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Open Source in Big Business (OSDC 2010)


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My OSDC 2010 presentation regarding my personal experience in working with Open Source in big corporations.

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Open Source in Big Business (OSDC 2010)

  1. 1. Open Source in Big Business: A Consulting Perspective Tom Lee Shine Technologies
  2. 2. Overview ● Who am I? ● Shine's Clients ● What is a Consultant? ● Disregard Dogmatism, Acquire Value ● Why Open Source for Your Clients? ● On Total Cost of Ownership ● Selling Big Business on Open Source ● Convincing Big Business to “Give Back”
  3. 3. Who am I? ● Consultant for Shine Technologies ● Software consultancy with offices in Melbourne and Brisbane ● ● Open source contributor ● (C)Python, Node, Rails, ...
  4. 4. ● NAB ● Sensis ● Loyalty Pacific ● Lufthansa Technik ● Others... Shine's Clients
  5. 5. What is a Consultant? “A consultant is a professional who provides professional or expert advice in a particular area of expertise.” – Wikipedia People pay consultants for our opinions. They pay consultants because they believe our advice will translate to tangible value.
  6. 6. Disregard Dogmatism, Acquire Value Your primary consideration as a consultant should be to deliver optimum value to your client. The best solution for your client may not be open source.
  7. 7. Why Open Source for Your Clients? Proprietary solutions often limit your client's options for support. Falling-out with a proprietary vendor will leave a client facing difficult, expensive decisions. Initial outlay for open source is typically less than for proprietary solutions. Benefit from features and bug-fixes delivered for free by the community.
  8. 8. Why Open Source for Your Clients? (cont.) Only the license and (lack of) access to the source code prevents your consultancy from supporting proprietary solutions. Is a vendor of proprietary software really more technically capable than anybody else with access to the source?
  9. 9. Selling Big Business on Open Source Most of the time they ask, or they're already using it! Usually specific, proven Open Source solutions that are tried and tested. Prove that you can support these solutions.
  10. 10. Selling Big Business on Open Source (cont.) Big business is generally conservative: Opportunities on the bleeding-edge are rare. Prefer good business relationships to proprietary lock-in.
  11. 11. Convincing Big Business to “Give Back” Your clients may be a little nervous about you contributing fixes upstream. Convince them of the benefits of “giving back”. Go ahead and create useful open source for your clients. e.g. jazz – node template engine (In active use by the CitySearch team at Sensis)
  12. 12. Convincing Big Business to “Give Back” (cont.) Convincing your clients to give back benefits everyone. The Open Source project continues to improve. Simplifies the upgrade path for your client. Gets your consultancy's name “out there”.
  13. 13. On Total Cost of Ownership Lots of talk regarding Open Source vs. proprietary on TCO, but it's pointless to generalize. For any given problem, the difference between the TCO of open source and proprietary solutions can and will differ due to any number of factors. Do your homework!
  14. 14. Summary ● Focus on delivering value to your clients. ● Be understanding of corporate technological conservatism. ● This is RL: don't get caught up in dogma.
  15. 15. Questions? Tom Lee Shine Technologies