Part three of Small Matters’ Top ten IT strategies for SME’s today looks at Open Source.
SMEs can get low cost access to software. Reducing capital spend is a good idea in the current uncertain economic situation but open source software can also be a competitive advantage.
Open source provides free software available under an open source licence, which gives users access to the source code. It allows companies to develop their own software through access to a shared community of knowledge. And according to a survey from Accenture, development is set to rise over the next 12 months.
Glen Conybeare, commercial director of software firm Cognitive Match, uses Pentaho’s BI tool to analyse data for clients. This has saved the company time in having to develop a bespoke product from scratch, and the expense of buying something off-the-shelf if it had gone for a standard software package instead.
“With open source what you effectively have is a lot of free training from other users. All you need to do is go on to the community pages and ask if anyone has experienced the same problem. If the product has a large user base you will usually find someone. People are prepared to give up their time because they know that when someone has a problem they will help them,” he said.
Pentaho’s Analyser is part of the Pentaho BI Suite, Conybeare said he has paid less than £20,000 for Pentaho to provide initial service and support, with the equivalent product from a proprietary vendor in the region of a six figure sum, he said. “The key thing for us is that our clients expect a lot and don’t want to pay a lot for it. So for us efficiency is important to what we do as we can then pass cost savings on to our customers.”