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AppDeploy Reboots as AppDetails

Remember AppDeploy? For those that have been in and participated in this community for a long time, you’ll remember AppDeploy. AppDeploy was the goto web property for getting information about how to properly deploy applications. The site had literally thousands of entries, many of which were supplied by members, that detailed the best ways to automate the distribution of every type of application. We had a chance to speak with the founder of both AppDeploy and the newly branded AppDetails, Bob Kelly about this new venture, the reboot, a bit of the history, and how the new site has come to be.

From Bob…

I was in the Netherlands a few months back for their annual App Management Event (appmanagevent.com) and was overwhelmed by how positively people still felt about AppDeploy (and of me for having created it). While AppDeploy was remembered fondly, ITNinja never established the same reputation. In contrast, I have been apologizing for ITNinja for years. The site launched before a lot of the user experience issues it had been worked out and a lot of people never returned to give it a second chance in the years that followed. ITNinja has reached a stage where I think it is a great platform and is work that I’m proud of. However, in the years since it became ITNinja, the conversation has shifted to primarily that of a KACE product support site. AppDeploy being owned by KACE was one thing (KACE leadership was always very careful not to hurt what it had been built by pushing their brand on the community). But, between the site overhaul challenges and the change in ownership to Dell, many didn’t feel it was the place for them any longer. Through product integration and promotions, the KACE community stuck around to appreciate its evolution, but few of the non-KACE crowd stuck around for the ride.  

ITNinja moved to Quest with the sale of Dell Software. As I’m no longer with the company, I have no insight into its future but am aware of no plans to make any changes. That said, I am discussing with Quest the possibility of taking over the ITNinja software tip library, as I’ve also established this capability at AppDetails. If we can move that historical data over I think it would be great, but much of the volume is attributed to older versions of products so I don’t feel it is critical to do so. 

One thing I want AppDetails to be is focused—it will be limited to the topic of enterprise software and the tools that manage them. Packaging, application virtualization, customization, license management, deployment, silent installation and removal, OS migrations, and so forth are all in scope. But I think it is important to stay focused, so AppDetails will not try to extend itself to also be something like a security site simply because it is a hot topic. 

Another thing I learned along the way is that having some gamification in the form of a point system is fun for a lot of people so I’ve been sure to make that a key part of AppDetails. In fact, the points earned there will have real value in that you can purchase software and other goodies with them as tangible rewards for participation. 

I’ve spent the last several weeks writing overviews of a few dozen related products and companies and will be continuing to extend that coverage until I’ve got everything covered. I want to provide a level playing field for all products and services. This brings me to what’s new and different about this project. 

Setting up a community and running it is great, but it wasn’t enough on its own to be a reason to take this on. I wanted AppDetails to be a delivery vehicle for my ability to provide more personal and direct help to as wide an audience as possible. I decided I’d like to serve as an extension of small product teams and offer product management and marketing services as an independent contractor. This way I’d get to work on several different products and learn and see even more than I have already. In my past roles, I’ve spent lots of time researching the market and competitive products. Now, as an independent resource, I’m getting briefs from several companies—demos, roadmaps, pricing, etc. to know all the products and companies in the space as best as is possible.  

Leveraging that knowledge, I am offering a free, third-party, pre-sales service. If you are looking for a product/solution or you need packaging/migration services, I’m set up to provide that first level discussion. I’ll speak directly to those interested about their requirements, I’ll make sure they are aware of competitive products and technologies, and I can share market information that could impact purchase decisions. Everyone knows the major players, but there are some amazing products out there that just haven’t succeeded in building brand recognition (particularly in Europe). 

I know a lot of great sales people, so don’t read this wrong, but as a customer talking to sales can be as painful as having to call first level support for a product issue. What I’m offering is a technical resource (myself for the time-being) to have a conversation about needs and provide recommendations without the pressure of having to sell my own products and services.  


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