When I started on the Data Synchronizer strategy, what now feels like a lifetime ago, one of the goals was to build a place where customers could find solutions to their problems. At that time one of the issues that we faced was that we knew there were lots of partners out there who had created solutions but, for one reason or another, customers were not finding them. The initial concept was to OEM as many of these solutions as we could and offer them through Novell sales and our Channel – thankfully we quickly decided against that. The Data Synchronizer product is what this initial concept became.
As we worked on the Data Synchronizer Mobility Pack we were also talking about the Sharepoint, SugarCRM and Salesforce.com connectors that we were about to release. Additionally, we were showing other partners how they could write their own connectors for Data Synchronizer, so that they could tap into all of the other applications that would connect into the infrastructure, through a single interface. As a Product Manager it was exciting to see the momentum building around this new product.
Of course, our primary goal is still to connect customers to solutions. In the Product Management world a Field of Dreams strategy is not that effective (“Build it and they will come”), so we need to have a way for our customers to find the solutions that our partners are creating.
And that’s what this blog post is really about. We just finished step 1 in this connection – we have created a Data Synchronizer Marketplace on our website. Customers can go to this page and find out what connectors are available and then be taken directly to the vendor’s website.
On the left side of the page you can see the Data Synchronizer connectors that we are featuring, as well as ones that our partners have told us are coming. You can also see, and vote on, other needs that we have heard about – like a Unified Messaging connector for example.
If you need one that isn’t listed you can request it at the bottom of the page – this generates an email notification to the product management team so that we can collect the responses and take action.
You will also find links to the SDK documentation so you can build your own connectors – once you have created a connector you can submit it to the marketplace to help drive awareness. The link to do this is also on the same page.
As I mentioned, this is step 1. Step 2 is that we are building the same content into the Data Synchronizer admin console. This will allow us to push content and awareness to our customers, instead of customers needing to visit the landing page.
So, take a look, vote on the connectors, and let me know what you think – and what else you might like to see on that page or in the admin console.