FOSS, COSS and HOSS v. The Enterprise Software Model
Before you write me off as just another Open-Source Zealot, hear me out. 2009 will be recognized as the year when Open-Source Software (OSS), and Cloud Computing (CC) for that matter, became mainstream concepts. Within 5 years both will also be the mainstream deployment models for Enterprise Software. Enterprise software includes: both row and columnar databases, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Data Quality (DQ)/Extraction, Transformation, Load (ETL)/Master Data Mangement (MDM) software, Business Intelligence and Reporting (BI/R) solutions, Portal, Collaboration and Social Networking platforms, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Campaign Management applications as well as any other number of operational and infrastructural applications.
I can make this prediction with certainty thanks to the paradigm-shifting work of Clayton Christensen and his model of disruptive innovation. In a nutshell, disruptive innovation occurs when disruptive technology (generally cheaper and easier to use solutions to existing consumer needs) is coupled with business model innovation (usually in the form of new value networks) to provide products which are simpler and more affordable than their more functional and more complicated competition. The net effect is to open up whole new markets where economies of scale compensate for reduced profit margins. One of Clayton Christensen’s canonical examples of disruptive innovation is the PC’s disruption of the minicomputer (for all the details, pick up a copy of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”). Suffice to say, OSS sits in the same relation to the Enterprise Software Model as PCs did to minicomputers. I’ll happily take up the debate in the comments section with those who disagree, the rest of you will have to take me at my word.
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