose to upgrade your existing Drupal environment to Drupal 8 or 9. Both versions are equipped to start building a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) for your business. In addition, the extensive compatibility between D8 and D9 also ensures a smooth upgrade further down the road.
Option 2: delay your upgrade.
- Keep your existing Drupal 7 environment;
- Upgrade your PHP version;
- Purchase an extended support package for Drupal 7 until you decide to upgrade your website to Drupal 8 or 9. Dropsolid is one of the only exclusive partners worldwide authorized by the Drupal Association to provide this kind of support. The official long-term extended support program is designed for organizations who have had to postpone their digitalization strategy due to unexpected circumstances or businesses that need more time to design and expand their digital strategy.
What does an upgrade from Drupal 7 to 8 or 9 entail?
Regardless of your industry and the circumstances of your business, an investment in your digital transformation is imminent. The main question is one of timing: when is the right moment to accelerate your digitalization efforts?
Are you launching a new brand, product or service in the near future? This is an excellent opportunity to start building a fully-fledged digital experience.
A Digital Experience Platform enables your teams to leverage the power of your data. Accurate statistics and monitoring allow you to discover new business insights and respond better to the needs of your visitors.
Are you planning to start catering to new target groups with your organization? Yet another use case that would benefit significantly from a Drupal upgrade. Using D8 or D9, you can communicate in a highly personalized way with any target group.
COVID-19 could also prove to be a catalyst for positive change through digitalization. We have noticed that many businesses are starting to collaborate, sharing their data with one another in the process. With an upgrade to a full DXP in D8 or D9, organizations can bring all their customer data together on a single platform. This enables unique, personalized one-to-one communication with every site visitor.
Reasons for postponing your Drupal upgrade
There are two legitimate reasons why organizations decide to postpone their investment in a Drupal upgrade:
- Your strategic roadmap for digital transformation is not ready yet or needs adjusting.
Some organizations have completely overhauled their business model in 2020 and are looking to drastically alter or expand their digital plans. That is absolutely fine. If your digitalization roadmap needs further refinement, you shouldn’t compromise on the careful definition of your vision, mission and business objectives. In this case, long-term support is the preferred alternative while you work on defining your strategy.
- Your business model will not change in the coming months, but your organization needs financial resources.
Due to the current economic volatility and uncertain business climate, many companies suffer from irregular cash flow. If the digital investment you had planned for is at risk, you might be better off postponing this high-impact project and instead opt for a small recurring investment in extended support for Drupal 7.
Judging your investments
As always, digital transformation is a business issue that is largely related to the direction your business is headed in the long term. The trade-off between limited maintenance fees and a much larger investment in an improved digital platform depends on your business case.
Are you prepared to keep using Drupal 7, despite maintenance costs slowly creeping up due to deprecated modules and components? And do you prioritize the definition of your digital strategy to delivering a more powerful digital experience in the short term? Then extended support is a perfectly legitimate choice.
The shift to Return On Experience (ROX)
Smart organizations take the bigger picture into account. What returns can be expected from their improved digital experience and what is the expected Return On Experience (ROX)?
ROX builds on your ROI and considers every component of your digital experience. The foundation of a new digital environment should be able to last about five years.
If you’ve only recently made the switch to Drupal 7, it might be worthwhile to join our long-term support program. This will give you the breathing room to set up a more comprehensive digital platform using Drupal 9, for a customer experience that delivers maximum Return On Experience.
A well-timed upgrade can result in tremendous added value throughout your entire business. AI-powered personalization, additional marketing insights, a smoother browsing experience,... The possibilities range from the practical to the highly ambitious and innovative, but they all have one goal in common: improving your customer experience.
More on Return On Experience? Read the blog.