Help Selecting Open Source Consulting Services

(PRWEB) February 10, 2005

Organizations don’t have it easy when deciding which open source firms to engage for implementation, migration, support, and other consulting services. To help organizations in the process, enterprise software analyst firm, Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), launched its FOSS Evaluation Center ( on February 4, 2005, which lets end users prioritize their requirements for open source migrations or open source consulting engagements, and then matches those requirements to appropriate open source consultants or service providers. The on-line tool lets end users analyze firms on approximately 1,000 prioritized criteria covering open source-related services. It also provides access to thousands of other detailed criteria for selecting open source-based enterprise systems and office migrations.

What should organizations seeking open source software do to prepare themselves before calling on an open source vendor or consulting firm for a request for proposal (RFP)? TEC’s FOSS Evaluation Center ( concentrates on complex software selection issues. According to TEC, solutions for ERP, CRM, or SCM may fail to accomplish what customers want, because customers did not begin their selection processes with a good understanding of their requirements. From TEC’s vantage, the problem is that customers frequently do not prepare a proper request for information (RFI), and evaluate the pertinent responses from their shortlisted vendors. TEC believes its sophisticated means for performing requirements analysis will ease customers’ selection burdens.

TEC has tracked significant increases in customer demand for Free and open source software selection projects over the last several years. For example, enterprises seeking solutions based on the Linux platform in Q3 2003 made up 9.5% of TEC’s demand pool; however, that number increased to 10.8% in Q3 2004. Open source database platform demand went from 4% in Q3 2003 to 10.1% in Q3 2004. This signifies that the customers will need to rely on solid research for their software selection projects.

With an open source implementation or migration, more is involved than simply discerning the right software features. Open source solutions are apt to offer industry-specific versions from partners that have branched from the core open source project. For example, a “vanilla” open source ERP system might not be applicable in the health care industry but a partner firm working with the open source ERP project could create a specialized system meeting the exact needs of pharmacy management.

But how does the end user organization find out which partner firms offer the appropriate solution for its organization? TEC hopes to be this resource by providing its analysis and matching service to end users, consultants, and vendors.

Another frequently raised concern from organizations considering open source solutions is the availability of support. A lot of different factors must be taken into account to determine how well support services can be provided. This includes, for example, support components such as communication methods (how will the chosen firm make itself available?), processing time, self-help availability, local support presence, accountability, application or development support, etc. According to TEC analysts, every company or government organization that wishes to migrate to, or implement an open source solution, should thoroughly understand what it will need to request in terms of sponsored development, support, consulting, and training services from the firm it hires. And that is where things become a bit tricky.

For any given mature open source solution, organizations will find a number of firms claiming they can implement or provide support solutions for it. What is the customer organization to do? Which firm is most appropriate for its needs? To secure a successful project, it’s got to figure out exactly what the organization requires from the firm it hires. TEC recommends prioritizing requirements to reflect what is most important, and knowing exactly how each of the company’s shortlisted firms will support those requirements.

About Technology Evaluation Centers Inc. (TEC)

Since 1993, TEC has been developing sophisticated decision support software, enabling users to evaluate and select enterprise software technology, which is best tailored to their needs. Last year TEC adapted its evaluation system to analyze services as well as software functionality. For more information, see the company’s web site

About the Free and Open Source Software Evaluation Center

The FOSS Evaluation Center is a new on-line decision support system featuring research on some of the more well-known open source project firms (with additional firms rapidly being added). The knowledge base consists of close to 1,000 criteria for analyzing open source consulting and service providing firms. For more information, see the web site at


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