Subject: Re: filtering for expensive customers?
From: Sergio Montoro Ten <sergiom@knowgate.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 20:56:20 +0100

It is my personal belief that it works just the opposite way: the more 
in-house know-how that a customer has, the more likely is that he favors 
F/OSS.

This is because the highly experienced customers like the added control 
that they can have over software when they use F/OSS, whilst customers 
that do not have anysoftware development skills of their own do not care 
of whether the software is open or not, as they cannot take advantadge 
of the Open Source nature of whet their are using.

I think that this point of view can be supported by a couple of articles.
One from Andrew Conry-Murray in Information Week stating the SMEs fear 
Open Source because they do not have the IT manpower neccesary to 
install and run Free Software.

http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=192300168&subSection=Open%20Source

And another study from Simula Labs that reveals that 33% of customers 
choose F/OSS because of the extra feeling of control that it gives.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/?epi_menuItemID=989a6827590d7dda9cdf6023a0908a0c&epi_menuID=c791260db682611740b28e347a808a0c&epi_baseMenuID=384979e8cc48c441ef0130f5c6908a0c&ndmViewId=news_view&newsLang=en&div=-762569457&newsId=20060816005229

So my conclusion is that the more developers a customer has, the more it 
favors F/OSS over closed source software, as developers tend to preffer 
F/OSS and influence the decision makers when the time to buy comes.

Sergio Montoro Ten.
hipergate.org

> Hello All,
>   I have recently struck a reflection that I consider interesting:
>
>  Postulate: Market analysts tell us that the #1 competitor to F/OSS 
> companies is internal expertise at the customer site: in short, if the 
> local crew is smart and attuned with the state of the software they 
> want to deploy, possibly even maintaining ties to the relevant part of 
> the community, they will deploy and support said software themselves. 
> Vendors might come in (much) later, and only because of a need to 
> blame-shift in very large/critical deployments (or in the mind of a 
> new director of IT operations ;-)
>
>  Given the premise above, it looks like more often than not F/OSS 
> vendors are vying for the business of the customers who do *not* have 
> sufficient on-site expertise - in other words, it looks like one might 
> be selecting customers coming from the most clueless part of the pool!
>
>  Why is this an F/OSS concern? Well, we all know that, in general, 
> engineers like to think that "customers suck", but this thinking 
> pushes it to a new level: while in the proprietary market, all 
> customers must purchase support from you, in our brave new world, only 
> the less clueful  need to. Besides the inherent higher stress this 
> places on the support crew, this is also expensive from a business 
> perspective - the ideal support customers are, obviously, the ones who 
> never need it.
>
>  Am I wondering about the obvious?  Perhaps I am being too 
> pessimistic. But if you accept the postulate, the thesis seems to follow.
>
>  Best-F
>