Open Source applications can bring unique value to business owners. Since the base application development costs of open source applications is free, small and medium business owners are able to leverage previously unobtainable technolgies against their sales objectives, operational costs and customer satisfaction levels.
Most small and medium businesses cannot afford the typical IT infrastructure model – nor does it make sense even if it is within their budget. Consider the following expenses:
– Hardware Infrastructure (Servers, Routers, etc)
– Software licenses
– Software maintenance
– IT Staff
The creation, countinued adoption and proliferation of Linux (Open Source Operating System) in many server installations across the world has changed the way businesses run their IT operations. Although Linux is not yet a viable technolgy in the workstation model, it most certainly has gained a large market share in the server/application world. Companies adopting Linux into their server environment have realized the decreased costs, increased efficiency and increased security associated with this platform. The secret is now out and organizations are jumping the Microsoft ship at an ever increasing rate. This trend has not been lost on the major players in the IT industry, as IBM and Novell have been furiously waving the Linux banner and adopting the Linux penguin into all their marketing efforts over the last 12-24 months.
What does this mean to the typical Small & Medium Business Owner?
Since the proliferation of Linux, many applications have been developed by programmers from around the world to run on this platform. Pretty much any application a business could require, no matter how specialized, can now be found in the Open Source community. By choosing an ASP (Application Service Provider) provider that has experience with these applications, and the necessary infrastructure to host, manage & support these applications for you, a business owner can now leverage core business applications at a fraction of traditional, “expected” costs. Although IBM has never been able to capitalize or deliver on their now famous marketing slogan “Pay like a little guy, Play like a big guy” – Savy business owners are learning how to accomplish this, even if it isn’t by calling IBM.
Enterprise level applications such as eCommerce, CRM, Content Management and Portals are now available for 100’s of dollars setup, not 10’s of thousands or 100’s of thousands dollars. Combine this with low, fixed operational monthly hosting and support fees – effectively eliminating infrastructure, IT staff, software and bandwith expenses – and the value statement becomes VERY strong for the typical business owners.
Other advantages with Open Source applications:
– Real time updates and upgrades. No more waiting for your vendor to release the next version before bugs &/or security holes are patched.
– Once a bug is identified and validated, the Open Source community is quick to release a fix.
– Open source means open and available code – unlike various proprietary systems, where source code is not available – application integration is now affordable and possible, even for small business.
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