Perspective Number 4: Adaptation to Customer Needs

Oct 23 2007

Most of the time, you want the software you install to simply do what you need. The fact is, software is not always designed to meet the very specific needs you have - though it may come close. When this happens, natural behavior would likely involve playing around with the software's code to get it to do what you wanted it to - rather than the software forcing you into unpleasant ways to get things done.

For some reason, such a software customers' natural behavior does not seem to be software vendors' main concern - when they are selling closed-source software at least. Indeed, paying integrators hefty sums of money to develop one-shot, complex & poorly effective workarounds has become some big corporations' favorite multinational sport. Now this is something weird, for there is a solution to this issue.

During the past 5 to 10 years, Open-Source software has underwent a continuous & exponential growth in quantity - as well as in quality. eXoplatform, Drupal, Nuxeo have become as many A-list contenders to the titles of best WebOS, CMS and ECM software out there. Google has started Open-sourcing parts of its code. So did Sun with Java and Adobe with Flex. In the meantime, the increasing openness of APIs has made it easier than ever before to interact with those software to get them to do exactly what you want them to.

Take XWiki. Not only is our software an highly innovative solution, but it offers vast possibilities when it comes to interfacing with other, pre-existing enterprise solutions. Now instead of paying huge sums of money for software that you will need to (pay to) get tweaked much that it will not even loosely look like the one you were buying, you could avoid the license fee and spend some wise money into building the connectors between the Open-Source software and the applications of your choice. Whatever needs to be changed to make the combination of both work more effectively can be, saving time and money from unuseful workarounds.

*Your software does what you need it to rather than things going the other way round. Isn't that what customer satisfaction is all about?* 

UPDATE: A great article about Mozilla's Open-Source philosophy.