The Consequences of Being an Open Source Company
Dries told me that as a follow up to my previous post I should write a post with solutions to the problem. Difficult as I don't have the solutions yet.. If I had them .. well :)
Fact is that different types of opensource products might require different approaches Alfresco to my knowledge has little to no contributing community , Linux distributions tend to have a big one, if not just in the form of the different open source projects they pacakge. The MySQL community is more one of documentation, helping out and bugsquashing. So my ideas aren't valuable for everybody, which is maybe why Matt Asay can't understand me, he might be looking at only one side of the picture.
There are some little things that I can suggest however.
Open Source works because of people contributing to projects, Open Source companies should recognize that and figure out a way to return more business the partners that also contribute to their code , this way they can contribute both on commercial and financial level. If you keep sending business to non contributing partners at the loss of the ones that actually commit code, some people will be unhappy. Those contributing shops might not be bringing the big revenue for the vendors, but they sure are contributing.
The other part is in the support model, Matt somehow thinks I`m in the "everything must be free" camp. Wrong, I`m in the right price for the right product/service camp.
Which means that if I`m escalating a support issue of a customer of mine to a vendor, my time must also be paid for. However that's a difficult sale, my client already paid for his support contract , to the software vendor.
So my suggestion, back when RedHat came to the Bemelux, was to have different types of support contracts, a customer could get a direct contract with a vendor where no integrator could log the calls. Then with another contract type if the a partner actually logs a call for his customer he must get some kind of kickback for that...
One of the advantages there are that more first line calls can be tackled by local partners, partners that might know their customers better.. but they still have a backup if they can't solve the problem. Therefore less investments are to be made in a support organization by the vendor.
And last but not least , don't tell your partners what they can't do. They should be listening to their customers, if their customers choose for the open source version it's the customers choice, and the partner should be able to help his customer, the last thing you need to do is punish them for listening to their customers needs rather than the vendors. This is how the proprietary world works.
Oh and Matt, next time you are in Belgium, let's do another round of Buytaert vs Asay :)
Maybe we come up with some better ideas than the above ones.