[Evangelism] The State of Drupal

Ken Wasetis [Contextual Corp.] ken.wasetis at contextualcorp.com
Tue Nov 24 15:28:54 UTC 2009


+1 on your final idea, but perhaps instead set this up on World Plone 
Day and in various countries/locations/online.  Recorded sessions that 
could be watched later on UStream, YouTube, etc. would be invaluable, I 

Thanks for the insight on the ZEA arrangement - I was thinking something 
like this could be a possibility, but it sounds as if there are some 
details that would need to be worked out to make it run smoothly.  I 
think that the corporate CMS vendors I've dealt with in the past have 
usually broken leads out into geographic regions, and just like a 
franchise, they attempt to not have too much overlap/competition in the 
same geo area.  For instance, I know the 1-2 companies who would be the 
integrators for a RedDot/OpenText or Day Software project in the Chicago 
area.  That's been the case for 5 years with those companies (no new 
VAR/partners in the region.)

If we did a ZEA+ type organization, we could similarly 'franchise' it, 
segment market by region (and alternate or have a bidding process when 
there are multiple vendors in a region), and each participating 
organization would pay some fee to have some skin in the game and become 
a partner of the network.  The funds of which could be used for 
marketing of the org, but also for Plone in general (i.e., I'm not 
looking for a Plone integrator until I know more about Plone.)

We would need some legal help and possibly some consulting from a 
national sales/partnerships person from the commercial side.  I know a 
global partnerships guy at BEA, now Oracle, if there ends up being any 
interest later, we might get some advice from him.


Matt Hamilton wrote:
> On 24 Nov 2009, at 04:36, Dylan Jay wrote:
>>> ... 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 
>> reasons
>> 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 responsibility.
>> 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 choice.
> All makes sense. I guess this is what I've been thinking about 
> recently. The fact that the customer/integrator/vendor model that most 
> commercial CMSs use just doesn't quite fit with the way the Plone 
> community works. Or rather the Plone community doesn't quite fit with 
> it, and hence the whole buying process around buying a CMS is 
> different and often doesn't fit the existing model that customers 
> might be used to.
>>> 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.
> With Plone the is no obvious choice. In fact its more than that, there 
> almost was an obvious choice by default: Plone Solutions, but they saw 
> this as being a potential problem for the community as a whole and to 
> avoid confusion rebranded to Jarn. So as a community I think we are 
> quite against the general notion of an 'obvious choice'. Or rather 
> against the notion of *one* obvious choice for *everything*. I know 
> that there are specific companies in the Plone community that I would 
> say are the obvious choice (in my mind) for specific sectors or types 
> of work. But they have got there by proving themselves in that kind of 
> work, and not because they are the project's founder.
>> 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 start.
> We need to be careful here as we have already tried this to some 
> degree: ZEA Partners. It is a 'federation of Plone integrators'. The 
> big issue though that was found with ZEA was things like 'How do you 
> divide up the incoming work?'. Ie. if Gartner or someone had ZEA (or 
> analogous organisation) on its list then when a customer contacts 
> them, who do they then hand the work out to? I know some members of 
> ZEA already feel that this was a problem and have voiced their 
> opinions that the only people who got work in ZEA were those 'in the 
> know'.
> Then again, how fo VAR networks do it in the commercial world? Does 
> each VAR who wants the work pitch independantly to the client?
>> 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.
> I think that this is the best, albeit harder approach, but I think the 
> WCM market is heading that way anyways. From following the tweets 
> coming out of the JBoye09 conference it seems like many analysts do 
> understand this, and with the likes of SaaS and hosted solutions I 
> think they are moving that direction anyways.
> I think the panel discussion at Gilbane should do quite a bit to 
> highlight this hopefully to those that attend.
>> 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?
> Well actually that is another approach... partnering with one of the 
> big 5 or similar. Many years ago I had a meeting at Delliote with 
> someone about Netsight being the implementer of something they were 
> working on. Alas it didn't come to fruition and interestingly that 
> person left and is now head of a company specificlly dealing in 
> Alfresco and RabbitMQ work.
> Another idea that I had this morning, which I think could be really 
> good: an  'Analyst Day' at the Plone Conference. Say we took one day, 
> maybe a day immediately preceding the conference (when training is 
> happening in parallel) and invite all the analysts we can find, and 
> customers etc (basically anyone in a suit ;) ) along to come and find 
> out about Plone. The day would just have a single track and would be a 
> mix of 'big picture' roadmap type stuff specifically tailored to them 
> (ie benefits, not tech details) and some case studies. There were some 
> fantastic case studies in Budapest, and if we could ask the presenters 
> to come along a day early and present their case studies then (with a 
> slight focus towards analysts) then of course present them again later 
> in the conference proper for the community (with all the technical 
> guts etc).
> What do you think?
> -Matt

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