4 ways open source gives you a competitive edge

Article Summary
Using open source technology can help organizations drive better business outcomes.

This article is a revised version of the original publication at opensource.com.

Building a tech stack is a major decision for every organization. While picking the right tools will set your team up for success, picking the wrong solutions or platforms can have devastating effects on productivity and profitability. To succeed in today's fast-paced world, organizations must make smart investments in digital solutions that enable them to move faster and increase operational agility.

This is precisely why more and more organizations of all sizes and across all industries are embracing open source solutions. According to a recent McKinsey report, open source adoption is the biggest differentiator for top-performing organizations.

Here are four reasons why adopting open source technology can help organizations drive competitive advantage and experience better business outcomes.

1. Extensibility and flexibility

Suffice it to say the world of technology moves quickly. For example, Kubernetes didn't exist before 2014, but today, it's impressively ubiquitous. According to the CNCF's 2020 Cloud Native Survey, 91% of teams are using Kubernetes in some form.

One of the main reasons organizations are investing in open source is because it enables them to operate with agility and rapidly integrate new technologies into their stack. That's compared to the more traditional approach, where teams would take quarters or even years to vet, implement, and adopt software—making it impossible for them to pivot with any sense of urgency.

Since open source solutions offer complete access to source code, teams can easily connect the software to the other tools they use every day.

Simply put, open source enables development teams to build the perfect tool for what is at hand instead of being forced to change how they work to fit into how inflexible proprietary tools are designed.

2. Security and high-trust collaboration

In the age of high-profile data breaches, organizations need highly secure tools that enable them to keep sensitive data secure.

When vulnerabilities exist in proprietary solutions, they're often undiscovered until it's too late. Unfortunately for the teams using these platforms, the lack of visibility into source code means they're essentially outsourcing security to the specific vendor and hoping for the best.

Another main driver of open source adoption is that open source tools enable organizations to take control over their own security. For example, open source projects—particularly those with large communities—tend to receive more responsible vulnerability disclosures because everyone using the product can thoroughly inspect the source code.

Since the source code is freely available, such disclosures often come with detailed proposed solutions for fixing bugs. This enables dev teams to remedy issues faster, continuously strengthening the software.

In the age of remote work, it's more important than ever for distributed teams to collaborate while knowing that sensitive data stays protected. Since open source solutions allow organizations to audit security while maintaining complete control over their data, they can facilitate the high-trust collaboration needed to thrive in remote environments.

3. Freedom from vendor lock-in

According to a recent study, 68% of CIOs are concerned about vendor lock-in. They should be. When you're locked into a piece of technology, you're forced to live with someone else's conclusions instead of making your own.

Proprietary solutions often make it challenging to take data with you when an organization switches vendors. On the other hand, open source tools offer the freedom and flexibility needed to avoid vendor lock-in and take data wherever an organization wants to go.

4. Top talent and community

As more and more companies embrace remote work, the war for talent is becoming even more competitive.

In the world of software development, landing top talent starts with giving engineers access to modern tools that enable them to reach their full potential at work. Since developers increasingly prefer open source solutions to proprietary counterparts, organizations should strongly consider open source alternatives to their commercial solutions to attract the best developers on the market.

In addition to making it easier to hire and retain top talent, open source platforms also enable companies to tap into a community of contributors for advice on how to walk through problems and get the most out of the platform. Plus, members of the community also contribute to open source projects directly.

Open source offers freedom

Open source software is increasingly popular among enterprise teams—for good reason. It gives teams the flexibility needed to build the perfect tool for the job while enabling them to maintain a highly secure environment. At the same time, an open source approach allows teams to maintain control of their future, rather than being locked into one vendor's roadmap. And it also gives companies access to talented engineers and members of the open source community.

Need help to get started with open source? Contact Jason Blais for expert advice today.