On 23/11/2009, at 11:17 PM, Matt Hamilton wrote:
On 23 Nov 2009, at 08:07, Dylan Jay wrote:
All great points, and agree with you... one point specifically I
have been noticing recently...
8) The party line on Acquia is that what's good for Acquia and
Dries is good for Drupal. I saw not a hint of discomfort with that.
I think this is one of the most important points. Maybe it won't
last, and maybe the community will suffer long term by Acquia
making lots of money? Maybe Drupal will end up being vendor
opensource with all its downsides? Who knows.
In the medium term, as an Plone development company, I think Acquia
gives Drupal an unfair advantage. Just the other day we had a very
large organisation say they went with a proprietary solution
because "we can't sue Plone" and decided this before we could even
present to them or explain that opensource means you can purchase a
plone solution from an integrator and then sue them if it goes
wrong. We have liability insurance :)
Acquia gives Drupal the perception of size and credibility to those
who don't know any better. We can dismiss these risk adverse
decision makers of big organisations but I think those people
matter. I agree with Dries when he says "We should all agree that
at the end of the day, success should be measured by the number of
people working with Drupal, not by the number of people working on
Drupal". Plone kicks Drupal and a lot of proprietary CMS butt,
feature for feature but Acquia makes Drupal easier to sell by
giving the perception of security. Anything we can do to help sell
plone is good for plone otherwise we risk being "irrelevant".
... Acquia have shown up on a few 'Magic Quadrant' type lists from
Analysts. Not Drupal, but Acquia. Now Plone is not listed there at
all as it is just an Open Source 'project' and not a 'vendor' in the
traditional analyst sense. That said I think that is an advantage ;)
but I'm sure potential buyeers might not.
Someone recently pointed out that the role of most Gartner-type
analysts is not to comment on the suitablity of the CMS to your
particular organisation, but to just comment on whether the vendor
is going to be around next year or not. Hence why 'Plone' is not on
those lists as it is not a 'vendor', but it does make me think we do
lose out a bit on mindshare as a result.
Let me give you a concrete example why this is a worry. Recently a
state government main portal here was implemented using drupal even
though there was some large sites already implemented in that
government with Plone. Inside information said one of the main reasons
was one of the big 5 analyst companies recommended Drupal (I think it
might have been PWC).
Seems crazy but it makes sense when you understand how government (and
any large organisation works):
From the managers point of view, if the technology fails you can
blame the vender but if the vender fails you can't blame anyone but
yourself for not picking a better vender... unless an analyst firms
makes the recommendation and then you can blame the analysts. Like all
other forms of business, procurement is about shifting risk. A
managers career can be over if they take the blame for bad decision
but they just are just doing their job if they make the "right"
decision. This is why they pick the "safe" decision not the "best"
decision. This is the essence of why no one got fired for picking IBM.
You could ask why not let the integrator take responsibility? Two
1) integrators tend to be small so a manager can be blamed for picking
someone "obviously" not up to the task.
2) If there is no obvious integrator to pick (2-3 in their local area)
then the manager has to then choose and therefore made a decision
which they can get blamed for if it all goes wrong. A lot of times
they will also select the "technology" first and integrator 2nd (or
better yet have the integrator recommended to them) and they don't
even think about the possibility of an integrator being able to take
If they look in the yellow pages under Plone they don't get Pretaweb,
they get nothing. If they look for sharepoint, they get microsoft and
microsoft will happily take them out to a game of golf that the
manager will conveniently win, do the sale and then recommend an
integrator. Everyone happy (except the end users and the shareholders
for shelling out $$$).
So what managers really want is a organistion to blame that no one can
blame them for choosing since its the "obvious" choice or recommended
Its a tough one as I agree what you say about Acquia making Drupal
easier to sell.... but on the other hand I don't want to ever end up
with a 'Plone Acquia'.
Well Acquia are doing a lot of things now and have seriously split
their focus but when it started it had a very simple idea. They were
going to be a support company and no integration. That means companies
that were risk adverse can take a contact out with them and feel
comfortable. They is only one Acquia so it's the "obvious" choice.
On 24/11/2009, at 1:25 AM, Ken Wasetis [Contextual Corp.] wrote:
Thanks for the valuable write-up. Following up on Matt's point, why
couldn't the 'Plone Foundation' be the organization/vendor rated by
the analysts? Let them analyze the staying power of the Foundation,
the project, the CMS - that has to be a strength of Plone that we're
not capitalizing on enough.
I'm not sure that would work since they probably have no economic
model with analysing something that doesn't make money.
Another alternative is that we could perhaps create a federation of
Plone integrators purely for auditing/analysts purposes. If you took
all the reasonable sized integration companies and analysed them as a
whole you would come out with something that looked like a large
multinational company with a pretty big turnover.
Or better yet in the proprietary world you have value added reseller
networks attached to companies like microsoft or Avaya and I'm sure
the analysts have models for valuing those. Plone commercially is
essentially a VARs network without the corporation running it in the
middle. Unfortunately that would miss the huge amount of value
produced by internal integrators such as weblion etc but it would be a
Another alternative to to try to educate analysts that software is no
longer about products. Software is now a service. What this means is
that you ask for a solution and will get consultants and integrators
that will produce solutions from the best technology for the job and
often from many technologies. The myth of "off the shelf" systems is
just that, a myth. SAP isn't off the shelf and neither is any CMS.
Then at least managers would look for large integrators that are
suable instead of large product companies.
Unfortunately that's completely the other direction on how Plone is
currently marketed. It's a product and we're producing feature
comparisons as to why Plone is a better product than other CMSes. Plus
educating the market is a lot harder than changing ourselves.
Sorry there's no easy answers. but I'm going to have a discussion with
people I know in the big 5 and find out more about what we can do?
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