Large crowd at 2019 We Are Digital Commons Event

November We Are Digital Commons
Quarterly Event Attracts Crowd

We Are Digital Commons is a limited quarterly event where the Digital Solutions team shares with the community updates on the migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.

Author: Liz Vines

Ok, it wasn't an in-person event! The image you see is from one of last year's events. (A photo of Teams attendees isn't quite as fun.) However, this quarter's meeting boasted over 65 attendees! The Digital Commons community continues to be a fantastic, involved group. Keep reading to learn more about the 'new' team, moving on to Drupal 9, a preparedness deadline for everyone, a new process for getting support and service, a new way to offer creative ideas, and some snazzy ways to get analytics into the hands of the people who need them!

Hello, Again?

Jess Matthews, Director of Digital Solutions kicked off the meeting by re-introducing her staff which included new and familiar faces but many with new roles and responsibilities.

John Attamack- Lead Tester, Mac Clark- Lead Digital Engineer, Mark Colebank- Drupal Developer-Frontend Specialist, Dawain Faison- Drupal Web Developer, Amy Hepler- Senior UX Developer, Imogen Hoyle- Digital Content Strategist, Anne Johnson- Web Content Coordinator, Marla Laubisch- Project Manager, Juan Martinez- Senior Drupal Developer, Elena Talanker- Product Owner, Liz Vines- Account Manager/Training Lead*, Cathy Warren- Web Designer/Developer

*A new trainer who was introduced on the video, is no longer with the Digital Solutions team.

Wait, Drupal 9?

After introductions, Lead Digital Developer, Mac Clark took over to highlight the fact that while we are in the thick of migration to Drupal 8 we are concurrently preparing for Drupal 9.

While there was a load of work for this team in preparing for a move to Drupal 8, it will be a very simple move to Drupal 9. He likened the move to Drupal 8 being a complicated change as if from WordPress to Drupal, but with the move to Drupal 9 being more like the overnight upgrade you experience on your cellphone when the software is updated.

So, Be Ready

This was pretty much the message that Marla Laubisch, Project Manager was sending. She walked everyone through the straightforward process for migrating sites. For most agencies that will mean about two weeks for pre-migration fix-up, two weeks for actual migration and analysis, then two weeks for post-migration cleanup. Some sites may require more time. At the end of 2020 we will have nearly 20 sites migrated! That means partner agencies need to be ready. 

February 19!

February 19, 2021 is the date! This meeting date (November 19, 2020) marks the three months notice that Digital Solutions promised all partner agencies would receive before migration. The suggested clean up first introduced in summer of 2018, and at the previous two Digital Commons conferences in 2019, must be complete on that date.  

Of course it does not mean that ALL remaining sites will actually begin migration on that Thursday in February. However, it does mean that everyone must be ready because when the call comes it is not an 'if' or 'when', it is 'now.' Jess reinforced this in her closing but in much nicer terms. 

Action Items for Partner Agencies

  • Be ready by February 19.​
  • Complete the content cleanup checklist found on this site.​
  • Look at your customized cleanup documents in Teams.​
  • Schedule a preparation session with Elena.​
  • Do what you can to prepare your team and get the resources you need.​
  • Contact Marla if you have a compelling reason for a blackout time in 2021.

Service versus Support

Liz Vines, Account Manager shared a new procedure for reaching out to Digital Solutions. All inquiries should begin with the account manager. If you're mid-project or mid-migration, Marla is your primary point of contact. They will then have the right people reach out to you.


Can't get a view to work, something that used to work, doesn't anymore? Trying to go to a page but getting an error? Those are SUPPORT issues and you should put a note in the Digital Commons Content Ninja's Teams/General page.  Someone in your community or a member of the Digital Solutions team will help out! Please do not directly email the people who were once your Team Leads. You will still get to work with them, there is simply a new process.


Need help with your analytics? Want to get that some snazzy Data Studio pages like NC DOI uses? Maybe you have had a personnel change and need to get the new Web Manager up to speed. That's when you reach out to Liz! The account manager is here to continue to serve partner agencies in the best ways possible. Biannual meetings will continue to be scheduled and each of you will get a survey and/or account meeting shortly after your migration is complete.

Platform Updates

Platform Owner, Elena Talanker updated the group on migration progress. Over 20 websites have made it to Drupal 8! She outlined the month to month progress and how the Digital Solutions team has steadily rebuilt the software since February. The Web Advisory Group made up of partner agencies, contributed by providing feedback on every content type, feature and existing functionality. 


Super Popular Absolutely Required Kapability (SPARK) Elena introduced a new opportunity for users to post their ideas for the Digital Commons platform. "Unleash your inner creator!" To give us a better sense of what you're asking be sure to include examples, screenshots and/or describe use cases. You can do it all on our Teams site, on the new SPARK channel site.

Data Studio - Making Analytics Easy

Special guest, Dawnna Lewis of Department of Insurance, and Drupal 8 cheerleader, took time to share how her agency has begun to make analytics available to everyone at DOI. Utilizing Data Studio she is able to share weekly and monthly reports on the whole website as well as individual sections. Data Studio offers pre-built reports that can be customized.


Elena is now offering trainings on Data Studio in addition to her popular Google Analytics course. See our Digital Commons Support Site for dates.


Visit the Digital Commons Support site for full pre-migration info.


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