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Floss Impact recognises Zea Partners as an innovative business model

by xheymans — last modified 2008-06-14 11:13

In the Flossimpact report, Zea Partners is presented as an innovative business model part of a thriving new economic ecosystem. It also includes a number of references about Plone and Zope, outlining the maturity reached by these technologies in term of technical achievement and community organization. The project CommunesPlone, lead by local governments, is presented as an ICT project unusual in terms of opportunity for innovation, standardization and economy of scale.

Below are report excerpts about Zea Partners and the CommunesPlone project.

Zea Partners

Flossimpact explains that ZEA Partners brings together SMEs from several countries that support or develop the FLOSS content management systems Zope, Plone and Silva. Founded by founders of those FLOSS projects, ZEA includes 25 SME from 10 European countries as well as 4 non-European partners: from the US, South Africa, India and Argentina.

ZEA provides promotion, training and coordination services as well as some degree of technical support to members, each of who specialise in their own application domains, and usually (but not necessarily) their own regions. Acting as a network makes it easier to approach large clients, and their collective client list is impressive, said the report, from, Philips Research and London-based IMS, Europe’s leading investment multi-manager, to Oxfam America, ETH Zurich and the Rotterdam Police Department.

The Plone/Zope Floss ecosystem is much larger than the Zea association itself. SME and individuals involved in this ecosystem are thriving and growing. Based on available data – lists of Zope service providers – a conservative estimate would set a lower bound of about 500 SMEs worldwide exclusively providing services and consulting based on Plone and Zope. The real figure could be higher, as some SMEs do not advertise the FLOSS brand names, but focus on providing customised services.


Flossimpact reports also the CommunesPlone experience : "Smaller public administrations, like SMEs (and often with SMEs) working together to develop innovative FLOSS-based solutions. This sort of “pooling” among (small and large) public sector organisations can lead to significant service improvements and cost savings, as noted by the “Pooling Open Source Software” study published by the European Commission.

The Communesplone project is an example: it is an initiative within local governments (in Belgium). After a year existence, over 12 local governments are involved, publicly sharing FLOSS applications built upon the Plone content management platform (supported by members of the Zea SME network).

The project has already attracted interest in several EU countries and abroad, and highlights the potential of innovation FLOSS can provide to public administration. Its impact is unusual in terms of opportunity for innovation, standardization and economy of scale while gaining independence from large IT providers."

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