Interview with Arnold van der Weide – Part 5

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Deelip: Have you done any study or analysis regarding how your members use your software?

Arnold: Last year the University of Utrecht carried out an independent and extensive survey on ODA members. That gave us a lot of data on what the members think about us as well as what they think about each other. We scored pretty high on just about all aspects except for one thing – collaboration of members with the ODA as well as with each other. That was very strange because the ODA World Conference died because there was no interest from members. And at the same time the members are telling us that they want more collaboration. So we need to figure out a way to get the member to get to talk to each other.

Deelip: Probably is was more of a financial issue.

Arnold: Maybe. I don’t know. I am still trying to figure out the reason why the number of people wanting to attend this year’s conference was so ridiculously low. We need to create tools that our members can use to collaborate with each other. I like the social network that you created. I would like to do something similar for the members of the ODA. I think the members should get far more involved with the ODA than they are today.

Deelip: You have the ODA forums. But I guess the people talking there are mainly the programmers of the members and the ODA trying to help each other out. Not the people running the businesses.

Arnold: Yes. And that is maybe part of the direction that we need to take. We need more of the management involved. Right now only the programmers are involved. I have spoken to many business managers of the member companies and have asked them whether they know about the ODA. The answer is often “no”. I ask them whether they knew that the ODA could do this or that. The answer is “no”. That is because the membership fee is so low that it does not even get noticed by the managers. A lower level person could sign it off and that was it. The developer was only interested in a particular piece of the software. So part of our challenge is to get more management involved and let them know what we offer so that the product managers can make decisions based on knowing what we do and even guide us to do things that we don’t.

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