A discussion on Oleg’s blog Beyond PLM made me think about the motivations and incentives of open source as an approach for developing software and how it fits with associated business models.
The post was titled “PLM and Open Source Licenses” and covered a lot of good points, however, the discussion comments had very little to do with licensing and a lot more to do with how to build a business an open source world. Thought I’d post a modified version of my comments on our blog as well and try to relate it directly to our corporate community members.
In the not so distant past many, many people were developing lots of products and then try to sell them and only a very few could make money selling licenses. The only difference with open source is that one takes an ‘indirect’ monetization approach.
The same is true with the Web sites we all use today. Lots of people working on lots of Web sites, only a few Google and Facebook type success stories (cloud accelerates ‘winner takes all’ type outcomes).
It has always been difficult to build a business and always will be. However, what open source does is make it easier to get going, less required up-front investment and better potential to scale the business.
OSS opens the door to leveraging much more than just code/free software, ideas and best practices are exchanged more easily and with far fewer obstacles, innovation occurs faster, connecting business processes end-to-end is easier than ever before and more cost effective. This is because of an open approach and modern technology.
It opens a whole new opportunity landscape for companies to compete more effectively, efficiently and more aggressively – especially when confronted with competitors that want to undercut price.
Now, your business can respond quickly, offer new types of value that low cost competitors can’t (like more configurable options / variants, faster customization for build to order, better quality and customer responsiveness). You can truly differentiate in ways the other guy can’t. This is powerful, this is what’s possible, this is what we are enabling that no other PLM provider (or ERP vendor) can give your company.
The laws of the capitalist jungle still apply, but companies are reaping the benefits of these collective advancements in open source PLM solutions, sometimes in unanticipated ways. Here are a couple links to videos from our community event of some great examples:
Lear Corporation http://aras.com/plm/001116
The drive to compete, the lower barriers to differentiate, the potential for ever greater innovation, the ability to leverage others best practices to offer something that your company might not otherwise have been able to do. These are just a few of the advantages of an open source approach in PLM. It’s why we believe that ‘open source is the format of the future’.
What’s your take? Will your company continue to be shackled by legacy PLM systems that are locked down and hold you back? Or are you ready to innovate and compete like never before?
P.S. For those not really familiar with how pervasive open source is or the background, here’s a link to a nice overview by Francois Marier http://vospe.com/2010/09/22/a-brief-history-35-years-of-open-source-software-a/
Image from ECO-Holdings
Fri, Sep 24 2010 3:09 PM