Leveraging open source
Open source software and IT services market currently constitute 8 percent of IT services spends globally, and this amounts to a total of $70 billion. In India, this market is more than $600 million.
Despite huge opportunity, very few partners are focused on open source solutions and services. Many partners blame this on lack of availability of open source skills, lack of licensing revenue stream and difficulty in convincing customers about deploying open source solutions.
While all the above reasons are true, in my analyses, the reason behind partners not embracing open source lies elsewhere. The problem is that we are used to selling vendor solutions. Partners feel that a vendor brand is more powerful and hence are more confident selling brands. The second challenge is the perception that customers will not pay for services and hence, the open source model will not yield any substantial revenues.
However, today the world is moving toward open source and partners will have to eventually embrace it in some form or the other. More than ever before several open source initiatives like OpenStack for cloud computing, Hadoop for big data analytics, and OpenFlow for software-defined networking are increasingly finding strong support from a wide array of vendors.
The NoSQL open source initiative is also gaining ground as it is considered a superior database technology over the traditional proprietary ones. It provides a mechanism for storage and data retrieval that is modeled on means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases. Recently, Flipkart moved to MongoDB for its user engagement platform, while competitor Snapdeal chose Aerospike, another NoSQL platform, to speed up its product catalog.
Many analysts believe that emerging domains like cloud computing, software-defined networking and software-defined storage, and big data and analytics will increase the adoption of open source. Already some of the largest clouds today are built on open source.
Going forward, having open source skills will be imperative for partners. For partners to evolve an open source practice they will need to come out of the comfort zones of the vendor brands. Many open source practitioners opine that to embrace open source the management of a partner organization needs service-centric mindset.
One good way to effect a mindset change could be by using open source infrastructure and applications like ERP and CRM within the partner’s internal organization.
In the current edition, we highlight specific opportunities for partners in the open source domain. We also talk about how few partners have built a successful open source practice.