The Business Case For Open Source Software
The expression "Open-Source Software" implies many things. Much has been written about it and there is controversy perhaps propagated by those with most to lose from its widespread adoption. Clearly as advocates for open-source software this will be a biased narrative and we are of the opinion that adopting open-source software has numerous and quite significant advantages to businesses, namely:
- There is no lock in to any support provider. With proprietary software, the traditional support people as authorised by the software company have a monopoly on support in their area. Once a business has entered a support agreement with a provider and committed to a proprietary software package, there is then only limited opportunity to change the service provider should the service not be deemed adequate. By contrast all webERP code is openly accessible and written consistently throughout, this allows the possibility of any PHP professional (with business skills) being able to support the business. PHP expertise is widely available. A competitive market has opened up for webERP support with a number of companies providing it. There is no restriction of who can provide the service. The company could even employ its own PHP specialist to support itself.
- Since the code is open and mature it has been scruitinised by many, many programmers and any issues identified are fed back into the code for the benefit of all. The code has become rock solid as a result. Further assurance that things work the way they should consistently. In closed source proprietary software this opportunity is not available and problems persist even after years. Issues identified in the software are publicised, rather than hidden, so that a solution is identified quickly. Unfortunately, flaws in open source software are therefore more widely known than proprietary software although anyone who uses proprietary software will know all too well that no software is without flaws.
- WebERP is written in a way that allows modification to fit exactly the requirements of the business – with the code available to the business if a business opportunity requires specific functionality webERP can be extended easily and cheaply.
- Licences to use GPL software such as webERP are free – For software in the ERP space this alone represents an extraordinary annual saving to the bottom line of any business. However, the savings don't stop there with webERP. The entire underlying infrastructure, operating system, RDBMS (mysql) and web-server required to run webERP are also licensed under the GPL and therefore also free to use! The entire server can be built from open-source software and most commercial web-hosting companies offer this infrastructure even on their most basic offerings from as little as USD$5 per month!
webERP and open-source software gives control squarely back to the businesses using it.
- Control to make the software do exactly what they want it to do
- Control to choose freely who they have to support them
- Savings in support fees and improvements in the quality of support because there is now competition amongst support providers
- Savings in licence costs for the underlying infrastructure software
- Saving the entire licence cost for the application itself
Too Good to Be True?
The business case is indeed over-whelming. The difficulty is that because it is so amazing to new-comers hearing these facts for the first time, the usual response is that this is just "Too good to be true!". In 99% of cases whenever we come accross such propositions of course it is NOT true and we as business people are trained to be risk averse and simply discount such wildly persuasive pitches as false.
Yes it is too good to be true - but in this case it really is true!