Open source has long been seen as a driving force behind innovation in Information Technology, with its loudest champions in strong support of its inherent altruism. However, open source has been monetized en masse with the advent of SaaS business models, creating a boon in adoption by conventional organizations. According to Pankaj Gupta, a product marketing leader at Citrix, more companies are utilizing open source technologies in their own software development, and in return, sharing new code with the community. As innovations increasingly occur, CIOs have an array of new software at their disposal. Gupta posits that CIOs should adhere to a new set of parameters when searching for open source software products that will best serve their company’s growth and long-term success. By answering three key questions, executives can better evaluate the potential efficacy of a product before taking a risk on new tech.
For years, executives only had a handful of choices for new open source solutions, making adoption and long-term commitments relatively simple. Software hosting site GitHub provided basic feedback about projects and their popularity, and organizations could rely heavily on these metrics. As the market continues to shift toward cloud distribution and SaaS solutions, proprietary data becomes obscured. For contemporary CIOs, a new rubric is needed to help determine the long-term success of these exponentially innovative open source products. Gupta suggests the following three considerations for effectively evaluating a new product and measuring potential success: availability, market usage, and contributors.
Currently available SaaS products are ideal, providing ease of access and use, and the occasional internal support. Additionally, products that are accessible through public cloud providers such as Google or AWS have already been vetted and deemed it fit for large-scale availability. Reputation still goes a long way in the tech world, so the more esteemed the associations, the better. Furthermore, insight can be gained from knowing which companies are using the product, and in what capacity. Products that are used by large companies in similar markets are more likely to be ready to use at any scale. The final standard to consider is a product’s development contributors. Many companies with high credentials in the tech world are active contributors to the open source software community, like so-called “Super-contributors,” who have dedicated their extensive resources to projects, appealing to CIOs as they make more insightful choices in their open source software adoption.