CLUE will provide a mechanism that matches FOSS professionals and consulting companies together with non-profit agencies and small businesses who need IT services and are considering the use of FOSS. In return for offering some initial services at no cost, new consultants and consultancies are offered potential for referrals, references and possibly ongoing business. Conversely, in return for making at least an initial commitment to use FOSS for new projects, non-profits and small businesses have access to high-quality IT services for a limited time.
Through this program, CLUE intends to provide a means to address three significant challenges facing the migration of FOSS into the IT mainstream:
- FOSS professionals looking to gain revenue from their skills have a difficult time establishing reputations and achieving referrals.
- Small businesses and non-profit organizations have very limited IT budgets; while FOSS-based solutions may serve as cost-effective alternatives, many are fearful of change and resistant to try FOSS-based options.
Organizations who are interested in using FOSS don't know where to find quality, professional sources of support, development and training services
- CLUE professional members, and corporate sponsors identified as providers of professional services, and volunteers who are skilled in FOSS will be encouraged to opt in as “Adopt service providers”. They would do so either to build experience, gain references, increase the awareness of FOSS within the small business and non-profit sectors, or simply to “give back' to the community.
- Organizations needing IT services would register with CLUE, and their needs would be listed in an internal database. Adopt service providers would choose projects based on the compatibility between the needs of the projects and the providers' specific areas of expertise.
- Development of a database for projects, to be linked to the service providers and organizational listings already made available by the CivicCRM system. This will be accompanied by mechanisms to allow providers and clients to create case histories as well as rating their experiences.
- Provision of appropriate legal documentation to indemnify CLUE and service providers
- Create an intake system that encourages non-profits and small businesses to get involved, while assisting them to define their projects in a way that facilitates selection by service providers