More and More – The Value of the Community Becomes Clear

I am seeing more and more proprietary vendors take on aspects of open source providers these days. I think it all started when SAP began its forums project, which quickly ramped up to a lot of members and contributors in those areas.  Salesforce.com has its “idead” area, which has allowed them to glean product ideas from its user base.

Now, Maximizer is going to foster a site it is calling “CRM Central” to allow its user base to communicate and also allow the company to learn from those interactions.

These are all good ideas, and a move in the right direction. The world is shrinking, becoming flat, whatever you want to call it…and interactions between users of similar technologies has to be supported.

But what we haven’t seen much of from these closed-source firms is an opening of their products to the community in more interesting ways. Now, I’m not saying go completely open (though it’s not a bad idea – that is, if your code is really as good as you claim it to be), but some openign up will allow these communities to grow.

The SugarCRM example is the easiest to make – just look at SugarForge – we now have more than 500 extensions and apps avaialble over there – all for FREE. That is 100% due to the amazing community that Sugar has been able to attract thanks to being open…