Business Support Model in Open Source

Before you even think of trying Compiere. What you should worry about. What are the issues? These are stuff that our prospects and clients went through. No holds barred. We tell it like it is.

Business Support Model in Open Source

Postby red1 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:23 pm

There has to be drawn a line between pricing and terms of support in Open Source and Proprietary environments.

Firstly the basis of both are the same, i.e. both parties sell their TIME and MATERIALS. But they may cost it differently. and based on some variables stated later. OS cost it as pure time and effort whereas Proprietary cost it as licensing and materials.

There must be no confusion as to cost against value. To think that u got Compiere codes free, means its LESS costly. The answer may be opposite.

1) If u call up an Oracle Support via Metalink, they may reply promptly but do not expect Compiere supporter to do the same as the variables could be changed:
(a) Variable one: Your codes may have changed. Do not expect the one listening to your problem even having a clue unless he goes thru what codes u have changed and that is mentally more expensive as he is going thru another person's codes and not his. (I have personally read Jorg Janke's reply to someone who changed the codes, bombed and posted in forum only to get a flat reprimand from Jorg)
(a.2) Variation: Your implementation may vary from the principal's idea of the system. Oracle doesnt allow a non-oracle discipline messing with their system. They have a certified course to follow. In the absence of such a discipline, u can expect chaos and time billings should soon follow, or else your Compiere wont be working for a long time to come.

(b) Variable two: Absence of vendor maturity. As been Open Source, it does not stay in one place of support and is spread thru many possible denominations. Oracle, or SAP or Microsoft for example has its own planned and pre-empted support.

(c) Variable three: Maturity of product. Oracle has invested time and thus cost a finished product heavily. OS hasnt invested in maturing that product and thus cost users heavily. Both have the same constraint but both shifted that constraint to different ends of the string.

Reminds me of how Housing Property is sold in some places. Some collect money before building it and some collect only after finishing it. But the point is not which is more. The bottom line is somewhere time and effort and other variables are accounted, albeit creatively.

Thus one has to take this into serious consideration and not enter the forums trying to wear the OS hat (which u cant if u are not a contributor, passionate developer or both).

I always regard that i cannot blast at the maker when he actually gave me some free lottery tickets, or regard them as a free pass to a gambling casino.

I cannot plead innocence when I lost the shirt on my back there. But then i would if no one told me what is happening. Now i m telling u.
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Postby trifon » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:38 pm

Hi Red1,

Here i would like to describe my view about "Business Support Model in Open Source".

I'm open source developer since one year and this what i see is that most of the people need fast, reliable and effective support. So in most of the cases open source projects make money by providing such support. And they are very successfull, because they are authors of source code, so they know it very well. Services of this compnaies are very good, because this is the only way they get money from customers, so they try to do it well... So customers get very good support and companies get money and cona work on their open source project. Such companies grow very fast because there is no entry fee and people just need to download product and start using it. Open source companies get many request for development, because no product is 100% ready to fit customer needs.

Currently there is no good support for compiere ERP & CRM product, that's why i believe that one team with capable Compiere developers could have success.

Regards,
Trifon
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Postby afalcone » Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:11 pm

I agree with the Trifon's concepts, but in my opinion, is very difficult to be able to offer a successful support if one doesn't have the support of Compiere Inc.

I believe that is very important to know the road that will take Compiere now that has obtained the $ 6M in funds. Up to now there has not been an official pronouncement of the company, respect to their plans, only relocating its headquarters to Silicon Valley, California.

Best regards

Alejandro
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Postby trifon » Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:23 pm

Hi,

personally i do not care about supoprt from Compiere Inc. they proved that they do not care about developers in the forum. Also all we together are much stronger than Compiere Inc. We just need to have one face for the customers to make them believe that they can get good services from the team. Difference between free and pationate people that give free help in the forum and future Compiere employees is that free people really want to help and employeed people just don't care, they want day to pass another to come and at the end of the month to get their salary.....

Problem is that customers believe that Compiere Inc. can provide them best services... or atleast this is in the beggining after 2-3 months work with Compeire Inc. most of them turn to forums...

Regards,
Trifon
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Postby afalcone » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:42 am

Hi Trifon,

yes, that you said is true. I believe that they care their business (it's made money with the control that they have on app and support).
My comment about Compiere's support was in order to know the plans that they have (if they have some....).

I believe that the success of any intent that one carry out, depends on the road that continue Compiere in the future. I'm working with Compiere, in the locating for my country, but I'm a little fearful on what can do Compiere in the future.

regards

Alejandro
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Postby trifon » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:52 am

Hi Alejandro,

I would be glat to know your fears regarding Compiere Inc. plans.

Becasue i have fears that they will stop providing sources, becaseu they will need to return this 6 mln.... so the best way for them is to push people to pay and became partners.

Regards,
Trifon
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Postby afalcone » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:03 am

Hi Trifon,

Becasue i have fears that they will stop providing sources, becaseu they will need to return this 6 mln.... so the best way for them is to push people to pay and became partners.


Yes, that is my fear too.

I have taked the training (Technical and Intensive) in the last February in San Diego, and I thought about being partner, but is very expensive for me. In our country $6.000 is a lot of money!. In addition, I don't see that the partners have many advantages in the Compiere's decisions; I believe that the product's sponsors have great power instead that their own partners.

I don't say that that be bad, surely is matter of discussion.

In other hand, I don't understand why very good projects (as 2Pack, compilo, PostgeSQL, etc) doesn't deserve the attention of the Compiere Inc. I see that Victor Perez (of e-evolution) is a Compiere's developer, but his work isn't included in the product.

Summarizing... "I have a sea of doubts, so alone I expect not to drown me in them....." :wink:

Regards

Alejandro
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Re: Business Support Model in Open Source

Postby globalqss » Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:59 am

OK Red1, thanks to invite me, I'm going to express my opinions here:

I think that you mentioned:
* Absence of vendor maturity
* Maturity of product
* Your codes may have changed
* Your implementation may vary from the principal's idea of the system

It's not a problem, it's precisely the things that give us a business
opportunity. And this is what we can try to exploit.
There are so many people around the world trying Compiere, and asking for support without partnering.
And there are partners asking for that support too!!!
In some point Compiere business is failing, the comments I heard is that
Compiere Inc. doesn't give good support for customizations.
Precisely if the implementation varies from the principal's idea of the
system, and I think that every client has particular needs that goes there.
_____________

On the other hand I think that Compiere Inc. DOES CARE about compilo/XML2AD tools, about documentation projects, and about support projects.
You can see the flames against mycompiere.
Are they doing something illegal?
Assuming that they doesn't stole the docs, but they constructed (they said that in their web site). The business is completely legal.
They give cheap training and support (at least cheaper than Compiere) and maybe their sin is not becoming partners.
_____________

Another facts:
* Compiere changes small things every version, small things that makes compilo unusable.
* Compiere has an advanced version for partners and a version for public
I'm not blaming them about this business practices, I'm just realizing what we are confronting.
_____________

Again, I'm not blaming Jorg, what I see is that Jorg is not Linus.
He has a company and needs to become profitable.
But the path they are going is nearing closed source.
It's like SUSE thing, they release versions but doesn't allow to download after months later.
Looks like all linux successful companies has propietary additions, like RedHat.

What are we going to do about that?

By the way, I enjoyed this reading:
http://sandhill.com/opinion/editorial.php?id=76

__________________

Carlos Ruiz - globalqss
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Postby red1 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:45 am

Wow Carlos, very strong points here (and thanks for that link!). And this is precisely what i want your comments to be public here so that we can guide potential customers to read this first before going to Compiere Inc or us for support. So that they know what they are in for. This is doing a free info service for them.

Its also a free marketing or presales for us, so that when they do agree to pay us, they wont treat us the same way with others. They wont argue that Compiere is bug free and that we are making things up. Or they regard that we are all powerful and can repair Compiere in a hurry.

But its obvious (as pointed out by Trifon and Alejandro) that there is a line between Compiere Inc, and the Open Source direction, and it seems to be business as usual as its with other OS projects.

Not that many people are evil but that what a champion does can bring consequence and oppurtunities (as Trifon puts it) to the market. So now that Compiere Inc has seemed to be rather commercialistic and we here been trying to practice the OS code of conduct which is not to make money out of royalty but time spent, we can further gather around and seriously consider this pact of worldwide compiere developers and give a common front to the users.

What i have been driving at in this forum thread is that all this will lead to a code of practice and policy standard, and a presales education. For example the number of hours to solve a bug or fix a setup for a customer, how long should it take? What if the customer disagrees as he/she wanted a cheap solution in the first place and often not willing to pay even extra for anything else.

I m saying that the customer must first agree with our points that we are taking advantage (correctly) of the loopholes and weaknesses in Compiere.

Thus i call for and propose standards that educate and protect both sides such as that there is a 2 time clause in rendering service:
1) First time of say 2 hours charge to determine if the bug or issue can be solved, and the customer pays for that 2 hour (USD 50 per hour). The answer can be :
i) Your problem will take 7 days to fix and we guarantee that if its more than that u dont have to pay extra.
ii) Your problem is difficult to be fix and may take longer (explanation given). Can u try for 7 days and then we see, but no guarantee?

This is the tactic i used in PC business and i believe many service providers do that too. For example u can ask a plumber to come to your house to see if he can fixed a blockage problem. He comes and say that u need completely new plumbing which cost a bomb and u dont want his service. But he ask u to pay him USD20 for his time in looking at your problem, which i paid as its fair.

2) There can be prudent total support in an Open way for example, a customer must publish her/his problem openly in our forum, and that we can all give advice and that is chargeable as an opening fee. This is so that the customer gets the maximum advice possible, and that all of us knows the context of the problem. Then we decide who to provide the support or point of contact responsible for the fixing, and fixes it, customer pays. Developer gets 80%, 20% goes to our fund for this overall management, and to pay out those who help in any indirect way.

2.2) If the developer fixing it fails, the job passes to another in the circle. And fee is spread pro-rata.

3) By doing it in open manner gives many advantages.
a) Customer has to publish her/his problem rather openly and cannot avoid not paying or else others will know and wouldnt give further support thus protecting our surety of receiving payments.
b) The content of accumulated problem solving threads assist in attracting more customers who would get free advice (as the policy of all info is free but ppl are not), and save them money first, and thus they would like this place and trust us whenever we charge for time consumed.
c) It provide us the trail and documentation to make our work more manageable and visible.
d) It resist from making what we do become closed source and so we can choose customers that are more willing to be open than close.
e) Collaboration will draw more pool of resources from developers other than us to join in and this in turn guarantee all round success, as well as drawing more customers.

3) There can also be a membership scheme where customers pay a fix yearly fee for forum support and extra for further work. Again what r the advantages and disadvantages?

In view of the starting 4 of us here in giving such like minded spirit, i m supportive of this idea of forming a circle of peers where we must first form politically, i.e. it must be official. And that we must have a policy of charging costs and resolving issues. And it must have a leader. So u choose your leader who is most mature and understanding of all these issues and has good management and resourceful as well has a very good heart.
I m not advertising for this post. I want to be an adviser :D And provide the forum for all this to happen.
I think i like to try to look out on how to contribute a fixed server co located in a web farm for the infrastructure where we can put all our codes backup and test sites.

on a sidenote, I m pretty busy with a coming challenging task that is to put Compiere into a PABX phone system where when someone calls in it brings up on the screen who is calling and his compiere records and any actions will be reflected in the CRM and Inventory and other history.

The codes are proprietary but i m not :D So i will produce another set for OS later.
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Excellent idea

Postby newdrim » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:59 pm

I think the payable help forum would be beneficial to everybody - to customers and other developers who are just learning (like me :oops: ) as well as to experienced developers who would get some motivation to help. And in the end we would have a very good knowledge base as well.

Are you guys still interested? I am willing to help set this thing up.

Andreja
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Postby red1 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:02 am

Hi Andreja,
What we are doing here is moving towards what u said, which is to provide a base for paid service. This is more possible here due to the standard definition of dotcom success which are the 3 Cs - :

1) COMMUNITY - RED1 Compiere forum is trying to interact to be a market of enough mindshare among the Compiere community. This last year has been about About 200 - 300 unique visitors a day. In order that this BAZAAR effect is so, all 3Cs must happen in tandem, and this forum has sparked and also trying to evolve to that.

2) CONTENT - We are also gathering alot of materials and experience documented here that in tun attracts such a crowd of both contributors ans users - elements of buyers and sellers. Having this controllable forum allows us to edit and delete repetitive comments, and housekeep the place to remain attractive and easily used by the community.

3) COMMERCE - Products to sell. Here the products are your time and materials - be it consultative and personal. And some has been doing so indirectly and informally thru this forum. This also happens in general in other forums. But here i seriously meant that it must happen more and true.

For that last point to happen involves and depends on the following:
a) There must be a community that has gain recognition and willing to come together so as not to dilute the bazaar energy. Here such a community is been gathered and growing.

b) The community learns to trade openly, and eventually what forms next are policies, and guilds of artisans of experts and interest groups in their various fields who can police themselves. This means a political constitution and i have propose that with the policy of (i) INFO is FREE, (ii) PEOPLE are NOT, (iii) CONTRIBUTORS are PRICELESS

Now we are evolving to a stage where people like u began to share tots and this forms a directory and reference where alot of other eyeballs will get more directed and soon more things happen.

I m humbled thru many previous dotcoms in the sense that even if this dont happen as ideally as expected, this forum threads and posting remains just as a free watering hole, albeit a better kept one.

There are generally no problem now for the established names here to get their basic service times bought by users from the community. And the buyers are getting bigger and in this thread, some may come forward and take up the 'Follow the Sun Support' that we now are in the basic sense capable of, since we are in different time zones of the globe.

For a start u have to be more visible in the forums, publishing your work and experience so that u also gain membership in this still informal Hall of Advocates. I know developers are shy people been only human, and i have been pushing with all my strength of words constantly that i m the same too, but that i just love to 'boast' (meaning share), and u really have to so that the market recognises u, your name and your capabilities. Then the trading of services takes hold thru mutual trust and confidence between parties or else no trading happens and we remain a cowboy town. But thats ok as thats what happens first in the early WWW (Wild Wild West)
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Postby newdrim » Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:48 pm

Hi, Red1!

Thanks for your reply. I can see you have a growing community here and I really appreciate all the effort that went into it. I will help where I can and hope that it will grow even more and be able to serve progressively greater audience.

One of the things where we tend to fail the most (as programmers) is adequate support for what we write. It makes me sad when I see good code with bad presentation (be it user interface, manuals or people who interact with customers). It doesn't do you any good to have great code that nobody knows how to use. And as implementors we are the customers of Compiere as well.

Andreja
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