Are developers and architects becoming more influential in infrastructure software purchase decisions in large organizations?
Back in September, Matt Asay blogged an interview with Laura Merling of Krugle, which makes a search appliance for software code across the enterprise. In the interview Laura said:
The power for decision making and buying has shifted to the developers,
architects and midlevel managers. We are in some very large companies
and have not once talked to a CIO! Developers have paved the way with
their newfound power.
This “newfound power” that Laura speaks of has to do with open source software. More accurately, it has to do with the fact that most open source software is available for *free* download with a production license. So, presumably, the developers don’t need permission from anyone higher-up in the organization to use the product, as there is no purchase involved.
The story goes that this is how Linux, JBoss, MySQL — and more recently — Spring and Mule, to name a few, have crept into large enterprises. And one day, after some minor disaster, an executive wakes up and says: “Holy crap! this thing is running on hundreds of our servers, we better get some support”. Bam! a seven-figure deal is born, and it was the developers who really made the decision two years earlier.
Obviously, developers have always been influencers and evaluators of the software they will eventually use, but what I described above is a very different dynamic. If this is in fact happening in a major way, it has huge implications to how software used by developers should be marketed and sold.
Not surprisingly, it is very difficult to find hard data on this issue (I’ve searched). So here’s a question:
- If you work at a vendor — open source or not — are you seeing this trend?
- If you work at a large company — as a developer or not — are you seeing this happen?
Would appreciate any thoughts about this.