Open Source Software for Businesses | Pipeline Magazine
By: Andrea Worrlein
When modernizing their IT infrastructure and business processes, many companies around the world are already relying on open source technologies. One of the main reasons for this choice is the speed at which innovative solutions can be developed and implemented through the use of open source in their businesses.
When decision makers choose between the closed or open source path for their business, they need to think pragmatically. Digitization technologies are developing rapidly and what could be the pinnacle of innovation one day can quickly fall out of practice soon after. Therefore, an important, and often decisive, aspect for companies to consider is the speed at which innovation can occur with the technologies used. For a growing number of companies, this is essential to keep pace with the accelerating digitization of business processes, and even entire business models. In this regard, the support provided by the software landscape is of the utmost importance.
A quick glance at the global open source community is enough to see the development power that resides in the community’s knowledge pool. While proprietary closed-source vendors are bound by their own interests, the open source community can respond quickly and effectively to emerging developments, potential threats, and market changes. Not only that, but open source developers are also able to serve as readily available modernization partners and can offer constructive assistance in the development of innovative software solutions.
Additionally, an existing pool of developers means there is already a plethora of open source solutions and platforms for businesses to choose from, allowing them to select exactly the solutions that best meet their needs. While closed-source options can offer top-to-bottom development of any new software, it can turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing. Instead of spending time developing an innovative software stack from scratch, businesses can build on proven, widely used, and constantly optimized core solutions.
It is estimated that at least 80% of a software stack is not considered critical, so it makes little sense for companies to reinvent the wheel in order to develop their own proprietary solutions. For this part of the software stack modernization, they can use proven open source solutions, platforms, interfaces and tools. This allows businesses to focus broadly and more effectively on the roughly 20% of the software stack that is critical to digitizing and differentiating their business models. And for this too, open source provides the massive development power of the global community of experts and a wide range of proven solutions.
The IT world has long since said goodbye to the once-common fixed software update schedule and instead embraced a principle of continuous software improvement, which has always been a staple of the open source community. While certainly an improvement, this methodical approach can be driven and optimized much better with a global, almost infinitely scalable developer community than with the inevitably limited resources of closed-source vendors. With open source, software codes are shared publicly around the world and jointly developed. All changes are immediately visible and available to all participants, whether for their own use or to optimize their own solutions. This has unbeatable advantages in terms of agility, flexibility and speed.
For example, the open source community can provide answers to unpredictable events, developments, or requirements with a much faster reaction time than the limited workforce of hermetic software makers. Ultimately, this also has an impact on quality and safety, as the constant work of the global developer