I was listening to an interview of John Roberts CEO and Co-Founder of SugarCRM. I have thought a lot about an open source approach to Enterprise applications. There are many highly competitive enterprise application markets, like CRM, ERP, Inventory Management just to name a few. Those enterprise markets are dominated by Oracle, Microsoft and SAP all using a proprietary model. John Roberts points out that these companies spend 50% of their budgets on sales and marketing which adds up to a large sum of money.
Now I have heard the various value propositions of the big players and Mr. Roberts makes a case for SugarCRM. Customers pay for that sales and marketing, imagine if these customers funded open source projects to build open versions of the software they need. This is a revolution, croudsource your enterprise applications. A trend that we will see more of, companies (traditional non-tech) supporting open source projects as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Technology companies have always supported open source projects for competitive advantage.
Why should technology companies be the only players in the open source space. There exists in the world today the engineering capacity to create these open source products. There are definitely markets for open source versions of enterprise applications. In my opinion the open sourcing of enterprise applications will drive innovation and agility. No longer will a company have to run their business based on their enterprise software vendor’s release schedule. Companies could use the open source option to leverage more from the big players or just to simply use the open source version.
I expect that we will see more open source enterprise applications, it’s inevitable. The opportunity is to large and the need is to great.