Today I want to share some thoughts about getting things done in business.
Let´s assume you work in a business with working processes and an (IT)environment that is well known. This business has a goal: making money
Now you have to bring in new technology into this environment.
You have found a way to do it with a 3rd party software which is well known for doing exactly what you want.
You tested the solution and it is working like expected. There is vendor support available. Yes, this solution costs money.
Now let´s assume somebody comes in and says “I know a cheaper way of accomplishing the same, because I can use open source software. This does not cost you anything”
What do you do? Give it a try, right? Well, yes. I´d do the same. But with a limit. If I see the configuration of all moving parts is so complicated and can change with every version of this technology in the future, I would stop the evaluation of the free solution. Because it is not free anymore. It has cost you money paying whoever told you he/she could do it “for free”. It would cost you more money until it´s working.
Even if he/she gets it working, you always have to consider what´s your long term cost. What’s your cost of maintaining this solution? Do you gain speed or are you getting slower?
I don´t say that open source (and/or free) software is evil and you should never use it. I´m getting more and more a friend of open sourcing stuff. I see the value in providing the sources. People can interact and improve stuff. Yes, this is still a new world for me, coming from a Microsoft background. But I´m willing to learn. And I do.
But when we´re talking business, it´s about getting a job done. No matter the platform. Assuming that you don´t work in a company with unlimited resources, you´re getting paid to do your job in a way that is beneficial for the company. If that means implementing a software that costs money has a better result for the company, then this is the way to go (or at least I would). Going the open source route just for going the open source route is setting the priorities wrong I think.
Getting stuff done is what matters. Yes, there is company politics, and yes there are financial limitations. But in the end, IT has to support the business. IT has to enable the business to do more with less effort. It´s not about fanboys and girls implementing what they like the most. It´s about doing what is most valuable for the business. For some this is a shift of mind (partially for me also). But I truly believe that this shift has to be done. It does not matter what platforms you use. It does not matter if you personally like other platforms better.
What benefits the company? This matters.