Introducing Unicon’s Open Source Support Program


Hello and welcome to Unicon’s first
speed session on open source support. My name is Erin McGarrahan and one of my roles here at Unicon is Director of open source support. I have been in this role since 2014 and have been with Unicon for 17 years focusing on project management and client support. I led the project to open source the openEQUELLA codebase and continue working on openEQUELLA projects both within professional service client
engagements as well as directly supporting our open source support openEQUELLA subscribers. Hello everyone I’m Charise Arrowood the Senior Director
of Unicon’s Identity and Access Management program. I’ve been with Unicon for over
15 years where I’ve worked with many institutions and EdTech companies to
assist with consulting services for several open source products. I have been
involved in the open source support program since its inception and have
excited to join forces with Erin to share the details of the support
opportunities. The goal is to educate the group on Unicon’s open source support
program, what value the program might bring to your organization, and why you
may want to consider becoming a subscriber. First off a little bit about
Unicon as company. Unicon is based in Gilbert Arizona and for over 25
years we’ve served hundreds of colleges and universities, publishers, and EdTech
companies in the education space. We have an open philosophy. We not only have a
strong foundation with open source technologies, but beyond that we embrace open standards, open education, and open communication. We think you’ll find that
this openness sets us apart. One of the major drivers in Unicon’s decision
to offer a support program was due to the consistent feedback from our clients. As Unicon is and has been a true supporter of open source our
professional services have followed suit and with that comes a need for support
after the service is complete. It’s clear that our clients desired follow up with
future updates, guidance on their deployment, and honestly some general
consulting to provide confidence in which direction to go next. This was truly the birth of Unicon’s open source support offering. So what is open source support? Open source software has for years been a preferable alternative to proprietary software at many educational
institutions. Open source technologies drive flexibility and
cost-effectiveness. Other benefits of open source technology includes
transparency, shared maintenance costs, better security, and a faster
time-to-market. Unicon has been focused on open source technologies for
decades in the areas of identity and access management, student success,
enterprise portals, and content management. As users of open source
software sometimes you want more. More support, more safeguards, a safety net, someone to call on both when you have a problem or when you are upgrading,
implementing, or maybe enhancing your open source software. This is where Unicon’s support program can help. Unicon’s open source support program consists of
deep domain expertise focused on your open source technologies with
traditional support model aspects. However, there are no tiered levels of
support and your questions go directly to our technical experts. There are various program options to meet your needs from development
next-level business day support to 24/7 production support. Our highest level SLA
includes a one hour guaranteed first response time and we will collaborate
with you until your environment is stabilized. The program is designed not
only to support your specific installation within your organization, but also to drive forward development within the open source community. Our
technologists are deeply involved in the community for each open source product
and your involvement within the open source projects helps to drive new
releases, security fixes, patches, and enhancements. Unicon currently supports
the following technologies within the OSS program. In the Identity and Access
Management space we provide support for Grouper, SimpleSAMLphp, Central
Authentication System, Shibboleth, and midPoint. In the portal space we support
uPortal. Within content management we support openEQUELLA and within
learning analytics we are the primary developer for the student success plan. Please take a moment now to let us know which of these open-source technologies
your organizations are currently or even planning on using. We realize with
open source technologies you can get help via community chat rooms, Google
Groups, and shared resources. However, with Unicon’s open source
support program your problems and questions stay confidential and not only
that but as commercial support providers we make sure we understand the details
of your environments before you have a problem thus reducing resolution time.
You don’t have to wait to get help. Our program is structured with various
service level agreement options and backed by robust alerting and escalation
mechanisms so we are ready to help when the need arises. When you open a case
your case will be directly and automatically assigned to the expert
technologists responsible for answering your questions. All of our support
engineers are deeply involved in the open source community and keycode
contributors to the open source project. Depending upon your needs we have
program options structured to meet them and ensure your expectations are met.
With our support assistance you have an unlimited ability to ask questions.
We’ll provide responses based on proven best practices to guide you and your
teams to resolution. With this includes past present and future releases of your
application. We don’t make you upgrade. We support the version you’re on now and in the future. Here are some examples of how our
subscribers use the open source support program Unicon offers. Asking general
questions about the open source project, requests specific guidance regarding
error messaging, ask about any levels of application related problems, and to ask
for advice on installation and configuration. Additionally within our program where consulting assistance has been included
you can have our engineers solve problems on your behalf. Tasks that you
would normally perform can be delegated to you Unicon directly. Some of
those examples include a patch to be deployed, to execute configuration
updates, hands-on troubleshooting, research and resolution of bug fixes,
migration planning and execution, and configuration reviews. We’ve also
structured the program to give you additional benefits beyond technical
assistance. We’ll assign a technical point of contact that will meet with you at
the onset to review your installation, understand your roadmap, and determine
how we can best support your organizational goals. The point of
contact will establish an ongoing relationship with your personnel as well
as your environment so as to reduce the amount of background information that
needs to be shared when in the midst of an emergency. Additionally the more subscribers we have the more we will dedicate
development directly back to the open source community and we do so with our
subscribers’ needs in mind. If you have an enhancement, a bug fix, or a roadmap item for a particular platform we want to know and we will work to bring that to
fruition as a community developer. All included within the program. Each
platform team also wants to make sure you are up-to-date on all of the latest
happenings with your open source software. Events, releases, security updates and other important information that you need to know as the user of open
source software we will proactively keep you up to date and will assist you if
and when those changes impact your installation. And as support subscribers
you also have the opportunity to call on Unicon for any other consulting services
at discounted rates. Examples may be upgrades, security reviews, architecture
reviews, integrations, or larger enhancements. We’re happy to work with
you to structure a package that meets your needs. And if all of that still
doesn’t cover what you are looking for contact us anyway. We have the ability to
construct a custom program to cover your support requirements. Today’s session was meant to give open source software users a brief overview of Unicon’s open
source support program. The hope is that we will have
several more sessions in this series in the upcoming months. In order to make them meaningful we’d like to ask what topics might interest you most going forward.
Alright thank you very much. This concludes the speed session on Unicon’s open source support program. We hope we’ve given you some things to consider
as you plan your support and maintenance programs at your organization. We’d like to invite you to check out the Unicon.net website where you can contact us to talk
more about your specific needs. All right please watch for our next open source
support speed section invite to come your way. Thank you. Thanks all.

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