Industry Analyst & Strategist
“Full technological sovereignty” has a nice ring to it. It happens to be the reason that the city of Barcelona is opting to move away from proprietary technology solutions from the likes of Microsoft and into open source, according to the Barcelona City Council.
The city will continue running Windows through the next year, but the long-term goal is to move to Ubuntu or another Linux distribution. As the City Council points out, open source provides more transparency and accountability.
Really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities of open source. But if an entire big city choosing open source as its technological playground of choice isn’t reason enough to explore open source, you’re probably farther behind the times than you think.
Enterprise technology continues to evolve and businesses continue to transform alongside and with it. Choosing the right technologies for business requires significant foresight, planning, and education; a bad decision now could mean higher costs and lower agility in the future.
As open source continues to gain momentum for mainstream use, enterprises have taken notice. This is mainly due to the plain and simple business advantages that open source solutions offer – many of which are not available via proprietary solutions and platforms. Let’s look at some of the primary advantages and benefits now.
The community is probably one of the top benefits of open source solutions. Since it has gained momentum and popularity in the enterprise space, open source is supported by robust communities, all of which are filled with people on a common mission: to improve a solution that benefits the collective. Because many of these solutions are global in nature, their communities are as well. This opens up the solution and the people around it to new ideas they may not have otherwise encountered. It introduces a country-agnostic innovative edge to make new technologies faster, cleaner, and more effective than traditionally silo’d and private proprietary solutions.
The cost benefits of open source over proprietary solutions are pretty straightforward. Some report savings of 20-55% over commercial solutions. You essentially get the same functionality and capabilities at a fraction of the cost. They are easier to scale at a lower cost as well; businesses can start small and grow as needed without blowing the budget. In fact, many organizations opt to start out on free or low-cost community versions of open source solutions and then scale up to commercially-supported versions as needed. There’s no one-size-fits all because the flexibility of open source makes it customizable for each business’ needs – all at a more reasonable price than proprietary solutions.
It’s no secret (or surprise) that open source solutions and platforms are a magnet for the best and the brightest in technology. Flexibility and freedom make up the cornerstone of what most good developers are seeking. Forward-thinking technologists understand that open source is where the future of technology lies – and they want to be there, participating. In fact, 70% of developers say learning new technologies is important to them. Additionally, open source allows great developers to create their own projects – outside of the box – and collaborate with others that are doing the same. This think tank of great technology and brilliant ideas is where new enterprise innovations are born and thrive.
The culmination of all these benefits is really the fostering of true innovation. We are increasingly seeing web, mobile, and cloud solutions that live within open source infrastructure. Other solutions are following suit, and businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve and bank on the future are finding themselves investing more time and resources in open source options.
As advanced technologies like machine learning and AI take hold, we will see the conversion with open source. As open source solutions leverage AI and become more intelligent we’ll see applications spill over into things like chatbots, autonomous vehicles, and immersive experiences.
With technology advancing as fast as it is in 2018, it’s no surprise that open source will be at the forefront of some of the grandest innovations. The community aspect – which fosters rapid testing – facilitates more reliability than proprietary solutions as it’s supported by a global team of experts. This thorough vetting by a variety of sources also makes it more secure. The bottom line is that open source is in it for the long-haul. Where proprietary solutions may come and go and die, open source is constantly reinvigorated by vast communities filled with expert developers that thrive on innovation. If that doesn’t sound like a compelling reason to begin investing in open source, I’m not sure what is.