This month, we’ll introduce you Alain Escaffre, our multi-faceted Presales and Product Manager for Nuxeo Studio (our customization environment). We succeeded in catching up with him between a customer appointment and a webinar. And if you like his interview, find out how you can also have a chance to work with him directly…

Nuxeo: What’s your position at Nuxeo? I’m the Presales Manager and Product Manager for Nuxeo Studio. I started with Nuxeo in April 2007 (4 and a half years already!) and I had the chance to spend three months in our Boston Office at the end of 2009. It was a great professional experience and the Boston area is a really beautiful place during that time of the year.

Nuxeo: Tell us more about Nuxeo Studio? What makes it special? Nuxeo Studio is a customization environment provided as a hosted web-based tool that enables Nuxeo users to easily customize their Nuxeo based application. I’ve been involved in Studio since its beginning, and it is a real technological breakthrough in the world of enterprise content management. It allows users to extend and tweak the behaviour of the application in order to accommodate business user requirements, without challenging its maintainability.In my previous work experience, I had the opportunity to investigate several ECM platforms, and I had never seen such a flexible and dynamic model.From a historical point of view, there were several years of platform development before Studio, and this project only started once the platform was mature enough to support it. Now, Studio is a mature tool too, and I’m happy with the way the product has evolved.

Nuxeo: Is Studio really accessible for people with no background in coding? Some of Studio functionalities, such as configuring branding, content model and search screens, are really accessible to non-technical people. Some others are a little bit more technical but definitely accessible to people who are familiar with automation used in some applications such as Excel or Mac OS Automator. You never need to have a background as a developer to leverage what Studio has to offer.Yet, even for developers, Studio is the first choice when it comes to customizing our products, even if they use Nuxeo IDE to extend their potential. We constantly make sure users get value in using both products, which is why they are so deeply integrated.

Nuxeo : In short, can you tell us in which direction you see this product “as a service” evolving? Our priority is to constantly improve user experience for Studio. We’ve done a lot already, but still have many improvements coming to make it a product that’s even more straight-forward to use. Making sure that the Nuxeo Platform and Studio evolve hand in hand is also really important, so we can be sure that all the new functionalities incorporated into the platform will be configurable by our online tool.Also enabling our OEM partners to benefit from this groundbreaking tool for their own applications, through some kind of “customized Studio”, is also part of our vision.Last I would say that Cloud based online development and customization tools are the future of software customization–whether your software runs on premise or in the cloud. I truly believe this is the right direction for the IT industry and we are proud to be on the cutting edge of it.

Nuxeo: What advice would you give to someone who is new to Studio? We have several resources available to help you get up and running quickly with Nuxeo solutions, including Studio. The first step would be to read the online documentation, which is updated on a regular basis to always cover new releases and integrate customer feedback.If you’d rather see than read, we host webinars every two weeks to introduce you to Nuxeo Studio and give you an overview of the capabilities of this tool. You should also try all the Application Templates that we make available from within Studio, that’s the most efficient way to bootstrap your learning.

If you have questions, we have that enables you to ask questions, give feedback, and share with others who may have the same questions you have with Nuxeo products.And if you want to learn the basics of Nuxeo Studio with professional users, we advise you to register for one of our upcoming training sessions, in our Paris or Boston offices, or contact us and we can arrange something at your location.

Nuxeo: How does the presales process for an Open Source vendor differ from traditional software models? When using a proprietary software model, as a first point of contact a presales-engineer typically talks to someone who knows very little about the product, which by definition is closed and not readily available. In a model such as ours, users have the opportunity to dive into the product before we talk, which means they might have sharper or tougher questions about it, and we are less in a “showcase” mode and more in an “investigation” mode. There’s also more of an “education” aspect to this rather than pure evangelism, as some prospects who have tried the product generally just need additional guidance to get on track. Sometimes by the time I talk to our users they already have a very deep understanding of how our software works, which makes the job even more interesting! In short, it’s less of slideware and makeup and more hands-on and connected to the real world of a projects’ requirements…

Furthermore, in our case, the product is way more modular and open to contributions than proprietary software. Having a modular and open product enables us to cover a wider range of needs, and makes the presales job challenging and dynamic. We often have to challenge the feasibility of new modules for special requirements a client might have. But once those new modules reach the main stream platform, we are proud of those contributions, thanks to our direct connection between business requirements and the product’s roadmap!

Nuxeo: And, what’s special about working at Nuxeo? At Nuxeo, people are open (and not only in their software use), and everyone is always available to help and ready to make your projects advance.

Nuxeo: On a more personal note, what do you do in your free time? Currently my weekends go to preparing the room for the newcomer in the family!

Nuxeo: One last thing to say? I’m currently recruiting for someone on my team, go to the Careers corner on our website to find out more!