Dylan Jay, Plone Solutions Manager

On 03/08/2009, at 7:56 PM, Matt Hamilton wrote:

On 23 Jul 2009, at 09:34, Matt Hamilton wrote:

On 21 Jul 2009, at 21:00, Matt Hamilton wrote:

Janus Boye just published an article entitled 'Is Plone a Good CMS?'


A fairly even article saying basically 'Danish Govt say Plone is a good CMS, but is it fair that they pick one?'

There are some fantastic comments at the bottom of this post now by Martin Aspeli and Ken Wasetis. Great work guys, some nice insights into 'big firm' consulting and how they go about things.

In a further development on this, I privately emailed Janus to ask him:

"One question to a point slightly raised on your
post. You mention that Plone consulting companies are generally quite
small.  How does this compare to the other Open Source systems you
mentioned, ie. Umbraco, Liferay, Typo3? Do they have larger consulting

As I was genuinely interested to see if Plone consulting companies are *really* smaller than others, or if it is just a perception thing. His response as this:

"I would say Umbraco has been the most successful in attracting larger
consulting companies. I am speculating this may be due to large
consultancies with .NET skills using Umbraco as a low-end alternative to
commercial systems such as EPiServer and Sitecore.

Let me know your thoughts and then I'll write a blog about it."

This is a very interesting point. So he is saying that there are some larger companies using other .NET CMSs such as EPiServer and Sitecore, but when that company needs to do something low end they are using Umbraco.

So is this a good thing? What does it mean to the Plone community? Are there companies out there that say something like 'We normally use Vignette, but in this smaller case we will use Plone'?

I was talking two a founder of a .net/sharepoint shop the other day. A couple of things are interesting.

1) .net/sharepoint seems pretty common (or other CMS). Consultancies working on bespoke work at the .net level and doing CMS work when called on. I've come across some bigger java/jboss type shops that are similar. I suspect they are supported by big corporate custom systems, the sort of thing that doesn't get done in python. Being a generalised software consulatncy is going to broaden your client base and so increase your growth as a company I suspect.

2) They do ok for reselling sharepoint licenses. It's extra revenue. And in general the market value of .net work is higher than python.

I'm not sure where this leaves us, but I think that it is really interesting that plone as a community doesn't know much about its integrators. A survey on all the companies servicing plone would make an excellent talk at the conference... at least for me.

Think about it this way. If Plone were a propriatory product, the mother company would know a awful lot about it's value added resellers. The reason is, they are an essential part of creating a successful product. Modern software companies know that enabling your channel partners and resellers to make a successful business means the product gets out there and in more useful ways than the mother company ever could by itself. Plone as a community is as interested in growth as much any propriatory company is. Understanding our who our integrators are could be a valuable first step to increasing it's take up.

At the moment I think we are often trying to pitch against the big boys saying our system can do everything they can. But maybe the message that Umbraco is using is 'we are lighter/smaller/quicker/ cheaper etc' than the big boys. I know in reality Plone can/does use both messages.

We generally pitch it as an enterprise system for those that want more flexibility. Plone isn't really simple enough for a small web consultancy to pick up for the odd jobs. It's really a full time thing. We also try to sell it into the bigger market because plone plone can compete where others can't... workflow, flexible security, web document management, multisite deployments, so the customers value it more.

If you want something to put up a quick brochure ware site then your compete against all teh cheap php coders and it's a waste of plone talent.

What are your thoughts? I want to gather them up to send to Janus.


Matt Hamilton                                       ma...@netsight.co.uk
Netsight Internet Solutions, Ltd. Understand. Develop. Deliver http://www.netsight.co.uk +44 (0)117 9090901 Web Design | Zope/Plone Development & Consulting | Co-location | Hosting

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