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Acquia

Mobile app dev at heart of website redesign [May 9, 2012]

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mercredi, le 9 mai 2012h
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Search CIO

Michael Le Du and his development team have become rather successful at getting beautiful women to share pictures of themselves. In fact, they make it look easy. Lest there be some misunderstanding, there's nothing untoward happening here -- just a little website redesign.

Le Du is chief technology officer at New York City-based Maxim magazine, which is published by Alpha Media Group Inc. Here, the good-looking gal next door is good for ROI. He is one of a growing number of IT leaders rethinking their website design strategies as business and customer needs continue to shift to a consumer-friendly, mobile-app-centric world.

In January the popular men's lifestyle magazine relaunched its website with an eye toward an enhanced mobile user experience and back-end agility. Le Du successfully got Maxim off its legacy content management system and onto an open source CMS in partnership with Acquia Inc., a commercial open source software vendor for the Drupal open source Web development platform.

App dev a way to improve user experience
"Hometown Hotties" was part of Maxim's ambitious three-month website redesign. The "hotties" also happen to be a good example of the growing importance of mobile app dev in enhancing the user experience. What's good for the user is good for the business.

Hometown Hotties is a longstanding Maxim feature. Essentially, women submit images and information about themselves from any device. Site users vote for their favorites, and the women with the most votes move on to increasingly competitive rounds until a favorite is chosen and becomes a Hometown Hottie. The winner becomes a spokesperson for Maxim -- which wins too, in that it gains new promotional options... Read more.

Dries Buytaert: Open source entrepreneur [May 3, 2012]

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jeudi, le 3 mai 2012h
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Business Insider

GrowthBusiness sits down with Drupal founder Dries Buytaert to find out when the platform really started to take off and how the inventor-cum-entrepreneur is planning on monitising Drupal through open source software company Acquia.

IBM’s SugarCRM Deal Is a Sweet Sign for Commercial Open Source Software [May 1, 2012]

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mardi, le 1 mai 2012h
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CIO Journal

IBM’s recent decision to replace its Oracle Siebel customer management system with SugarCRM’s web-based application is a big vote of confidence in commercial open source software.

Commercial open source software can be appealing to corporations because it often includes legal protections, quality controls and customer service. It has been used by startups such as Eucalyptus, which provides software for private clouds, and Acquia, which provides service and support for Drupal open-source content management systems.

The combination of open source code and quality controls helps companies such as SugarCRM compete with much larger rivals such as Oracle and Salesforce.com, which sell software based on proprietary standards.

17 Enterprise Startups To Bet Your Career On [May 2, 2012]

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mercredi, le 2 mai 2012h
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Business Insider

Acquia has a famous founder and is the go-to company for millions of web sites.

Company: Acquia
Location: Burlington, MA
What it does: The support and hosting arm for companies using Drupal. Drupal is a popular free, open source content management systems used to build websites.
Founded: 2007
Funding: $38.5 million
Why it's hot: Drupal was written by Dries Buytaert when he was college and it organically grew into a massively popular CMS today.

Companies turning to enterprise social business for collaboration, integration [April 25, 2012]

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mercredi, le 25 avril 2012h
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Search Manufacturing ERP

The explosion in open source computing and cloud computing options has created a new level of thinking in the design of enterprise process execution and how these processes use -- or simply integrate with-- traditional and proprietary software. So-called Tier 2 computing, which combines the on-premises applications traditionally used to execute business processes with cloud-based applications, is also gaining acceptance, particularly where formal operations are temporarily needed (such as mergers and acquisitions) or user levels have not achieved critical mass to deploy a full instance of an application. Enterprise social business tools sit at the crossroads of these trends.

With enterprise social business tools, organizations can leverage the collaborative effects of having processes executed within their “four walls” or throughout their value chain in either a cloud-based or on-premises environment, using either a proprietary or open source platform. Key organizational functions such as purchasing, supplier management and product development appear to be good candidates for enterprise social business. Early results look promising.

Open source computing options for collaboration

I recently had the opportunity to drop in on the DrupalCon 2012 event in Denver. Drupal is an open source computing platform that allows for a number of enterprise-wide activities to be executed in a secure and structured environment. To date, larger traditional platforms that are widely used for program microsites and collaboration--such as Microsoft SharePoint--and enterprise data management (EDM) platforms, such as Oracle mySQL, provide ready-to-use application program interfaces (APIs) to Drupal and other components of a Linux application management process commonly referred to as LAMP.

Dorm room to boardroom [April 17, 2012]

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mardi, le 17 avril 2012h
,
Growth Business UK

Describing himself as an academic at heart, Dries Buytaert never thought of charging people for the system that now sits behind one in 50 websites. GrowthBusiness finds out how he’s monetising Drupal while staying true to its open source principles.

It’s a scene familiar from movie screens: a Red Bull-guzzling university student programming away into the small hours on a venture destined to change the world.

However, for Dries Buytaert the hours spent burning the midnight oil during his final year of a Masters degree have turned his hobby into a business that is now powering 2 per cent of global websites.

Drupal, an open source content management system, was devised by the Belgian national to allow users to build websites with functions such as blogging and RSS feeds. Like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Buytaert began with modest ideas about the potential of the tool he was creating.

‘I initially wanted to build a message board to exchange messages with my friends,’ Buytaert says. ‘I set out to work on it for a couple of nights, but ended up developing it for a number of years.’

Having started Drupal in 2001, Buytaert spent the next six years honing his platform, in between dipping back into academia to complete a PhD in computer science, and a quick stint at a software start-up in Belgium.

Critical mass
It was then that all the work began to pay off. ‘I remember one day, I think it was 2006 or 2007, when all of a sudden MTV UK started using Drupal, and then NASA started to as well. That was a personal moment, it felt like additional responsibility,’ he adds.

However, Drupal still hadn’t made Buytaert a penny. Its widespread adoption was driven by the fact that it was, and is, open source, and Buytaert refers to the ‘community’ of developers who use and add to the system. Drupal users have doubled in number each year, and it now has 1.5 million unique users per month.

‘I think open source is changing the way websites are being built, and it’s having a massive impact on the web. It’s a way of democratising the internet,’ Buytaert claims.

This was all very well, but Buytaert still didn’t have a way of turning his ‘passion’ into a full-time job. Together with Jay Batson, who founded successful unified communications company Pingtel (later acquired by Nortel), he founded Acquia in 2007.

Acquia was established to monetise the open source system that Buytaert had produced back in his university dorm, by providing products, services and technical support for Drupal.

‘For Drupal to get to the next level it needed to be successful in the enterprise, to help larger organisations use it: so that’s why we started Acquia,’ he explains.

Acquia’s UK base is in Oxford. ‘I guess I’m an academic inside,’ says Buytaert. ‘We want to attract young, ambitious people, and university towns are the place to do that. It also keeps costs down not being in the big cities.’

Buytaert won’t disclose Acquia’s turnover or profit, but he says that fundraising for the company was on the agenda from day one for a couple of reasons. ‘Firstly, we wanted to take advantage of the fact that Drupal was already established globally in order to monetise it on a worldwide scale.

‘Secondly, the kind of company that we are building is relatively human-intensive. We are in the business of providing commercial-grade support 24/7, and it takes more than just a handful of people to do that well.’

Buytaert and Batson started with a trip to Boston, Massachusetts, pitching to a group of carefully selected VCs who matched what Acquia was looking for.

Bigger appetite
For Buytaert, the difference between American and European venture capitalists is one of scale. VCs in the US have deeper pockets, as well as a desire to stay with an investee company for longer.

‘Also, the VCs we have worked with have much more operational experience than those we have met elsewhere,’ he adds. ‘All of them have been CEOs of several companies and experienced several exits.’

Following on from Acquia’s $7 million (£4.4 million) Series A funding round, which included the likes of North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners, the business has gone on to raise a further $31.5 million in growth capital. Its Series D round in July 2011 netted the company $15 million.

The process of raising funds is one that Buytaert says ‘took a lot of work’. To prepare for the Series A round, he surrounded himself with people who brought business experience to the company.

‘Building a company is all about building the right team,’ he says. ‘The best thing I’ve done is recruited a talented team of people with the right attitude, passion, integrity, knowledge and aptitude – and who are smarter than myself.
‘By surrounding myself with them I have learned a lot about building an enterprise business, and continue to learn to this day.’

Another benefit of investing early in manpower is that Buytaert can afford to take the occasional few weeks off while the business continues to hum along.

‘It also allows me to change my focus on a weekly or monthly basis. Sometimes I find myself working on different projects, while other times I am doing a lot of sales and marketing,’ he says.

Building a successful technology business takes a careful balance of resources between product development and marketing. Drupal continues to host its DrupalCon community events, where numbers have now swelled from an initial gathering of 40 people in Antwerp back in 2005 to its last get-together of more than 3,000 people in Denver during March. ‘On any given weekend there will be maybe up to five different DrupalCamps around the world,’ says Buytaert.

World leadership
In Buytaert’s view, there’s a key difference between US and European start-ups when it comes to growth strategy. ‘I feel there is a belief in Europe that it is better to own all of the company, whereas in the US they want to go fast and are willing to give up more equity in order to grow fast.’

He points out, ‘In the US, people are ok with owning a smaller piece of something bigger rather than a bigger piece of something smaller.’

This strategic rationale ultimately has an impact on success rates, he says. The reluctance to seek outside funding leads to start-ups being ‘underinvested’ and missing out on opportunities.

However, being a web entrepreneur with global ambitions is much easier than it was ten years ago, he says. The world is ‘flatter’ than it used to be, meaning that it’s easier to reach a global audience; as a result, there is room for smaller start-ups that are still profitable and healthy.

Passing it on
Buytaert’s ability to see such opportunities is one of the reasons that he works with various start-ups as an adviser, giving them the benefit of the experience he has gained through building Drupal and going through four rounds of fundraising for Acquia. ‘I try to help them out with all aspects of their business, and it’s a very interesting process for me,’ he says, adding that he would like to try his hand at angel investing in future.

Another motivation for working with start-ups is that Buytaert wishes he’d had more help himself when building Drupal.

‘When I was younger, I underestimated the value of people in your life that you can go to with hard questions. It’s important for entrepreneurs to build up their networks so that they can call upon them when they need to.’ It’s another example of the ‘community’ ethos that is central to Drupal and which Buytaert clearly relishes.

Away from his work with Drupal, Acquia, and other people’s ventures, Buytaert is having a go at bootstrapping a business himself. His start-up, Mollom, is a tool that aims to filter out spam from website comments, forum posts and contact form messages.

With a much smaller team of five, Mollom is already a ‘profitable, healthy business’ that currently filters out spam on 50,000 websites around the world.

Help at hand
It sounds like Buytaert is a busy man, but he says his days (and nights) are less frenetic than they used to be, and he’s now in a position to enjoy family life.

All-night programming sessions and back-to-back conference calls are behind him now, and he is quick to acknowledge the role of the VC capital that Acquia has secured in restoring a modicum of free time to his existence.

The beauty of Buytaert’s dorm room discovery is that the community he has built will continue to contribute towards the evolution of the platform. Its members come from different countries and cultures, but they share the passion for open source that he possesses. That’s why he isn’t overly worried about competitors.

‘We have thousands of people all around the world working 24/7 and being extremely passionate about it, often working for free. It will just blow the others away.’

Acquia and Drupal Experiencing Widespread Moves to Open Source Software [April 9, 2012]

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lundi, le 9 avril 2012h
,
Sand Hill

Quickly growing open source software company Acquia provides products, services and support for enterprises using the open source Drupal social publishing system. I spoke with CEO Tom Erickson about the hot trends today and how open source will impact enterprises in the next few months.

European public services must follow Iceland's open-source lead [April 5, 2012]

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jeudi, le 5 avril 2012h
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Public Service Europe

To many in the private sector, the idea of super-size contracts that are expensive to run and almost impossible to break free from seems ludicrous. Jim Shaw explains more...

Digital Bungalow Named Enterprise Select Partner of Acquia [April 2, 2012]

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lundi, le 2 avril 2012h
,
Yahoo News

Acquia, the leading provider of commercial solutions for Drupal, has named Digital Bungalow an Enterprise Select Partner. For web development firms, this is the most distinguished partnership possible, made with just 16 firms globally. The partnership provides Digital Bungalow with the highest level of field assistance and support for their Drupal initiatives.

"We’re thrilled to be recognized by Acquia as one of the world’s leading Drupal development firms. Digital Bungalow developers are on the leading edge of custom Drupal development for websites, mobile, and eCommerce," said Nate Wolfson, President of Digital Bungalow. "We have recently built websites for Humana and Showcase Cinemas on the Drupal platform, and with the help of Acquia, we are able to streamline, customize and maximize our clients’ CMS capabilities."

“Digital Bungalow has become a valuable partner and Drupal advocate,” said Tim Bertrand, VP of Worldwide Field Sales at Acquia. “We look forward continuing to strengthen our partnership and the benefit that will bring to both organizations.”

Acquia's partnership with Digital Bungalow builds on Drupal's continued success. Drupal is one of the world’s largest, open-source content management systems that empowers non-technical users to easily update their website content. With nearly 14,000 contributed modules, developers can piece modules together to build an effective content management system, tailored to the needs of the client.

About Digital Bungalow
Founded in 1999, digital marketing and technology agency Digital Bungalow develops websites, custom applications, and marketing campaigns that drive business results for regional and national businesses. Clients include Bob’s Discount Furniture, Carrier Corporation, Dow Jones, Humana, and Showcase Cinemas. For more information, visit www.digitalbungalow.com or @DigitalBungalow on Twitter.

About Acquia™, The Enterprise Guide To Drupal
Acquia empowers enterprises with the open-source social publishing system Drupal. Co-founded by Drupal's creator in 2007, Acquia helps customers manage their growth and scale their online properties with confidence. Acquia's products, cloud infrastructure, and support enable companies to realize the full power of Drupal while minimizing risk, as it's done for 2,000 enterprise customers including Twitter, Al Jazeera, Turner, World Economic Forum, Stanford University, New York Senate and NPR. See who's using Drupal at www.drupalshowcase.com and for more information please visit www.acquia.com or call 888-9-ACQUIA.

Red Hat Becomes First Billion Dollar Open Source Firm [March 29, 2012]

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jeudi, le 29 mars 2012h
,
Tech Week Europe

Red Hat has fulfilled its long-held ambition to be the first open source company to do a $1 billion in annual revenue.

The company, which provides servoce and support for Linux based systems to businesses, has been aiming for this goal for several years, but announced in a conference call yesterday, that it had finally beaten that barrier with 965.6m in subscription sales and $167.5m in services sales over its financial year, which ended in February.

Open source consulting is up
Red Hat’s growth was particularly high, with subscriptions and services up 25 percent and 23 percent respectively, said CEO Jim Whitehurst in a celebratory conference call.

Red Hat’s model of converting users of free software into paying customers has played well in the recession, and increasing government support for open source has worked in its favour.

And these are not small contracts. The conference call revealed that Red Had has done more than thirty deals greater than $1 million in the last year, and even has three $5 million deals.

The large deals tend to include Red Hat’s JBoss middleware, and its enterprise virtualisation product RHEV.

Red Hat has done well from the cloud, given that its business model allows easy expansion. At the same time as its earnings announcement, the company announced service level agreements for OpenShift, its platform as a service (PaaS) product.

Red Hat is very much the exception on open source companies, and smaller brethren gathered to pat it on the back: “This is a huge milestone for the open source software industry, and signals the coming of age for the OSS business model,” said Tom Erickson, chief executive of Acquia.

“Reaching the billion dollar mark is a major achievement for any organisation, and today’s news demonstrates that open source innovation can survive and thrive despite challenging economic conditions. This announcement is also a tribute to the limitless talents of the developer community, proving that a collaborative approach can deliver, not only innovation, but also spectacular results.”

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