Embracing sharing as a business strategy
All around the world there are millions of people sharing ideas, code and time to develop software used by almost every computer on the planet. It could be the web browser that you use every day or it might be an important tool that quietly makes your computer work.
The open source community has been sharing high-quality software with business for decades and it's time to start embracing what open source software can do for you.
Your business must not depend on the success of your vendor
"Joe runs a small photography company and he prides himself on the quality of images that he provides to his local newspapers. His staff are excellent and they have the hardware to let their talent shine, the company has a camera lens for every occasion. Joe knows that his camera lens will only work with cameras from his current manufacturer, but they have always done right by Joe.
The full gravity of his situation doesn't become apparent when news comes in that his manufacturer has gone out of business. Only when he opens his email and sees a request for some camera maintenance from his employee does he realise the serious financial strife that he is now in. Joe faces the choice of repurchasing all his equipment from another manufacturer now, or waiting for all his old equipment to slowly degrade until there's no choice but to switch."
For Joe, there are no good choices. There are many industries where reliance on your vendor is a given. Vendor lock-in is sometimes an unfortunate fact of life. Your IT infrastructure does not have to be this way, open source software removes your reliance on one company as there are many others competing to support your IT.
"Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" - Linus's Law
The severity of a software bug ranges from a pop-up window being slightly out of place to a critical leak of all your business data. Every IT system has software bugs in it and this situation will not change. As a business owner you have a responsibility to many people; your investors, your customers, your community, your employees and the family they provide for. You cannot stop all software bugs, you can only control how well you manage this risk and protect the people who rely on you.
Open source software belongs to you and us, it belongs to anyone who uses the software. This means that you inherit the hard work of major companies who have contributed back to the community by finding bugs, making features or even providing funding for opening source projects. These companies run the same software as you, and everyone gets a better product by sharing the work they've done.
It should then come as no surprise that open source software has become ubiquitous, everyone uses it. You see it when you browse the web using Chrome or Firefox, as most people do and you see it when you use an android phone or tablet. You might not see it when you browse a website, but it's there, 2 out of 3 sites serve you web pages using an open source server and all of them use open source tools. Open source software has already become a quiet addition to your life and business and it shows no signs of leaving.
"They take what you pay for"
A software vendor ought to value your custom and ensure that you are treated with the care you deserve. The best way to make sure you're getting your best value for money is to reserve your right to take your business elsewhere. Open source software provides a fair playing field, there are many companies who are competing to support one product. If you are not satisfied with the service you are getting, there are many other companies who would be thrilled to help you. Competition tips the balance of power in the favour of your business and leaves you with the best options for your business.
We've worked with many clients who have found themselves dissatisfied with a vendor, and left with little choice but to swap technology platforms. We saw this when we were called in to help Australia's 4th largest university, UNSW. The University found that vendors were charging different units for the same software modification. The change to Open Source software meant that the University paid for a modification once, and each unit of the University was able to use the modification without any fees. A further advantage of Open Source, leveraged by UNSW, was for the University technical staff to take control of the software support and further customisation.
Australian Businesses love Open Source
Drupal gave UNSW a path to freedom and a release from vendor lock-in. As UNSW moved their websites to Drupal the University discovered the power of Open Source Software, allowing the University to innovate on the web as they wished to do so. We worked with several Faculties, Schools and Units of UNSW to help them gain that freedom, as we assisted them in their move to Drupal. We were also pleased to hear the Australian Government selected Drupal after an exhaustive selection process. See our work in Drupal. (Report here) http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/DoFD%20CMS%20Review%20Report%20-%20V2%202%20FINAL.pdf
Education is a sharing culture and Australian Universities are making a move to ensure their teaching software reflects that. More Australian Universities have made a move to the open source tool Moodle than ever before, this includes; UNSW, Wollongong, UNE, Monash, ANU, Canberra, Flinders, Ballarat.
When Cancer Institute NSW wanted to have a data gathering system developed CINSW insisted on Open Source as they wanted to deploy the system statewide without further licence barriers, see our work for CINSW.
SugarCRM is used by organisations large and small to manage the ongoing relationship with their customers. Macquarie University has adopted SugarCRM as their solution. We helped Science Faculty UNSW move to SugarCRM. Fortune 500 companies use SugarCRM right down to small sole traders.
We've been working with Open Source for a long timeWe're proud to say that we have over 18 years experience in the Open Source Technology Area and are a long standing member of the Open Source Industry Association, with member Number: 18.
We're business member of the Drupal Association and have been using Drupal since May 2006.
We've been using Moodle since August 2008.
We've been using Linux since 1998.
We've been using Open Source ERP's like iDempiere since October 2009.