Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Open source consulting services: Buyer's Guide

I'm sharing with you all a piece, that I wrote today, regarding the buyer's guide for Open source consulting Services. It helped me to get an insight. Please feel free to comment.

Open source consulting services: Buyer's Guide

Target Audience: Vendor Management Professionals

Six Criteria for Choosing Consulting services:

  1. Broad Experience across variety of products and platforms: Since open source products are being deployed in organizations having variety of platforms, the most common problems for clients can be related to interoperability issues and patch and version issues. Providers with many years of experience in supporting such type of configurations can be best suited for open source consulting relationships.

  2. Open Source Products and Resources: Customers should evaluate the number of vendor's trained resources and also the depth of their knowledge of open source platforms and commercial open source software. Providers who have experience in multiple open source platforms and products are well suited to deployment, migration and integration services. Training, Certification and number of years' experience should be seen while choosing the resources from the provider.

  3. Open Source community Leverage: The company having good reputation of working with the open source community in development and evolution of the product is very likely to have strong knowledge and strong support from the community. This leverage not only helps during consulting but also helps in bringing customers closer to the open source community. This leads to long term gradual smooth movement towards the open source platform and products bringing in long lasting cost benefits and strong industry standard solutions.

  4. Complete Stack Offering Leverage: Companies offering complete stack of open source products and platforms have leverage over the ones having individual products. Such provider's can deliver real value, since they can create standard suite of products or services tied to a specific stack that can be leveraged over multiple customers. This allows vendors to keep costs low, higher quality consulting, reduce problem resolution time and adhere to industry standard Service Level Agreements. Additionally, intellectual property can be created for and bundled with complete stack of open source products.

  5. Global Footprints: Companies should look for vendors with global footprints as it allows them to have 24X7 delivery and support time for on-site and offshore services. For multinational companies looking for vendors, its extremely important that the vendor has multi-lingual, multiple time zones capability and knowledge of cultural and business challenges unique to a particular geography and region.

  6. Client's Success Stories: Most of the consulting practices are long term agreements which gradually expand to multiple departments across the organization. Therefore, the customers should look for the vendors which have multi-year relationships with the other companies and their customer references. This is the true test of the good consulting provider and their vendor/client relationship because the long term contracts entails at least some complex projects requiring excellent quality consulting services.

No comments: