...in which we learn what's working with the commercial edition and make some changes. See my first post on our Open Source Philosophy for background.
I want to keep sharing how the Wildfireproject is doing from a financial perspective, and what we're doing to tweak the model so you can understand why we make decisions with the product. Unlike a lot of the larger company-sponsored open source projects, we're a bootstrapped company, so profitability is the only path to success. Plus, EIM is a very small market compared to a lot of other OSS applications (BI, CRM, etc.), so careful execution of the business model is critical.
This last quarter was an interesting one for Wildfire, most notably with the launch of Enterprise Edition in July. With the number of downloads of the OSS edition, we had expected to get a fair number of users interested in converting to the commercial edition -- this would be our first real metric in figuring out the symbiotic relationship between the two applications. We didn't expect the phone to be ringing off the hook, but (perhaps naively) expected a 1% rate of download (i.e. 1% of OSS downloaders would check out Enterprise) and a reasonable conversion process (after all, just the support and indemnity alone makes it worthwhile to a lot of companies).
The actual figure, unfortunately, was closer to .0001%. D'oh!
What happened and what have we learned?
Features: Since it was the first launch, the commercial feature set was not unique enough to convince a large number of people to try it out. EIM is an emerging market, and many people seek a basic solution. Just adding additional features like reporting and archiving is important, but it's the big value-add features (like Fastpath) that truly give the Enterprise Edition legs.
Process: The process for learning about and downloading the commercial application has been a bit cumbersome. People didn't always know that it could be easily installed as a plugin, and it was difficult for people to learn about it and why it could be really valuable to them.
Pricing: The pricing is very appealing to mid and large-sized organizations, but our smaller customers have told us it's a bit high for them.
Name: Our community have told us that they expect a product named "Enterprise" to have features that are only valuable to Fortune 1000 companies. But we had designed the product to be just as valuable to small and mid-sized organizations.
What did we do?
Name: We're keeping it as-is for now, but may change it in the near future after some more conversations with customers. Please feel free to share ideas.
Process: We have added a tab called "Enterprise" to the latest version. This makes it easy for people to learn about the features and try it out. We also want to be able to show people the usefulness of features in the context of tasks (coming later). The goal is to make it very clear what value people get by upgrading. Again, feedback is welcome.
Features: This is always improving, but we're working hard to put some great new stuff into Enterprise (and the OSS edition for that matter), but ultimately it needs to transform into a larger value-add business solution to be successful -- not just bells and whistles.
Pricing: We'll be releasing new pricing soon to make it easier for small groups to get up and running.
So, we're constantly trying to tweak the model for growth. It's a difficult process, but the OSS community (ours and other companies doing the same thing) are great at sharing what works. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, please keep the ideas coming.