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Red Hat's RHX: Lessons learned

Red Hat claims it's not killing RHX, its open-source software exchange. Instead, RHX is "changing." It will be interesting to see how it changes, but learning from how it already has changed is instructive.

The Red Hat team has posted an interesting analysis of RHX on its one-year anniversary. RHX has gone through a range of changes over the past year, many of which I've seen firsthand as a participant in the RHX program through Alfresco.

The RHX post offers insight for any company thinking of rolling out a new product. Among my favorite thoughts from the post:

Despite our research and planning, v1.0 of RHX was not the home run we anticipated. It turned out that enterprise customers, not small businesses, were most interested in RHX. In order to serve enterprises properly, we had to change almost every aspect of the offering. By September, we de-emphasized the e-commerce option, introduced high touch sales, 24×7 support, and custom stacks. We also built virtual appliances to make the trial process a little less painful. Within 90 days of these changes, we had a healthy sales pipeline.

Again, I lived through some of these changes with the RHX team. At Alfresco we were surprised early on to see some very big customers (and deals) come through the RHX channel. Surprised, but we weren't complaining. :-)

It will be interesting to see how RHX changes under Jim Whitehurst's management. Matthew Szulik was a fan and founder. It's not yet clear where RHX fits within Whitehurst's vision for Red Hat, but I'm hoping it will stay.