I love open source software. We’ve built a lot of solutions utilizing open source technologies such as Bootstrap, jQuery, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, SugarCRM and many others. They have really propelled what we’ve become as a business over the years and we see the value that customers enjoy with these technologies. Open source is a boon to the way small and medium sized businesses operate in today’s business climate in that it allows extreme flexibility in developing solutions but also saves thousands of dollars.
So how can you save thousands of dollars? If you can into the account the amount of money that is spent on licensing with a lot of software solutions out there you can easily see the cost savings. If you’re paying for Salesforce then you’re looking upwards of $1500 USD a year for a customizable and flexible solution that can be achieved with an open source product that costs nothing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will pay nothing, as there are still configuration and installation costs, but ultimately you can build a solution that meets the criteria of your business by infusing the dollars from licensing into the actual development and training of your new platform.
Recently I saw another open source project called Mautic, which is an open source project looking to compete with the likes of Hubspot, Marketo and many others in the marketing automation space. This is what we call a disruptor no different than what SugarCRM did in 2004 when it set to take on Salesforce. These types of projects are exciting as it shows what is possible with community and how it can impact businesses collectively.
The warnings though is that even though you go down the open source path, keep in mind, there’s no free lunch. Whether it’s through your own time commitment, staff time commitment, bringing in consultants or acquiring servers – there will be costs. But I promise there is flexibility in creating solutions that will make you that much stronger in your organization.
Now, not so much of a warning but a misconception. I hear a lot of people ask about the security of open source software and I can tell you this. Exploits and security issues are addressed quicker through an open source model simply because you’re no longer required waiting on a developer to fix things but normally exploits and security issues are identified by the community and fixed by the community in a short order.
Open source is an exciting option that you can use on its own or you can also package it with other paid solutions. It’s definitely something worth looking into.