The most common reasons that prevent IT to reach full potential – 11th: Not leveraging Open Source

Most of the IT groups, that I know, tend to use OEM solutions. It doesn’t matter if it’s Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP or Cisco; we tend to use OEM solutions. The main reason that I’m aware of is our belief that OEM solutions are better tested and are provided with better support mechanisms. While this reason might be right, OEM solutions come with higher premiums than we generally need to pay. So, although there are cheaper solutions available (Open Source) we tend to pay more to get better solutions. Well, I’m not sure that this assumption is really true, and that we are necessarily getting more when we are paying more.

An OEM’s motivation is to sell us products, so they can showcase their increasing licenses from year to year. In order to keep their licenses count growing, OEMs will push new versions of their products to encourage us into buying more licenses. But, are all of those new product versions with new features really helping us, or they are a byproduct of a mechanism that is trying to sell us more?

Open Source on the other hand is coming from a completely different point of view. Open source starts with a group of people that experiences a problem in their daily work and are then trying to build new solutions that will better fit their daily experience. Open source is not pushed by stock market demand to see more licenses sold, rather they are pushed by requests from people experiencing difficulties in their work and who believe that new Open Source projects or new features added to existing projects will help them and others like themselves. Open source is not motivated by a company’s need to sell more; it is motivated by a community’s need to provide specific solutions for specific problems.

Therefore I usually find that open source solutions better fit our needs and with lower total cost of ownership. To ensure that we are using solutions that have support, we limit our solution selections to those that provide paid enterprise support, thus leveraging open source solutions while still ensuring we have good support when needed.

Open source has many other benefits too such as access to the source code and the ability to change it, access to a related community, better quality, adaptability, etc. Although I didn’t choose to focus on them in this post, they are important to consider if you choose to strategically use open source.


Posted in IT

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