Matt Asay suggests that many companies get great value by supplementing the support they can get from public open source support lists by budgeting for professional support. See his discussion at Matt’s blog.
Certainly in agreement here. Beyond that, though, at Webtide, we find that our clients value not just access to the experts, but the mode of access. Open lists are, by definition, public. Discussion of specific internal infrastructure or specific client issues are often not easy subjects to discuss in that setting. Through our professional support systems, Developer Advice clients boost their time to market, and Production Support clients stay in top working order. Great to have the additional corroboration!