Case studies in an open source world

What do you want to see in an open source case study? And what is its value to you?

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The folks at Liferay gave me a singular honor yesterday.They put me in touch with Ron Cash.

Cash is one of the heroes. As Tim Duncan is to a sportswriter, or Hillary Clinton is to a political writer, so folks like Cash are to me. He manages computer systems for Colorado state government, specifically for the department of human resources. He's a player in what I just write about.

Cash described how he'd just put a Liferay application portal up for about 7,000 users. The process began a year ago, the choice was made in November, and he had the first users online around March.

"We have three main applications we developed with partners. They’re all based on Citrix. Plus we have some smaller internal-created applications." He praises the Liferay team and the community around it. He says his group also contributed code.

In short he gave me a case study.

Case studies are essential elements in the proprietary sales cycle. They ease the minds of customers, putting human faces on the change process they are being asked to make.

I'm just wondering whether they retain their value in an open source world. After all, you can download the software at any time, play with it, bring it up slowly, all without any real commitment. The giant check need never come out of your pocket. You pay only when you see value.

What do you want to see in an open source case study? And what is its value to you?



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