[Evangelism] The State of Drupal
djay at pretaweb.com
Tue Nov 24 15:26:57 UTC 2009
On 24/11/2009, at 9:46 PM, 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
>> 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 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"
> 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
Well Acquia and Plone Solutions aren't the same thing. Plone solutions
was a integrator that competed with other integrators. Acquia is a
support company. It's much more like redhat.
> *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.
When I said "obvious choice" I was really meaning someone to demo
plone and someone to sue, not so much someone to do the integration
work. I think managers are used to evaluating many companies are their
service ability, but I don't think they are used to dealing with
multiple companies to evaluate a single product and for support. See
I get the feeling Acquia helps other integrators get more work rather
than compete for teh same work.
>> 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
ah. I didn't mean with regard to bidding for work. I meant we all
supply out financial details to an auditor so that we can get an
aggregated figure of how much revenue plone makes globally. Question
is, if we release a press release saying the plone integrator network
makes 50M a year or whatever the figure is, then will anyone pay
> Then again, how fo VAR networks do it in the commercial world? Does
> each VAR who wants the work pitch independantly to the client?
They compete against each other and bid for work independently like we
all do. I think in some instances the product company might recommend
an integrator but I'm not sure how they choose which one.
>> 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
SaaS really isn't such a good analogy. SaaS is much more like a
product than the plone ecosystem is. SaaS normally is a single company
which can be valued by auditors, selected by managers exactly in the
same way sharepoint or any vendor back product.
A better analogy is graphic design, PR, plumbing, IT management...
Anything that involves people not a product.
> 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
> 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.
I agree. Anyone with connections to consulting companies, try and find
out how Plone could be made recommendable.
> 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?
I think it's a great idea. Would they come?
There is only one way to find out which is to ask them. Alternatively
perhaps we could do the same thing at a more general CMS conference
that lots of analysts are already at?
> Matt Hamilton matth at netsight.co.uk
> Netsight Internet Solutions, Ltd. Understand. Develop.
> http://www.netsight.co.uk +44 (0)117
> Web Design | Zope/Plone Development & Consulting | Co-location |
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