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Open But Not Free

The traditional enterprise software lifecycle cannot keep pace with the speed and changing needs of 21st century businesses, and thus cannot deliver the agility these businesses need to gain a competitive edge and thrive. We need radical change, and we can find the inspiration for a new culture of collaboration in the best practices of the open source software development community.

Line of business executives are too often constrained—not empowered—by IT and software development cycles that limit their ability to respond to market opportunities or create brand differentiation. Typically, companies must wait 18 to 24 months for a new product, with systemically low confidence that the resulting software will actually meet current business needs the day the software ships. Compounding this problem is the high cost of solution customization, governance, and deployment (all of which, in the traditional model, can’t occur until after the product ships), calling into question the entire ROI model for enterprise software as most of us know it.

In “Flexibility Drives the Emergence of the Business Process Platform”—published as far back as 2005—Gartner recognized that today’s common approaches are inadequate because business models and processes change on a shorter cycle than the pace of software development. If enterprises are to achieve their strategic goals, they need a new strategy for software development that significantly accelerates delivery of core technology and business automation, provides agility, and frees IT to become a champion of business change.

The best way to achieve these goals is to embrace the pragmatic philosophy of the most successful open source projects to leverage the expertise of a broad development community and build applications that address real-world business issues. This means inviting customers to collaborate with the vendor as co-citizens of the development world to ensure product pragmatism.

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Solution Development as Continuous Conversation


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