Forrester Research recently announced that businesses should focus on four areas. They are:
- Reduce IT costs
- Improve integration between applications
- Use IT to increase innovation
- Support regulatory applications
Many organizations are now implementing Sharepoint as a way to start addressing these issues. Companies usually compare Sharepoint against products like OpenText, Documentum and Vignette while ignoring a fine open source product called Alfresco. Alfresco offers all of the capabilities of all of these products and with the GPL licensing that allows you to get the source code and make any customizations that you need – and all at significantly lower prices. In fact, Dr. Ian Howells of Red Hat recently computed that an Alfresco implementation can be as much as 89% less than a 1,000 user Sharepoint implementation.
But why don’t people look at these free and open source solutions? Usually a couple of reasons. The first is that people usually don’t know about open source solutions. They are community based and rarely sport multi-million advertising campaigns. But then there’s always the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Let’s address some of these items:
- Open source doesn’t have support – There’s support available everywhere! There’s large multinational corporations and small local businesses ready to support your open source stack.
- OK, so it does have commercial support, but it’s not suitable for business – You’ll have to tell Amazon, Google, Facebook, Mazda, Sony and a nultitude of other Fortune 500 companies
- OK, it is supported and it is used by major corporations in mission critical applications, but it’s more expensive – Just do the math. Licensing and maintenance fees are usually a major portion of the purchase price – but free and open source software is truly free. You just pay for what you need – like training, setup and service.
Check out his entire presentation.
If you want to include a free and open source product in your next application review, please let us know. We partner with many of the free and open source applications used in business and can help you understand their capabilities and the savings it can bring to you.