The success of commercial open source use has helped to build and strengthen the open source community throughout the years. Once an open source project is live in an organization, the excitement of open source possibilities seems to sky rocket.
Why are these expectations so high? How can businesses replicate the success of one open source implementation throughout the other areas of the organization? Answers to these questions cannot only provide cost savings of companies in 2017, but they can also pace up the innovation within organizations by cleverly adopting and implementing open source.
Open source has invested in making software better
Just by adopting open source, a lot of value is already gained by the business mostly through cost savings of the software itself, which is nominal or no cost. The most popular open source software packages are one of the easiest to get started with in a practical manner. However, making it work within the enterprise may still pose a challenge due to the lack of in-house knowledge, but it is getting simplified as the software continues to evolve.
So how do organizations invest in the adoption of open source? One option is to do a trial using community versions or purchase a basic commercial open source package where one pays for the support to the commercial support vendor or services partner.
The latter option may be the best when seeking long term adoption. Consider this, if your project is going to provide a lot of return by adopting open source, and is mission critical, it’s best to have peace of mind by purchasing a commercial version of the software with support.
A lot can be achieved with the most basic of commercial open source investments. Here’s how to maximize your investment after you make the decision for open source adoption.
Maximizing your investment
If your commercial opens source software needs require continuous enhancements and development and assumes a significant position as part of your IT business landscape as a tool for innovation, then consider the following tips to make 2017 the year for open source in your organization.
Invest in internal IT team training on open source technology or partner with a credible open source solution integrator. This landscape is very fertile now with even smaller to mid-size integrators supporting open source.
Use open source product support to fuel your plans to better understand the design and architecture improvements. Most open source vendor support personnel (time of whom you are paying for via the subscription) will be very happy to ensure the meticulous sizing of the open source environment. This is also needed since it’s likely that many other open source components are coming together to make the system work.
Think platform. Ensure that the “open source platforming” thinking is leading the path to not only choosing the open source options well but ensuring they complement each other well. For example, while implementing an ERP system that integrates with legacy databases and requires dashboard analytics as well, ensure that the open source options work well with each other and in some cases prototype or pilot it first to make it work.
Maximize your support subscription. Often the open source company providing subscription services will provide a lot of services that are often not appreciated and utilized. For example, the commercial open source vendor can also be a consultant for a new development or enhancement on the open source software.
Maximize the use of the support portal interfaces to quickly raise tickets of exploratory technical nature to know more. Contrary to most maintenance interfaces for proprietary software, what you are likely to find is that the quality of support engineers is excellent, engaging, and always wanting to assist and be part of your latest enhancement. Ultimately, these enhancements help the commercial open source companies learn about their own product in new ways, thus helping to improve it.
Run a small test lab of open source updates. Commercial open source vendor engineering teams are very active. They keep churning out the latest features and updates. Put a small R&D team in house or with one of your partners to keep yourself abreast of the latest features. Adopt them while your subscription lasts and put more value for the money you have spent.
Open source software is quickly gaining speed in more mainstream IT environments. Chances are, open source is already part of your organization. The innovation in open source software is there and always changing. This is the year to start looking at development and collaboration differently and eventually intertwine open source as part of your IT strategy.
To find out more about Microexcel’s open source practice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.