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DD Mishra, Partner, CIO Specialist Advisory, shares  his views and experiences around open source adoption and factors which are enabling the adoption of open source software. As per Mr Mishra, the world is changing fast and the perception about open source is also different today with respect to what it used to be few years ago. He talks about various nexus of forces which are leading the change in perception.  

Couple of years ago, open source software was viewed with much scepticism. I also had my own doubts and viewed the risk of orphanage, security and bugs around the open source architecture as one of the most prominent deterrents.  Today, as the world is changing towards commoditization and consumerisation of IT and never before expectation to do more with less, we see open source is the way forward.

The nexus of forces which are driving the world towards more open source software based regime are discussed below:-

1. Shrinking Revenue: As the money is tight, demand to do more with less keeps growing. Huge money is spent on buying software assets and expensive maintenance prevents IT departments from cost optimization initiatives. For CIOs looking for IT cost optimisation, open source adoption will release lot of money to fund different initiatives for business growth.

2. Compliance: As compliance norms become more stringent, IT departments are under increased pressure to react to the situation and ensure adherence. In addition, products organisations are facing revenue crunch from new businesses are driving towards existing customers and using various means including compliance of licensing policies to protect revenue stream at a time when customers are looking for cutting costs. This is creating unique breeding grounds for open source adoption.

3. SAAS & Cloud: Cloud Computing is one of the biggest drivers to open source. The risk of unexpected costs of licenses as a surprise in cloud based architecture is always there. In addition, complex licensing structures motivate suppliers towards open source. I came across many SAAS applications and products, which are based on open source architecture avoiding complexity of licenses in a commoditized environment.

4. Maturity: As the open source architecture is gaining more maturity due to increased dependency, the reluctance to adopt due to various concerns related to security or ownership is gradually diminishing. The adoption of Linux, MySQL, Apache, Android, PHP, Wordpress etc. are few examples for success of open source and the list is growing fast.

5. Flexibility: As business agility is increasing, underlying architecture will also demand lot of integration and simplicity. Strict licensing regimes & upgrades bind new features to next upgrades and releases and takes out flexibility. With open source, one can create easy integration as kernel is exposed and more flexibility is available.

6. SME Sector: The technological adoption to fuel growth of SME sector both in consumer and supplier terms has led to increased adoption of open source software. Adoption of open source provides capability, cost effectiveness and agility for smaller companies who can avoid upfront costs.

7. BYOD & Mobility: Usage of variety of devices and demand for different kinds of applications is also fueling mushroom growth of providers who would not like to fall into the trap of licenses and would choose open source platforms to deliver applications on myriad of devices. Even for organisations as well it is difficult to account for licenses and hence open source is the choice many CIOs adopt.

In conclusion, in today’s world business is more social and democratic and based around collaboration, crowdsourcing and innovation and expects underlying architecture to be agile & simple. The regime based on contract, compliance and control may not align well with the prevailing culture. When the winds of change are blowing, it is advisable to build windmills and I am sure product companies will reinvent the choices to align with the current expectations with licensing options. Today, I humbly admit that my views about open source software are very different for what it used to be a couple of years ago and I am confident of evolution & revolution based on open source software architecture.

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