Wednesday, July 25, 2007

KISSing your customers

Well, figuratively anyway. The key point being per Occam's razor:
Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity
The corresponding idea of being "customer focused" or "customer driven" is certainly nothing new, but it too needs to extend throughout the entire organization.

Too often, software companies become development-focused and try to create the mother-of-all-applications. Simple ideas are vastly over-architected, and the methods required to implement them become foreign to those who would use it.

Never loose sight of the target market. Make things functional but simple (versus simplistic). It can be done.

Friday, July 13, 2007

From Stagnation to rapid Innovation

There's nothing worse for someone technical (much less a software company) than stagnation. At best, it breeds mediocrity -- and at worst, it turns to rot and decay. While the CMS market as a whole matures and consolidates and, to some extent, stagnates: there's none of that at Alfresco. Not even close.

The amount of features added in the latest release, not just volume but solid, *relevant* features is incredible. Coupled with a clean architecture, strong roadmap, and ever-growing community base... this is truly a kick-ass product to behold.

OK, so I work there and my view is by definition therefore tainted. Another beauty of the open source model: see for yourself, right now. Just visit

and get cranking with your own install today. Be sure to download the WCM module and tutorials (especially the Virtualization Server). And to checkout the new WebScripting capability (REST-based API). Many, many items to explore.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

OSS: Transforming Relationships

Enough has been blogged to date about the main benefits of Open Source: Democratization, Innovation, etc. This are of course key. However, as a recent convert from the dark side (a.k.a Enterprise Sales) what strikes me the most is the impact on customer relationships.

Having been in the industry for 17 years -- the last 10 working for vendors -- the notion of "transparency" that comes with applying an OSS style to one's business model makes for more than a slick marketing slide. It permeates the software company's culture and drastically transforms relationships across-the-board. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but the next time you feel like something is being withheld by a proprietary vendor during a sales cycle, it's probably because you're right...

When prospects can instead download both your product as well as its source code freely on the Internet, that changes things. The whole discussion becomes one of making projects succeed, rather than finding the hidden gotchas in locked-down software. Who wants to start of a relationship with so much (almost expected) negativity?

Approaching things in an open source manner has impact far beyond the Engineering labs of a company. It's not simply a development methodology. Nor is it solely a fundamental shift in business models. While both are true, the real win for customers is the ability to enter into relationships with someone who wants to see them succeed with their software.