Building a Software as a Service Business on Drupal

Jon Pugh

Building on the successful OpenSaaS session at Drupalcon Austin, we’ll recap why Drupal is a fantastic platform upon which to build SaaS businesses, and give you tips on how to do it.

We’ll start with a brief case study of NuCivic (formerly Nuams), which turned a small consulting business with a distro, into a successful SaaS business acquired by a large SaaS company in late 2014.  

Then we’ll invite several entrepreneurs building SaaS businesses on Drupal onstage to give tips on how to do it, from both a technical and and a business perspective.


In 2014, NuCivic took its Drupal distribution, DKAN, from an open source project on, and transformed it into its first software-as-a-service offering, NuCivic Data, in partnership with Acquia.  

In addition to ensuring a successful 1-click spinup experience on Acquia and AWS (and Pantheon and IBM Marketplace), NuCivic bundled enterprise setup and support services to create a turnkey experience that began to compete successfully with proprietary SaaS alternatives in its product niche.  More recently, it partnered with ThinkDrop to build its own self-service customer SaaS Portal to help it scale.

Drupal is used at all levels of its platform:

  • DKAN is an open source drupal distribution for data management, and is the product NuCivic offers to our customers.  

  • My NuCivic is a customer portal, showing customers what they have purchased, where their sites are, account status and contact information, regardless of what platform they are hosted on. It is built with off-the-shelf Drupal modules.

  •  DevShop is used to automate the deployment and management of servers and hosted drupal sites. 


Panel Members


Session Track

Business and Strategy

Experience Level


Drupal Version