Proprietary Social Business Software and Its Dirty Little Secrets
by Tim Bertrand
I love it when, for the third time in the past week, we get off the phone with a customer of our Social Business Software (SBS) competitor, Jive Software, and we hear that they are playing the same games that Enterprise software companies have played for the last thirty years:
- Everything is a "customization"
- Customizations cost lots of money
- Organizations need to rely on the company or its partners to perform customizations
- The (already) proprietary instance of the software becomes to customized, it costs even more when it comes time to migrate to a new release
- Repeat and start the vicious cycle all over again
I also love it when these organizations talk about the "total cost of ownership" of an Open Source solution being higher, due to exorbitant professional services fees needed to get an Open Source platform implemented and deployed. Guess what? We heard from one customer today that the comparative cost to upgrade and "customize" their current SBS platform was nearly THREE TIMES the cost of implementing a brand new, shiny Social Business site using Drupal Commons. Even better, when they need to add features to their new Drupal Commons community site, in many cases they won't need to pay a dime because there are thousands of freely available modules available for prime time usage via Drupal.org.
Drupal is quickly becoming to organizations like Jive what JBOSS was to BEA or what MySql was to Oracle (before Oracle threw in the towel and bought the company). We will appear on the scene from the bottom up, sideways, and eventually from the top down - and soon, we'll be competing head to head in not 2 out of every 10 deals, but 7 out of every 10 Social Business Software deals - and we'll win our fair share.