OXID Partners Day 2009: Commercial Open Source in Full Swing

The fifth annual OXID Partners Day took place last Tuesday the 27th of October at Freiburg, Germany and it was an awesome event. More than 150 partners, with whom we’re working very closely together, attended to talk about the future OXID business roadmap and discuss what’s important. Most of them were OXID Solution Partners, certified by OXID. These Partners implement customer projects and develop extensions for OXID eShop.

First year into open source a full success

Roland Fesemayr, the OXID CEO, started with a summary about one year commercial open source. Back in 2008, when we transitioned from a proprietary to an open-source business model, several people asked us if we’re crazy going this step? Nevertheless, we were convinced that being open source is the better way to develop software and the better way to distribute software. One year later, we see that this is definitely true!

We experience daily that open source is the best way to improve software quality and speed of development. Customers have a completely transparent view inside the system, can use it for commercial business and are free in their decision to use our open source edition (OXID eShop Community Edition) or our supported commercial products (OXID eShop Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition). Additionally, less effort in marketing/distribution allows us to invest more in product development.

Especially enterprise businesses are highly interested in open source software. Some main reasons are:

  • avoiding vendor lock-in
  • worldwide community with product-related expertise
  • proven better quality of software
  • … which severs as an optimal basis to build custom solutions
  • freedom of Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
  • and of course the rapid pace of innovation

The eCommerce operating system

Roland pointed out OXID’s vision of the eCommerce operating system, which provides modularized functionality to meet the requirements of future business models. In future eCommerce solutions, on-premise shop systems such as OXID eShop will serve as an application platform tightly integrated with a cloud-based repository of extensions. With OXID eFire, we already have this infrastructure available which enables shop owners to get access to the eCommerce service cloud right now.

Growing complexity of eCommerce projects

Our Head of Sales, Michael Benz, gave a detailed presentation about common challenges for our partners as well as OXID in today’s eCommerce market. He furthermore informed participants about the updated OXID sales strategy.

In sum, eCommerce projects are getting larger and more complex. Our partners will increasingly have to focus on professional project management. Particularly the requirements of system integration and the modeling of automized processes becomes important. Actually, eCommerce projects are always mission critical. Any solution failure is expensive!

The OXID key accounting staff provides close teamwork to support partners in their sales process. The technical certification of the OXID partners is an important instrument to ensure the quality of customer projects and is now also available in English language for our international partners!

Manufacturers and wholesalers start selling online

Michael also pointed out, that we have more and more manufacturers and wholesalers opting for OXID products, who start to do direct sales via eCommerce. Here, detailed multi channel concepts are in demand.

Open by default fosters a win-win situation for everyone

Myself, Andrea Seeger, Executive Board Member, gave an overview of the strategy, roadmap and product portfolio of OXID eShop. With our focus on quality we experienced some shift of mindset since going open source, because we commited ourselves to deliver quality, speed and ….. transparency. Hence, we introduced a completely open bugbase and a public quality report.

Our view concerning bugs did indeed change. Whereas in former days bugs were unwelcome and disturbing, bugs are nowadays an instrument to improve our software. By the way: the total amount of open bugs had been squased down to 29 up until Partners Day!

Our development team did change their attitude in terms of transparency: Before going open source, everything that wasn’t public was confidential. Today, everything that’s not explicitly confidential is public. OXID is open by default.

We’ve reached to involve the OXID Community into the development process as well as in questions of concepts and feature requests. This allows the community to participate actively in shaping the future of OXID eShop. Given that OXID eSales regards itself as a provider of commercial open source software, it will define the overall direction and a common frame for further enhancing OXID eShop.

Within the commercial open source model everybody is a winner! Enterprise customers and licensees benefit from the advantages of an open source product just as much as from the advantages of a commercial product with vendor support and warranity. Open source users can utilize our software for free, while at the same time they benefit from the quality management an open source vendor such as OXID ensures.

OXID eShop 4.2.0 released

The actual release of OXID eShop 4.2.0 was launched during Partners Day and OXID Partners were the first ones who got the news.

Enhanced social commerce and internationalization on future roadmap

The further big topics regarding product development are the enhancement of B2B functionality and internationalization. We’re working on a redesign of the frontend, whereby community input is welcome! After having released the Web 2.0 package with the version 4 of OXID eShop, we’re now working on the adaption or integration of social commerce and social marketing scenarios.

New mobile extensions

In fact, there were 3 mobile extensions to OXID eShop presented by our partners at the Partners Day:

Each partner who has some ideas of social extensions to OXID eShop is very welcome to talk to us or just to upload the extension to OXID eXchange. Of course, we’ll promote high quality enhancements to OXID eShop!

Releasing Unit Tests and implementing Zend Framework integration

That’s a good bridge to the next topic: quality assurance and support for community and partner developers. We decided to make all Unit Tests public, which allows to develop more valuable extensions, by checking them about side effects in the core system. Zend Framework will be adapted in a first step. Find the results of the public discussion about ZF in OXIDforge.

There are some more topics on the roadmap for 2010, which will be discussed in the OXID forum or at OXIDforge furthermore.

SOA and mash-up architecture

And referring to the speech of Roland, the R&D team is working on the future eCommerce system, by modularizing the system and giving access to objects via SOA architecture. OXID eShop will become the application platform to fit the demands of future eCommerce models, business models which are characterized by an intensive networking and a mash-up architecture.

Multitude of extensions available through OXID eXchange

Ralf Trapp, Head of Development, gave a review and update to OXID eXchange, the marketplace for extensions to OXID eShop. The platform is provided by OXID to give a distribution platform to the variety of enhancements to OXID eShop. It’s a promotion platform for each partner and community developer, and a lot of extensions have already been uploaded.

Get your extensions certified by OXID

Partners have the possibility to certify their extensions and because of quality assurance, OXID can recommend certified extensions more prominently. Ralf pointet out the process of how to certifiy an extension and provided the contact address for interested developers: [email protected]. More info about extensions certification is available on our website (yet, German only).

Developer-related information and soon a collaboration platform at OXIDforge

OXIDforge, so to say the factory for community developers, offers more and more tools. OXIDforge is the information hub for partner and community developers and the direct connection to the OXID developer team. Via the mailinglist dev-general, discussion and decisions about further functionality are being discussed and the setup of a collaboration platform á la Sourceforge is in progress. OXIDforge provides an archive of all downloads, tutorials, tools & tipps and a blog aggregator. Everybody has the chance and is especially invited to participate at OXIDforge, to publish his expertise and to get involved in discussions about the further development of OXID eShop.

A primer on OXID eFire – eCommerce in the cloud

Our second major product OXID eFire was presented by Caroline Helbing, Productmanager OXID eFire. Caroline showcased some recent success stories and gave an outlook on 2010. Think of OXID eShop as the fully customizable on-premise shop software and OXID eFire as the gateway to the eCommerce cloud that easily allows to plug in extensions.

To do successful eCommerce one of the major triggers is the integration of the best and specialized eCommerce services. Whilst OXID eShop provides a max at customizing and supporting an individual Corporate Identity as well as functional demands; OXID eFire provides highly standardized and optimized services and processes. In this respect, shop owners rely on standards and the benefits of economies of scale by combining OXID eShop and OXID eFire.

Please note that OXID eFire is currently only available to the German
market. We are in the process of leveraging its tremendous benefits to
shop owners world-wide. Find more information about OXID eFire in German.

New OXID eFire functionality: Webmiles, Creditpass, Factfinder and more

Caroline demonstrated some OXID eFire functionality and keys to success, such as:

  • The perfect integration of the bonus system Webmiles, which can be configured individually in regard to product portfolio and customer target group and has a direct effect on increasing sales.
  • Easily live up to the “Place your products where your customers are!” mantra: Shop owners can easily distribute product information to various marketplaces and price comparison platforms through OXID eFire. A dynamically generated article filter ensures that there will never be a product offered at a third-party market platform which is out of stock.
  • Smart boni checks via the OXID eFire Portlet Creditpass minimize the payment risk, by being able to offer all available payment methods.
  • The OXID eFire Portlet Factfinder offers an onsite search which results in a measurable increase of orders and shopping cart size – simply because customers honor product search with valuable search results! There’s never a zero result, and customers get some results even if they make some writing mistakes or use other words to describe the product.

Dedicated OXID eFire for large enterprises and SOAP interface

To fit the requirements of large enterprise companies OXID eFire offers an individual adaption to OXID eFire – these projects will be setup by the OXID key accounter.

The enhancement of the SOAP interface between OXID eShop and eFire will offer various possibilities for service providers to integrate their products.

Partners presented 13 solutions

Last slot before the lunch break was provided by some OXID partners in quite sporty discipline: 13 solutions were presented in 5 minutes for each one. Nevertheless our partners succeeded in presenting their solution in a comprehensive way!

Workshops and QA session provide first-hand information

After the lunch break we had four comprehensive workshops on sales, extension development and certification, and a QA session about OXID eShop and OXID eFire.

The results were presented afterwards, and I was very impressed about this rich feedback we could collect from our partners – thank you for this!

I joined the sales workshop, which was crowded with about 70 people. To be honest, I sat in the last row and wanted to prepare something for the evening event – but this wasn’t possible! The workshop was so interesting, the discussions so open and exciting. During the workshop we developed lots of new ideas and projects for further collaboration – some of them are quick to realize, some of them need more time, and some of them – these are the best ones – are in progress already!

Presentations of OXID eFire Partners highlighting new Portlets

Nafissa Khayar, OXID eFire Customer Success Manager, moderated the presentations of the eFire partners, who gave detailed insight into their OXID eFire Portlets.

Partners exhibiting during the event

After a never-ending discussion and question time, the talks passed over to the lobby and the cool beer to use the last chances to visit the exhibitors at their booth, who demonstrated their specialized eCommerce services.

OXID eShop Best Solution Award and party time

The point of culmination was celebrated after the location change to the airport restaurant, where the evening got very late by networking, dancing and celebrating and of course the prize giving ceremony of OXID eShop Best Solution Award!

The award winners and their solutions will be presented in my next blogpost – coming soon!

Meanwhile please enjoy the slideshow to get some impressions of the OXID Partners Day 2009 view slideshow at flickr

Sincerely
Andrea

 

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