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“WE GET IT” CHECKLIST FOR VENDORS – Plone

19 Nov

I just realized that Plone was missing from the A reality check for vendors by Kas Thomas (CMS Watch).

So here it is, the

Plone CHECKLIST

1. Our software comes with an installer program.

Yes, the Plone Universal installer.

2. Installing or uninstalling our software does not require a reboot of your machine.

Yes. Moreover the software is platform independent.

3. You can choose your locale and language at install time, and never have to see English again after that.

No. Installation is in english only (although the CMS user interface is available in about 50 languages).

4. Eval versions of the latest edition(s) of our software are always available for download from the company website.

Yes. As a full open source product the entire latest version is always available (also unreleased and in-development versions are).

5. Our WCM software comes with a fully templated “sample web site” and sample workflows, which work out-of-the-box.

Yes. Plone comes with one sample web site and four different sample workflows out-of-the-box

6. We ship a tutorial.

Yes. Tutorials are always available on Plone.org

7. You can raise a support issue via a button, link, or menu command in our administrative interface.

No. Not there, yet. Open Source Community support can be obtained for free, Professional support depends on the Plone Provider selected.

8. All help files and documentation for the product are laid down as part of the install.

We don’t ship end-user documentation as part of the install. But all the documentation is available online and there are several end-user, integrator and developer books.

9. We run our entire company website using the latest version of our own WCM products.

Yes, sure!

10. Our salespeople understand how our products work.

Yes, they usually do. And many of them are developers of the core software itself and in general they are fans of the product.

11. Our software does what we say it does.

Yes it does. It also sometimes does something no one has advertised, unfortunately. Being Open Source, you can also independently verify it does exactly what it claims.

12. We don’t charge extra for our SDK.

Yes. We don’t charge.

13. Our licensing model is simple enough for a 5-year-old to understand.

Yes. Not sure everybody really understand how free software works. But they should and my 5 year old son at least knows that I do a real job.

14. We have one price sheet for all customers.

Everything is free but the customization, support or hosting services. Plone has about 300 integrators / providers worldwide.

15. Our top executives are on Skype, Twitter, or some similar channel, and: Feel free to contact them directly at any time.

Yes they are. The whole community is there.

To the Plone Community: Did I forgot something? Please comment.

Long live to my favourite Web CMS.

Plone vs. Sharepoint round 2: a by-platform feature comparison

20 Aug

An organization we at Reflab work with recently re-evaluated Plone against Sharepoint 2007; their main requirements are related to document management, where Sharepoint is for sure quite strong.

What’s interesting, is that they made the comparison also considering the different platforms and browsers their organization uses.

Here are the results of their analysis and tests, they where so kind to share them with us, I checked them and translated them. I hope you’ll find them useful.

Feature – Requirement

Windows XP

Linux

SharePoint Sever 2007

Plone 3.1.7

SharePoint

Plone 3.1.7

IE 7.0 / Suite Office 2007

IE 7.0 / Suite Office 2003

Firefox 3.0/ Office 2003

Firefox 3.0

IE 7.0

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3.0

Use of templates Y Y Y (1) Y (1.1) Y (1.1) Y (1) Y(1.1)
Automatic Minutes of Meetings
Y Y Y Y(1.2) Y(1.2) Y N(1.2)
Collaborative Management of the documentation Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Off-line management of the documentation Y(2) Y Y Y(1.3) Y(1.3) Y Y(1.3)
Workflow checks on doc Y Y N(3) Y Y N(3) Y
Automatic Versioning
Y Y Y Y Y(1.4) Y Y
Visualization/Management on File System Y Y N Y(1.5) Y(1.5) N Y(1.5)
Indexed search and smart folders
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Notification of new versions of a document Y Y Y N(1.6) N(1.6) Y N(1.6)
Different file formats management Y(4) Y(4) Y(7) Y Y Y(7) Y
WebPart/HTML Pages Management
Y Y N Y Y N Y
Mobile tools
Y (5) Y (5) ? ? ? ? ?
Todo Lists Y Y Y(3) N N Y(3) N
Shared calendar
Y(6) Y(6) Y(6) Y(1.7) Y(1.7) N Y(1.7)

Other Features

Windows XP

Linux

SharePoint Sever 2007

Plone 3.1.7

SharePoint

Plone 3.1.7

IE 7.0 / Suite Office 2007

IE 7.0 / Suite Office 2003

Firefox 3.0/ Office 2003

Firefox 3.0

IE 7.0

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3.0

Massive documents upload
Y Y N Y(2.2) Y(2.2) N Y(2.4)
Send To Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Date Picker Control Y Y N(2.1) N(2.1) N(2.1) N(2.1) N(2.1)
File ordering
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Structure templates
N(2.3) N(2.3) N(2.3) Y Y N(2.3) Y
Labels
Y – Compatibile: all or most of the aspects are equivalent
N – Not compatibile: the functionality is not available or not fully working. Unless otherwise specified in Sharepoint these features require ActiveX controls, that are available in Internet Explorer only.
?- Not found or not easy to define
Notes:
(1) Only through the Upload Document and not New.
(2) Integrated
(3) Problems on the user management (javascript or ActiveX) that participate to the WF or to the activities.
(4) No real support and management of the Wiki format, if not as HTML page.
(5) Not tested
(6) Outlook only
(7) Wiki and HTML not working.
(1.1) Addon Product: Plone Templates 1.0 (Beta release 2)
(1.2) Only through template product
(1.3) Addon Product: Working Copy Support (Iterate) 1.1.5 for the checkIn-checkOut
(1.4) history view integrated in the page not working
(1.5) With Enfold Desktop for Windows, or through a WebDav client
(1.6) Needs to be setup with a Content Rule
(1.7) Addon Product: Plone4ArtistsCalendar 1.1 – some features (different colours for integrated calendars) not compatible with Plone 3.1.7
(2.1) The user can add events with New Event
(2.2) With Enfold Desktop
(2.3) Need programming
(2.4) With navigation applications like WebDav

Some of the findings could be debated and are hard to evaluate, but I really found useful the approach of of taking into account  the platform/browser compatibility.

Other resources on Plone vs. Sharepoint:

If you’re interested in the comparison and maybe doing a cms software selection don’t miss the:

Plone vs. Sharepoint by Carlos De La Guardia where you’ll  find a link to a paper about an internal comparison of Plone and Sharepoint for a corporate web site published by the University of Leicester.

Is Plone a Good CMS? by Janus Boye: Janus is definitively one of the best cms consultants I know, but please read also the excellent comment to his post.

Other instersting related comparisons reported by Ken Wasetis are the Idealware Report and the  Why Sharepoint Scares Me post.

Finally, my friend Nate Aune (Jazkarta) of the most active Ploners and Plone Evangelists on the planet suggested:

Cyn.in is a Plone-based intranet solution and here is a blog post describing how it compares to Sharepoint in terms of pricing: http://blog.cynapse.com/cynin-low-cost-alternative-to-sharepoint

Katie Cunningham also has some interesting things to say about Sharepoint at NASA, and why they went with Plone instead.
http://elephantangelchild.blogspot.com/2009/04/nasa-science-case-study-part-i-why.html

Disney replaces Sharepoint with Plone
http://theploneblog.org/blog/archive/2006/03/04/podcast-plone-at-disney

Karl discusses Plone and Sharepoint on his blog
http://plonemetrics.blogspot.com/2009/04/plone-and-sharepoint.html

and of course the Plone vs. MOSS – round 1 post.

10 characteristics of a salesman

25 Jun

I am back from a discussion with (master) Dedalo Piffer, probably the best salesman I’ve ever met.

The discussion was on the characteristics (aka attributes) that a person should have to be a good salesman.

It seems there are 10 of them and all 10 must be at a reasonably high level: having a bad score at only one of those will compromise the whole and will never allow that person to reach a higher level.

What I also found very interesting in the discussion is that most of these characteristics are also necessary in many other fields and some are in general very interesting attributes that a person should  have for a professional growth.

Let’s see them:

1. Determination

the power to pursue objectives, with self-motivation and perseverance

2. Medium to high technical preparation

as a very high technical level will make the focus shift from business and sales to technical issues, resulting in discussions about technical problems, critical aspects and in general negative elements instead that focusing on value for the customer, positive effects and return on investment.

3. Capacity to inspire Trust

as a person, as a company, as product and services that I represent. All of those three.

4. Ability to quickly identify the Power Base

that is the group of the most important, influent people for the sale. Doing the right thing at the right time with the wrong person will not work. And speed is essential.

5. Ability to quickly identify the Critical Issues

for the customer, his main problems and where the products and services we have can give the maximum added value.

6. Capacity to ride (even create) a Compelling Event

the urgent need that will make the customer close the deal and not procrastinate forever. This capacity is especially important in tough times like the crise we’re in.

7. Have the courage to ask Customer Committment

at some point of the sales process: have the customer promise a contract with a certain amount at a set date.

8. Ability to negotiate the Closure

of the deal never losing control, never getting nervous, never giving up.

9. Capacity to build, day by day, a human capital

a network of relations that will lead to other relations and sales. This is primarily what the salesman will leverage to call high and grow.

10. Passion

and enthusiasm. Passion and the ability to inspire passion in the people. My favourite one.

Achieving only average levels in all ten of those is for some people very hard. I am one of those: very strong in a few points above but too weak in some others; I’ll probably never be a salesman, but I enjoy understanding how it works and when looking for a salesman for my company I’ll be careful evaluating the candidates over these 10 characteristics.

Last but not least other recently discussed (very broad) topics I love:”Exit the confort zone” and “Think big, start small“. These two have never been more important for me than now.

Books:

Strategic Selling

Power Base Selling

Target Account Selling (TAS)

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