A recent study by OpenLogic found that only 38 percent of enterprises said they were satisfied with the support they received from a commercial open source organization. Despite these low marks for commercial support vendors, respondents still valued open source software—79.2 percent found OSS as good or better than comparable proprietary software. And if we look a little bit further, we find that nearly 61 percent of the survey’s respondents were satisfied with the open source support they get from their own internal support staff—not an option with most proprietary offerings.
A further 49 percent reported that they were satisfied with support from community mailing lists and message boards. Even more clear from this data than inadequacy of commercial support offerings, is that there is value in the open source community, and even more value in the option of maintaining an internal set of experts.
I won’t speculate too much on what caused the shortcomings of the commercial support referenced in the survey. But I wanted to give you a preview of what we have in mind to provide industry-leading support for the Marketcetera Platform:
– Beat our own SLA—We provide a service level agreement to all of our customers in which we guarantee response time for issues. But we go beyond our guarantee, often responding in seconds or minutes rather than hours. We know that downtime is money.
– Give good answers—Our support and professional services teams have direct access to core developers of the Marketcetera platform, providing fast, in-depth answers to your questions.
– Provide indemnification—Occasionally it is said that the use of open source software opens a company up for third party claims against the intellectual property. We don’t think that’s worth worrying about, so we provide indemnification against third party claims, so that you don’t have to worry about it either.
– Own the IP—We own all of the intellectual property in the Marketcetera Platform , allowing us to provide you a more flexible commercial license should you require. Additionally that means we are the experts on our code. This is the trail blazed by Mike Olson at Sleepycat Software (acquired by Oracle). We have an active developer community, but nobody is more qualified to quickly and efficiently support our code than we are.
Like commercial open source pioneers before us like JBOSS, MySQL and Sleepycat, we at Marketcetera have put a lot of time and care developing a support model that ensures our clients are well taken care of. And since we are committed to providing the best support services of any company–proprietary or open source–we are always open to new ideas. Let us know if you have other thoughts on how best to provide open source support.