Open source software is barreling down the hill with no intention of stopping. If you’re working for a tech company or own one yourself, you may have noticed that open source software is quickly becoming the standard default base for software development.
The number has spoken
According to the North Bridge and Black Duck Software’s annual future of open source survey of 2010, 42 percent of respondents stated that they used open source software as the go-to-gear to keep their business running, or their IT department in tip-top shape. This year it’s now grown to 78 percent –more than half the number in just five years. The survey included responses from 1,300 IT professionals and businesses all over the industry.
The survey also yielded interesting numbers regarding companies who said they’re using open source resources to create software for their clients – almost seventy percent of respondents accounted for this admission.
There are also more than sixty percent that participated in open source projects, and it’s expected that the number would increase to almost ninety percent in the next two to three years. Open-source software is also the first choice among the survey participants before they consider other alternatives.
Perhaps the biggest benefit a company can gain from using open source software is the outside help from those beyond their rosters. As open source software is freely available and can be modified by anyone, the scale of its improvement is far greater than those privately owned by others.
This factor allows both companies and customers to collaborate together in an attempt to advance a single goal: enhancement of product.
Furthermore, embracing the open source element in your workforce opens you to opportunities to better your company. One example is finding talented individuals beyond your office walls and incorporating them in your team. They’re already familiar with what you’re working on and you can peruse their work based on their contribution in the community.
Ushering open source in your company also encourage talents within your walls to showcase their skill. Specific tasks are often times designated to employees that hinder them from participating on projects which they are skilled at. By using open source software you are fostering the free flow of ideas between levels of your company’s department, while simultaneously recognizing and developing talents inside your workforce.
Engaging the community
Companies should also increase their engagement to the open source community. Ask for inputs outside of your payroll. Use blogs and forums to start meaningful discussions. Doing this provides a lot of data regarding what it is that the customers are looking for – and those in the community are indeed potential customers. But you shouldn’t just see them as end-users. Treat them as collaborators too.
Companies today should find a common ground between traditional workforce and this new approach that is rising in popularity. While it can be difficult for some to alter their operations to adjust to this changes, doing so now may have result in a huge advantage in the long run.