I will also look at three Open Source Applications I want to support. I’ll concentrate on apps I can host or deploy and provide value-ad. Some potentials to investigate:
OSCommerce / Zencart
Software for hardware utilization:
Asterisk (VOIP, PBX, Digium Cards)
EWRT, Portless, etc. (WIFI Routers)
NoCat (Wifi Captive Portal)
I need to look at shopping cart, content management, catalog, order fulfillment, payment processing, fulfillment, shipment tracking, for the typical web site; and accounting/bookkeeping/general ledger, payments received, invoices, shipping and receiving, inventory, paychecks and bill pay, etc. for back office solutions. I need to look at business intelligence and reporting, ERP, CRM, HR, etc. for the front office. Also time, task, product management for productivity (specialize in coming at it from a QA centric approach.)
and 3 commercial apps to support:
1. Microsoft Office (for forms to database and report generation. Template based documents. Alternately look at Outlook applications and plugins. Email based workflow will be huge.
— Also look into Open Office for this. An open office form builder and db/spreadsheet validation back end would be gold. Like creating VB/Access for open office users. It’d be the number one was to drive up usage of that suite.
2. Salesforce.com — There could be good money in this, though it won’t be fun work, I hear it solves a lot of problems for a lot of businesses. Things like SugarCRM may overlap here.
This is probably a sales model I want to emulate with a QA application service. Though I think in house, maybe product management appliances or virtual machines.
I’d also like to see plug an play email server, spam filter, antivirus, etc. appliances or shared hosting. I want it for myself. Network accountability, records compliance, secure document storage and backups, etc. This end of the market may be saturated, but there isn’t good understanding. All I can think of is the Barracuda networks radio ads. Maybe they’re the best, or maybe there’s someone else. Maybe fast-mail has a good service. Maybe there’s an open source (or commercial) solution I could package or recommend & support.
3. Mercury testing tools. LoadRunner, WinRunner, QTP, Test Director. This is always a high demand skillset. Though personally a red flag for a company in my opinion. It’s not typically the type of job I want, but if paying the bills six months of the year is in my future I want to keep my hand in.
I also need to look at the open source and commercial alternatives. Segue (Borland) and Rational (IBM). OpenSTA, TestMaker, Watir/Samie/Pamie/Jiffie/PHP?, Selenium, Canoo, etc.
That’s a lot to do. On top of that I may be spending a lot of time training employees, working with partners, reviewing work, managing, etc. I need to find a revenue stream, but I don’t want to get tied to one too quickly and narrow my focus.