Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Summary of the Sloan - Berklee dotLRN meeting

On the issue of marketing and packaging, I recently asked
somebody I trust with experience in enterprise IT which of the
following two statements would go over better:

a) We have the perfect solution that runs on top of a great web
server you may not have heard of

b) We have a great fully-packaged solution

The answer was (b), even though (a) actually contains (a little)
more technical information. The truth is that many buyers of
polished vertical apps *don't want to have to know what's under
the hood.* They want to know that they can install it and have it
work. They may occasionally want to know about data
interchange standards for integration (usually in XML, at least in
the eLearning world). They very rarely want to know how it works.
The technical stuff scares them. If you can tell them that they can
install it, run it, and have it play nice with their other apps without
too much fuss, then that's all they need or want to know.

This is the polar opposite from the current OpenACS community,
which is used to thinking of it from the inside out. We need these
verticals to feel like simple, monolithic apps from the perspective
of the buyer and the typical admin.