Recession Worries? Go Open Source to Cut Costs

These days you have many open source products that are just as feature rich, reliable, useful, and usable as their closed source counterparts.

With the world economy in shambles many businesses are already battening down the hatches expecting rough seas ahead. IT budgets will shrink along with all other budgets, and maybe even more than other budgets. After all, companies still need to advertise and pay their workforce, but they may be able to do without new servers or software for a while. And that is where open source software vendors can help keep the ship sailing.

These days you have many open source products that are just as feature rich, reliable, useful, and usable as their closed source counterparts. And some would argue that they're even better than their closed source counterparts. There are lots of examples in this space. This article is being written in the newly released Open Office 3 word processor, which is just as powerful as the Microsoft Office suite. And that's true in pretty much every sector of software. Need a virtual machine? VirtualBox to the rescue. Need a content management system? Check out WebGUI. Need a desktop replacement for Windows? Check out Ubuntu. Need a customer relationship management system? Try SugarCRM. And this list goes on and on and on.

But those who haven't tried out these products, might reply with. "I've never heard of product X." Or "Yeah, but I need professional support!" You might be surprised to know that every one of the products listed above has a company behind it providing professional support and services. OpenOffice and VirtualBox are supported by Sun Microsystems. WebGUI is supported by Plain Black. Ubuntu is supported by Canonical. And SugarCRM is supported by SugarCRM. And as for never hearing of them, you just did!

Open source applications have one thing that their closed-source brethren don't have: licensing fees. Certainly you'll still have support, deployment, and possibly hosting costs; but you have those costs with closed source software as well. The difference is that you'll save the money you would have put toward licensing fees and now you have that to put toward implementation and support costs. Whereas if you have a tight budget, and have to pay licensing fees, you might just be forced into a "do it yourself" support role. And in the end, at 2pm on Friday when the server goes down, isn't it nice to know that you still have the funds to pay the experts to get you back up and running again?

JT Smith is a renowned open source guru and the president of Plain Black, the developer and distributor of the WebGUI Content Engine. He speaks internationally on topics related to Web content management.

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Comments

The Sugar Refinery

1

Go Open Source to Cut Costs

This is an interesting article. As a dedicated customisation house in the UK for <a href="http://www.thesugarrefinery.com">SugarCRM</a>, we are very experienced with the problems faced in trying to promote an Open Source solution. The article covers some of these issues but not all:

1) IT managers often think that Open Source (or community contributed) means poor quality. In fact, the opposite is quite often true. Open Source solutions such as SugarCRM are every bit as stable as closed source.

2) IT managers often state a reluctance (or did prior to the current economic conditions) to even look at Open Source. Or, at least that is until you point out they already use it. We've found the best sales tactic when faced with "We can't go with Sugar because it's open source and we don't do open source" is often to simply point out that their web site is already running PHP, Linux and MySql!

3) Concerns over support. As stated in the article, there are concerns that either there won't be any support, or support will have to come "from the community". That isn't very attractive for a mission critical system when an answer is needed within half an hour at 11pm on New Year's Eve. In reality, most major Open Source vendors do provide cost effective support plans - after all, that's where they make their money.

[there was more, but your system won't take large enough comments!]

Anonymous

2

Query over accuracy

"Open source applications have one thing that their closed-source brethren don't have: licensing fees"

Surely this is the wrong way around. OS applications do not have licensing fees, which is why you can save money using them.

Alex

3

SugarCRM

More info about <a href="http://sugarcrmexpert.com/">SugarCRM Advantages</a>

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