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The Enterprise Future is Open Source

By: Andrea Worrlein

When modernizing their IT infrastructure and business processes, many companies around the world already rely on open-source technologies. One of the main reasons for this choice is the sheer speed at which innovative solutions can be developed and implemented through the use of open source in their businesses.

When decision-makers are deciding between the closed or open-source path for their company, they have to think pragmatically. Digitalization technologies are developing rapidly, and what might be the height of innovation one day can quickly fall out of practice soon after. Therefore, one important, and often decisive, aspect for businesses to consider is the speed with which innovation can occur with the technologies in use. For an increasing number of companies, this is essential if they are to keep pace with the accelerating digitization of business processes—or even entire business models. In this respect, the support provided by the software landscape is of the utmost importance.

Worldwide development power

A quick look at the global open-source community is enough to see the development power that lies within the community’s pool of knowledge. While proprietary closed-source providers are bound by their own interests, the open-source community can react quickly and efficiently to emerging developments, potential threats, and market changes. Not only this, 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.

In addition, an existing pool of developers means that there is already a wealth of open-source solutions and platforms for companies to pick and choose from, allowing them to select exactly which solutions best meet their needs. While closed-source options may offer top-to-bottom development of brand-new software, this may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing. Instead of spending time developing an innovative software stack from scratch, companies can instead build upon proven, widely used and constantly optimized basis solutions.

At least an estimated 80 percent of a software stack is not considered mission-critical, so it makes little sense for companies to reinvent the wheel in order to develop their own exclusive solutions. For this part of software stack modernization, they can use proven open-source solutions, platforms, interfaces and tools. This allows companies to focus largely and more efficiently on the 20 percent or so of the software stack that is essential for digitizing and differentiating their business models. And for this, too, open source provides the massive development power of the global expert community and a broad range of proven solutions.

Rigid structures hinder real development

The IT world has long since said goodbye to the once-common fixed schedule of software updates and has instead opted for a principle of continuous improvement for software, which has always been a staple in the open-source community. While this is certainly an improvement, this methodical approach can be driven and optimized far better with a worldwide, almost infinitely scalable developer community than with the inevitably limited resources of closed-source providers. 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 for optimizing their own solutions. This has unbeatable advantages in terms of agility, flexibility and speed.

For example, the open-source community can provide responses to unpredictable events, developments or requirements with far faster reaction time than the limited manpower of the manufacturers of hermetic software. Ultimately, this also has an impact on quality and security, because the constant work of the worldwide developer



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