Today, Open Source solutions (OSS) have become a transformational IT trend: enterprise increasingly sees them as more flexible, less expensive, and easier to manage than alternatives offered by proprietary application vendors. “Open Source”, the term itself, was coined in the mid 90’s but almost a decade passed before CIOs would sit up and take notice of the effortlessness with which Open Source will have managed to emerge as a disruptive technology.
According to analysts, OSS products have not only proliferated the traditional software solutions space but by 2016, are set to be included in mission-critical software portfolios for as many as 99% of global 2000 enterprises: it is strongly believed that by then, 50% of non-IT organizations will leverage Open Source as a business strategy to gain competitive advantage.
However, there are still many skeptics who aren’t entirely convinced of the changing Open Source paradigm: too often we come across clients who don’t want to use OSS because of the widespread perception that these are inferior to proprietary software, chock-full of security and vulnerability issues and lack in support features.
Since 2000, CIGNEX Datamatics has focused on Making Open Source Work(R) for the enterprise. With our client-focused approach, we have delivered over 400 Open Source enterprise solutions globally including portals, enterprise content management, ecommerce, and big data analytics. Based on our experience working with clients across different industries, we hereby list down 10 major reasons why Open Source solutions should be widely adopted by enterprise with an example.
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It is widely known that with OSS, enterprise users (and their application vendors) are at liberty to concentrate on a specific code of their solution software which can be further customized to match unique requirements which weren’t even part of the original plan. As the code is open, all it requires is altering the bits and pieces to achieve any desired functionality and application.
CIGNEX Datamatics was able to leverage the customizability of Open Source to develop the product release management portal for a leading networking company to imitate Excel-like features that would track product release management in real time and provide same experience to end-users. Which proprietary software would allow you such customizability to maintain same user experience?
According to Linus Torvald, OSS offer enhanced security because there are a lot more eyeballs on bugs and emerging security issues and it’s only a matter of time before someone from the Open Source community springs into action to do the troubleshooting.
Enterprises are ever more depending on technologies that empower them to innovate and react speedily to the changing business environment. OSS’s ability to spearhead innovation is far-reaching and comes with spontaneous results.
CIGNEX Datamatics has developed its Open Source-based centralized ideation framework, “IDEAthon”. In one of the implementation case studies, IDEAthon was used to promote employee idea generation for the loans division of the 4th largest US bank. Within six months of innovation website launch, idea generation increased by 100% allowing the division to outperform every other division within the bank.
The “F” in FOSS stands for Freedom. It basically means that even if your Open Source application provider went out of business, you could always switch to an alternate vendor (migration) and bank on an army of Samaritan coders to keep your applications up and running. For proprietary software products which fold up after an End-of-life (EOL) phase, ordering stops immediately and past versions/plug-ins are no longer available. No prizes for guessing which option would offer you greater control and mobility.
For example, CIGNEX Datamatics has enabled a leading media publishing house migrate 70+ client websites to Open Source Liferay Portal platform, reducing cost and time to roll-out new web brands through reusable structure and shared content.
Did you ever feel frustrated by proprietary data formats which don’t budge an inch to accommodate your organization’s legacy IT systems and will instantly call for a cash upgrade? OSS offer enterprise a more interoperable platform by seamlessly blending into their existing applications and infrastructure.
Goes hand in hand with above point: OSS are much less resource-intensive compared to proprietary software. It’s up to the client and not the vendor to decide when to upgrade from an older hardware.
Since development in the Open Source project is community-based and not held ransom to the limitations of any distinct development organization or product roadmap, it is possible to have a popular OSS product like say, Drupal or Magento, have hundreds, and even thousands, of developers worldwide adding features from which a large swath of users (e.g. the ones in the portal implementation project) can benefit IN REAL TIME. This is clearly a much better time-saving approach compared to the iterative, version-dependent releases which plague mainstream software products.
We have already discussed at length the benefits of having a large army of Samaritan coders looking after your product’s upkeep and not being held hostage to the release schedules of a single product family.
- Try Before You Buy
Sure, almost all proprietary software products offer you a free demo that typically hold good for 30 days. However, with OSS, you can relax about not giving commitment until the very end, until you’re really sure that this is what the doctor ordered: there are so many free goodies available on the Open Source platform that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Last but not the least, OSS and cost savings are almost synonymous. It needs to be added here that the true value of adopting OSS is not only in the dollar savings over a comparable proprietary suite which is certainly true in terms of one-time savings and operational costs but clients also benefit from intangible cost savings due to the shared ethos of the large Open Source community worldwide viz. sharing code and collaborating to create even better software. For instance, Liferay, the world’s leading Open Source portal technology, has a community of over 25000 developers and users who extend the portal platform to perform new tasks or add specific apps in the marketplace. This form of continuous innovation can only mean “more bang for your buck”.
To learn more, download our white paper explaining Open Source software, adoption strategy & benefits for enterprise