Well, it wasnt easy to look into this whole open source thing. Have YOU tried finding any decent info or case studies on SMEs moving away from the big M to open source.
I used these in our internal discussions
How a UK network has moved to open source software:
SMEs moving to open source
Buyers guide to OSS for SMEs
The BIG problem was that we are only a company of 20 people, and although we have a good IT manager (Rich) with a software engineering degree, it was too big a jump for a business critical resource without proven, professional help.
So, we went looking for help.
The guys at OPENADVANTAGE are GREAT, and after a training course on PHP/MYSQL using Ubuntu and VOIP using ASTERIX/TRIXBOX I really had enough confidence to look seriously at moving into open source. Without those courses, and the advice from Jono Bacon and Paul Cooper then I doubt we would be doing this.
Through my own web research and contacts, I contacted a few companies about the support I would need.
http://www.intercellsolutions.com/ – looking over their website I didnt get the impression they had enought speciality or focus in open source
http://www.palepurple.co.uk/ – I formed the impression that these guys were more into tuition than transition, and I think I talked to them. Professional, just not the focus I was looking for.
Hauraki Systems Ltd – Don was very helpful, but it quickly becaame clear that their focus at the time was more specific, larger contract support, and that it may have been difficult to resource our project.
http://www.clocksoft.com/ – this was the first company I talked to seriously, and I was impressed with the open source focus, and very high level of technical programming skills that John and Quentin were offering. They came over to see us to discuss the project, but eventually I had to move on as time was pressing and they were so busy with other work I wasnt sure that they could offer us the support we needed.
http://www.senokian.com/ Impressed. From first phone call , first meeting, everything, these guys were pretty much what we were looking for. Absolute focus on open source, a decent sized team of 10 people, flexible, knowledgeable, access to the MD when needed, just the ticket. We looked seriously at their EGS product that is very good, but really it would take more customisation to write our own modules to interface with this than what we could do by ourselves. Good product, just not for us. We negotiated over xmas 2006, and signed a support contract for 12 months in January.Off we went!