Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, March 16, 2007

The (Small) Business Case for Open Source


If the code for open source can be shared, why not the business cases for it? No reason at all, says one UK company that will blog its experiences migrating an entire small business IT infrastructure to open source.

Mercian Labels, a 20-person maker of custom printed self-adhesive labels (and who doesn't love them?), posted a press release on its corporate blog announcing the start of its open source migration and its case study. As the migration proceeds, the company will blog about its strategic decisions, cost benefit analysis, technical options and problems faced during its open source journey.

To grow the open source user base, sharing best practices, case studies and business cases is just as important as sharing code -- especially for resource-challenged small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). And as Mercian found, SMEs may be positioned to realize returns on their open source investments faster than larger companies.

For Mercian, the switch to open source was an easy decision. Its business case balanced new costs of training, internal development and support against its existing costs from viral damage to mission critical servers, uncontrollable system changes, security threats and expensive upgrade paths.

Mercian decided to take control of its own IT destiny. Control, cost and future flexibility make open source an unbeatable component of its small business success. And even accounting for new costs, the company projects a positive (dollar) return on its investment in 1 year.


Categories: opensource, businesscase, SME

3 comments:

Donald Axel said...

This is a great idea. There are much energy directed towards implementation of systems based on the Open Source development model;
in the server field systems based on Open Source have been working smoothly for years.
However, we could still use some recommended path for workstation setup. It should include an open database for hardware which easily supports sound-systemsoftware, Xvideo and probably the new hardware extensions (USB, SATA, 802/11g, SAN, RAID etc.)
I still wonder why the vendors of Open Source based systems seem to have a hard time explaining what customers should do e.g. to get a fully supported laptop with all the necessary software for wireless, usb-drives etc.

I mean, there are wireless card vendors who do not have a driver for e.g. Linux.

Users should be much more aware about the HW-compat issue.

Jeff Kaplan said...

Don, I think you are right. It would be useful for enterprises (and government agencies) to share their experiences with open source migration in more concrete ways.

And it's also true that some hardware makers are still catching up -- including Linux drivers, for example. But that will happen over time I am sure as demand for OSS continues to increase. Look at what Dell Computers did recently shipping boxes with Linux pre-installed. Demand will drive this.

sowmya said...

Hi

If the code for open source can be shared, why not the business cases for it? No reason at all, says one UK company that will blog its experiences migrating an entire small business IT infrastructure to open source.
small business