by August 8, 2013 0 comments

Open source holds tremendous potential for making IT spends more effective. Every open source-based project is different, which means there is no single answer for achieving maximum ROI from open source solutions. Depending upon the business scenario and nature of the individual project, the ROI of an open source solution can be enormous or negligible.

As companies make more significant commitments to open source, the challenges become clear i.e. selecting the right product; ensuring that legal risk is minimized; reducing the time spent installing, configuring and updating; and obtaining high quality, responsive support.

Businesses often look at software & applications that can offer better return on investments; as a result open source software happens to be an obvious choice when evaluating between commercial & open source.

Today, open source is everywhere in business, the best example being on the smart device in the form of the Android OS which is an open source foundation that enables the Android developers to innovate, add extensions and work wonders with the operating system. Today be it an enterprise or SMB, every organization does evaluate open source as part of their overall business and IT strategy.

Open source as an industry has now matured enough to cater every enterprise’s software need, –application servers, databases, office applications, web browsers, security, network & infrastructure software, etc. Even commercial proprietary software can offer the same, but it’s for the business to decide between the two when evaluating the overall ROI. The common solution areas where open source solutions are extensively used are CRM and web development (including content management systems for websites). E-commerce companies too heavily depend on open source platforms for enabling related areas like search engine optimization, business analytics and reporting and product catalogue management.

 

There could be several reasons to choose for an open source product over the commercial products. But the questions always revolve around the following factors when considering open source:

Will it offer cost saving (TCO)? Will it impact the overall application efficiency & productivity? Is there a model in place for technical support as compared to traditional proprietary solutions? So how do we evaluate?
Open Source solutions run efficiently like other proprietary solution
Firstly, open source projects do help in lowering the total cost of ownership, since there is no licensing fee, acquisition cost, no patch fees or costly version upgrades. Organizations can use community versions for POCs & testing purposes. They can customize it as per the requirements, thus reducing the overall solution cost.

Secondly the open source solutions run efficiently like any other proprietary solution. With open source, the enterprise can assess requirements & customize the solutions to their requirements.
Thirdly when looking at the overall technical support for an open source versus traditional proprietary, open source is far better. There are real-time communities of developers who are continuously supporting & developing the solutions. There is continuous knowledge sharing & collaboration that runs the support model for an open source project.

Ultimately, before going for an open source project, every enterprise should not only look at the TCO as a factor of evaluation but also compare other factors that can give the right balance to gain the maximum from the overall development, the other important factors that should be considered are: Customizability, overall development time, vendor dependency, community support options, security, faster time to market, availability, etc. This may improve the overall ROI when looking at open source as an option.

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