I hope it was no surprise that my keynote at FOSS4G this week was partly about open source business models and the whole product, because that’s what I’ve been thinking about (and to an extent, blogging about here) for the last six months or so.
And the good news (to me) is that the concept appears to be striking a chord among right folks: managers and system integrators. We are getting lots of good feedback at the booth from those folks in addition to the regular stream of highly technical folks who are happy to chew the fat with our team of core developers.
On the business side, I think the system integrators are the really important ones. They can move from coming to clients with three or four different projects pulled from different places with different support options to coming in with just one infrastructure piece, the OpenGeo Suite. And on top of that, they can make use of the facilities of GeoServer and GeoExt to build nice tightly focussed business apps. The sales proposition for them with conservative customers gets a lot cleaner: the business app the client wants plus a single infrastructure piece with simple support story.
I have also been hearing tales of woe about the local distributors for the Leading Brand elbowing out independents for services work, which will seed a nice collection of disgruntled folks looking for an alternative.
So the challenge comes back to us: execute, execute, execute, on the technical side of polishing the Suite into a whole product worthy of the mainstream market, and on the business side signing up local partners to carry the message forward.