Why are you launching a partner program?
In building a global network of service providers, our goal is to get the OpenGeo Suite and its constituent open source projects used as widely as possible. We have worked to make an integrated product backed by a desirable support package and feel the best way to spread it is in collaboration with others.
Our aim is to make the partner program a blend of open source collaboration and business sensibilities that help us all succeed together. In aligning the financial incentives of solution providers with those of the core software developers, it becomes everyone’s interest to make the the open source projects better. By providing a path for partners to grow from consumers into core contributors, we hope to bring more people into the open source ecosystem. It is a work in progress and we hope you will join us so we can figure it out together.
I already sell solutions based on the OpenGeo software stack. What is the advantage of a partnership with OpenGeo?
We provide a stable presence behind several open source projects and can be relied upon if anything goes wrong. By including an OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition, you can defend against any concerns about open source software and provide clients peace-of-mind that’s backed by core developers from every project in our stack. The stable release cycle of the OpenGeo Suite ensures a quality-assured, tested, and certified version of the software and unlimited bug fixes mean a decreased risk for everyone. You also can leverage OpenGeo’s network of experts to build the best geospatial software solutions for your clients.
Your partner program sounds pretty great but it will only work for me if it has [insert custom requirements]. Can we talk?
Business people can spend lots of time imagining all the cases that might come up in a partnership and deciding how to structure a complex partnership program that handles every contingency. Any good partnership should not have either side feeling at a disadvantage and we have developed a partner program with very generous base terms and easy-to-meet requirements.
Rather than get bogged down in lots of back-and-forth with prospective partners, just sign up and—if you want a major change or a minor tweak on our current partnership model—we will figure it out after we make our first sale together. The partner program is going to evolve through all of us working together.
If you truly feel you cannot get started without your custom requirement then please review our term sheet and include an in-depth proposal of what to actually change. We will review term sheets quarterly and consider making general changes to the program.
Do I have to sell the OpenGeo Suite or can I build solutions from component parts?
Either approach works, that is completely up to you. While, the OpenGeo Suite forms a complete solution built to make it easier to deploy all component parts, the partnership is built around the OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition, a support package built around the Suite software and its component open source projects: PostGIS, GeoServer, GeoWebCache, OpenLayers, and GeoExt.
A solution built on the Enterprise Edition means you have core code committers from every project “on your team” to fix any bug and provide expert advice on any related topic. Supported solutions do not necessarily have to use the OpenGeo Suite software package but to be supported by OpenGeo it must be using recent, stable versions of the component projects.
I am interested in building a niche product on top of the OpenGeo Suite. How would that work?
One of OpenGeo’s goals is to enable an ecosystem of added-value applications. We would like all our partners to have the option to develop their expertise into a product similar to the OpenGeo Suite and sell that through our partner network.
If you are building a master addressing system, a package of data and custom software for small municipalities, an air traffic control system, a hosted service for property registration in small towns, or anything that you can imagine then we want to help you succeed by building core software that meets your needs. Ideally, we will all be able to leverage the improvements that others in the network make.
This type of partner relationship is more of an OEM one—where OpenGeo support is one component in the end product. We have not yet decided how the revenue models should work but are excited to collaborate and align incentives such that everyone wins.
Must every one of my open source geospatial software implementations have to include a sale of the Suite if I'm a partner?
Not necessarily. We understand that part of the appeal of open source is the ability to build solutions at a fraction of the cost of proprietary software and that including a few thousand dollars for support can become a burdensome cost. As such, you are welcome to build solutions based on the component projects but cannot represent them as supported by or related to the OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition—our clients must be aware that they are buying a solution that is not supported by OpenGeo. However, we do expect that at least some of your implementations include a sale of the Suite and you will be in danger of losing our partnership if you do not make reasonable attempts to include it in your sales.
The OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition seems very expensive for my territory. Do you offer any lower cost items?
Not currently, but it is something we will continue to consider. If you have specific ideas as to how this could work please let us know.
If you become a partner and make a reasonable effort to sell the Suite but get consistent feedback from potential clients about the price then we may be able to design custom packages for your territory that work for us, all our partners, and our clients.
Can I get an exclusive distribution deal in my territory?
We are not opposed to the idea of exclusive distributors in the long term. However, in the short term, we have no way of knowing which organizations in a given territory may end up as our best partners. We would likely agree to an exclusive after you partner with us provided that you are clearly investing in becoming the leader in your territory and have successfully sold a number of OpenGeo Suite licenses. We encourage you to sign up, start selling, and—after a few have been sold—we will be happy to invest the time to figure out terms.
Why is OpenGeo a better partner than other geospatial players?
We are set up as a part of a 501c(3) not-for-profit, meaning there are no investors to which we must return a fabulous profit. Instead, our goal is enabling people to create products they love and share them with the world. We are a social enterprise and returns are reinvested towards innovative projects that help create a more transparent, collaborative world.
We are an ideal partner as we are never going to try to squeeze profit out of our partners. We just seek enough revenue to support core software development on the projects we work on. If a partner becomes wildly profitable off of our software then we only want to ensure that some percentage is reinvested in the open source core that we all share. Wild success for OpenGeo means building a worldwide network of collaborators that can support themselves while making the world better with open source geospatial software.