Monday, January 19, 2009

Open source saves companies money and time, improves reliability

This is from BusinessWeek.

Cost-Conscious Companies Turn to Open-Source Software


The article mentions multiple ways in which companies benefit from using open source software:

Excerpts/highlights from the article:

  • [ E*Trade's technology chief, Lee Thompson (in 2001 and 2002), said that "he was saving $13 million a year thanks to use of these freely available applications known as open-source software, and the fact that he could run that software on less expensive hardware". ]

  • [ SugarCRM, a 4½-year-old company that offers both free and subscription-based open-source customer relationship management software (BusinessWeek SmallBiz, 4/16/08), posted record revenue in the third quarter .... "We're obviously not excited about a global recession but if we're going to have one, I'd rather be a commercial open-source company rather than a proprietary one," says SugarCRM CEO John Roberts, who says he's seeing larger deals. ]

  • [ Other commercial open-source vendors that have clocked record quarters include Digium, which sells small business phone systems built from open-source software called Asterisk, and Zenoss, which makes open-source network management software. Digium and Zenoss make money by selling support services as well as extra features that enhance the software, such as high-end security. ]

  • [ The biggest commercial open-source company is Red Hat (RHT), with more than $500 million in revenue in the 12 months ending in February ]

  • [ Office Depot says college graduates are also more excited about working with open-source software rather than proprietary programs, making recruiting easier. ]

  • [ Japan's Shinsei Bank began using open source about four years ago. ]

  • [ The Los Angeles Times says it's drawn to open-source software by the community of developers constantly working to improve it. In January 2008, the newspaper began using Alfresco to manage some of the images and video for its Web site. "We called other companies using Alfresco, and we started asking questions," says Kamran Izadpanah, vice-president for technology and architecture at the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody has been helpful and open," he says, adding that he would not likely get the same kind of help from other companies using proprietary software. ]

"Benefits Beyond Saving Money":

  • [ "Your engineers spend less time on contract negotiation and more time on the technology, which is really what you want them to be doing," says E*Trade's Thompson. ]

  • [ The online trading company (E*Trade) also says its systems have become more reliable under open-source software. On Jan. 22, around the time of an interest rate move by the U.S. Federal Reserve, nearly 55,000 customers logged in at once to, the highest level in the past five years. The site performed at normal levels across all its trading and investing platforms, and the company says it fared much better than the competition. ]

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises.

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