Open Source Franchising: Sun asks for comments on Franchising!

Today is a great day, I eventually got Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun, asking Red Monk – the first analysis firm built on open source – about franchising viability of open source services. Below the full story from the very beginning.

Happiness Happiness by Estexx

Thinking back to open source challenges described in 1999 by Michael Tiemann, more than one year ago I tried to figure out how to cope with some of them:

  • Scalability – How can a service-based business scale?
  • Sustainability – Will Cygnus be around when customers need it?.
  • Manageability – How can open-source software be managed to deliver quality consistently?.

It has never been easy providing consistent answers to those questions, and the reason could be that no one had an insight that “open source diversity” – the (frequent) absence of a Corporate actor – would really matter.

Writing down customers and vendors’ perspectives, Open Source Franchising came out almost as a natural response, and I started writing the OS franchising concept in March 2006.

Highlighting why appropriating returns from the commons was critical, along with the user-driven demand of broad IT services in commercial open source software, helped me to figure out why Sun is the perfect Franchisor.

Large companies’ and SMBs needs were discussed, showing how the first are more interested in Value-Added-Services and the latter are demanding basic services, addressable by franchisees.
I also investigated the ideal Franchise, pointing out that start-ups are the best choice.

To complete the concept I collected and discussed some analysis about the Italian OS market (IDC) and the global market (Forrester), concluding that boundaries of the opportunities space for OS outsourcing are pretty open.

I eventually finished to write the concept two months later, and I gave the concept to Franco Roman, Director of Marketing at Sun Microsystems Italy, in May 2006. Franco shared the concept with Simon over summer, but I had to wait until November to speak with Simon in person, and and I am extremely happy to know that now Simon is taking my idea into very serious consideration. Things are starting to move. Go Simon Go!

P.S.: It would be wonderful if James Governor and Michael Coté would lend themselves to start an open conversation via the comments area or their blogs on this important issue.

[commercial open source, franchising, Sun, Red Monk, Phipps]