Cancel your software maintenance contract?

Some unique advice from Janus Boye and a lively discussion. Janus says:

save some money in 2009: Cancel your maintenance and support (M&S) contracts with your CMS and enterprise portal vendors

I very much agree with his analysis and perspective on the value of these contracts. These contracts are nowhere near an insurance policy. I’ll also agree with his view on finding a local company that can assist you in your time of need. All that said Janus’ analysis is meaningful for organizations that have a solid support infrastructure. I have not found too many organizations that contain the type of support organization required to support these enterprise systems without an M&S contract. If you do not have a solid support organization then you may be stuck with M&S contracts because your support group doesn’t contain the necessary skills required to sustain these complex systems.

For those that do have a good and reliable support organization, over the years I’ve learned that some vendors have been known to prorate your M&S contract to get your licenses valid if you want that next major upgrade. So, if your M&S contract costs 100k per year and your contract has lapsed for 3 years and you want that next 10.1 upgrade, then vendor may charge you $300k to get your license valid. This is good because new licenses could cost $1M. However, I’d highly recommend that if you feel you support organization is solid enough to do without M&S contracts then you should look at the great open source portals and cms’s. Take a look at the Java CMS report and the CMS Watch’s open source portal report.

You know what to do! So do it!

Beyond Software Architecture

Some of you may be aware I’m currently in an Executive Master of Business Administration program right now. It is pretty exciting and I’m learning a ton. I’m currently in our marketing seminar. While I’m nearly complete with the class, I picked up a book I read a few years back. Beyond Software Architecture: Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions by Luke Hohmann.

I liked the book very much because it really gets you to think of the customer of your software solution (as us IT folks have a tough time doing sometimes). As software or solution architects we need to make sure that we have a good solution for our customers on day 1 and on day 400. The book didn’t discuss in detail how to lead development teams as it is written from a product managers view of software. Product Managers should be considered marketeers in software product companies. The book describes brand, usability, software GA & Beta release cycles, technical ease concerns (like installation and patch management) but after reading the book felt I need more and something maybe be missing.

Well I what was missing in my MBA marketing seminar. I wouldn’t recommend this book outside of a graduate level program but we are walking through Marketing Management: United States edition by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller, take a look here. I’m sure there are other books that get to the point quicker. I found that this book in combination of the Hohmann book has really given me some good insight to Creating and Sustaining Winning Solutions. I knew many of the components prior to reading either book or being in the class but its been really nice to see how it all fits together.

Currently, in software companies, all the rage is a new marketing book title Blue Ocean Strategy. I haven’t read it yet as the MBA keeps me reading a lot but it’s on my book shelf for when I get a break.

Think. Thank. Thunk.

This is out of the norm for me but what the heck it’s Friday.

Think. Thank. Thunk.

Pinot Evil
Think responsibly.

You Try to win $25 bucks!

Web 2.0 and Drupal come to the 2007 CM Pros Summit

I had a good time at the CM Pros summit this year. My presentation went fairly well with some good feedback during and after the presentation. Honestly, I felt kind of wired doing a demonstration of a tool. I rationalize the tool demo aspect by the fact that I was displaying Web 2.0 characteristics and not just demoing a tool. The demonstration site is still running.

If you’d require some assistance with your Web 2.0 initiatives and are considering Drupal please contact me.

Here is the session details:

Drupal recently became a winner of CNet’s Webware 100 award in the publishing category. Drupal is a Free and Open Source Web Content Management software and a web application framework. It is highly used and has been included in the Google Summer of Code (SoC) project. The Google SoC reference’s Drupal as being the poster child for Web 2.0 community driven web site software. I will describe and demonstrate some of the major features of the software as well as some of the limitations. Some specific features we’ll look at are the Content Construction Kit, Views, Taxonomy, and some Content Management functions.

Drupal adheres to some good content management practices. During the discussion we will look and modify some configuration areas for the more technical savvy as well as look at the content managers and content authors interfaces. Although, a computer isn’t required if you bring you laptop you will be able to log on to the site and manage content.