Embracing open source in Africa
Open source has become an integral part of the technology strategy of any business. The rise of cloud computing, big data, and even social networking, have seen open source being recognised as the way of the future. Matthew Lee, Regional Manager for Africa at SUSE, looks at the shift from a 100% solely run proprietary environment.
According to the 2015 Future of Open Source Survey, 78% of company respondents say they run some form of open source in the organisation. In fact, the use of open source software to run business IT environments has almost doubled globally since 2010.
“With the growth trajectory of adoption rates expected to increase significantly in the next two to three years, there is no escaping the impact that open source is having in the enterprise,” adds Lee.
Additionally, 65% of survey participants reported that open source fuels the competitive advantage of their enterprise. Reasons cited included having better features than proprietary software, providing an easier path to deployment, and giving the organisation the best opportunity to scale to meet business demand.
“This shows that being completely reliant on traditional, proprietary systems is fast becoming extinct. Local decision-makers need to embrace this shift if they are to remain competitive,” says Lee.
When open source software (OSS) started building momentum in the late 90s, much of the arguments in favour of it revolved around the fact that it was free to implement. Today, adoption is not so much about cost as it is about the flexibility to customise according to company (and industry)-specific requirements. Proprietary systems simply do not offer decision-makers the capability to integrate more fluidly into existing systems.
“One of the biggest stumbling blocks to the adoption of open source in South Africa, and the rest of the continent, is fighting against the status quo. Proprietary software is seen as the ‘traditional model’ and many companies think it is easier to follow the norm than it is to change their approach when it comes to IT solutions. However, this is certainly not the case as not only does an always open enterprise give businesses more control of their IT infrastructure, but also enables the deployment of critical IT services in physical, virtual or cloud environments over highly reliable, scalable and secure server operating systems that deliver increased uptime, better efficiency, and accelerated innovation - reducing the risk of technological obsolescence and vendor lock-in.”
Working with the right partner who can provide the necessary assistance for the transition to open source will not only showcase the true potential open source has, but will also alleviate any concerns. This partner should be able to guide business on how best to integrate OSS – not only on an enterprise level, but also broader into storage and cloud solutions.
“The open source approach today is as much about providing true business solutions as it is about the platform on which a company works. Change needs to be embraced as the business possibilities that open source offer are just too good to ignore,” concludes Lee.