Open for business: Unisys exec says corporations are ready to put core functions on open-source platforms

In 2008, IT executives in large enterprises will weave open-source solutions more closely into the fabric of their core IT infrastructure—from procurement processes through deployment of next-generation applications, says Anthony Gold, VP and general manager, Open Source Business, with Unisys.


In 2008, IT executives in large enterprises will weave open-source solutions more closely into the fabric of their core IT infrastructure—from procurement processes through deployment of next-generation applications, says Anthony Gold, VP and general manager, Open Source Business, with Unisys .
"In 2008, open source will increasingly contribute to solving what I call the CIO Conundrum," says Gold. "In the face of shrinking budgets, IT executives are being challenged to deliver more business results while simultaneously modernizing the IT infrastructure and leveraging applications they already have. Executives can achieve greater cost efficiency while increasing the value that IT delivers to the organization by using open-source software to integrate proprietary solutions and legacy systems as they modernize their IT infrastructure."
Looking ahead at 2008, Gold predicts:
• Evaluation of open-source solutions will become a standard part of the enterprise IT qualification and procurement process;
• Enterprises will extend—and even modify—their governance policies to include management of open-source resources;
• Business services currently offered by legacy applications will be retooled into flexible new "composite applications" based on open architectures, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA)
• Businesses will increase the speed with which they leverage open source in enterprise applications as well as in operational and business management functions.
Gold says the coming year will see growing adoption of open-source alternatives in various areas that have long been the nearly exclusive province of proprietary solutions.
Increasingly popular tools for business and IT monitoring—such as JasperSoft and Pentaho for dashboard reporting in business intelligence (BI) applications, and GroundWork , Hyperic and Zenoss for operations control—will penetrate even further into corporate IT infrastructures. Others likely to make inroads Alfresco for enterprise content management (ECM); the Concursive Concourse Suite for customer relationship management (CRM) solutions; Compiere , and Openbravo for enterprise resources planning (ERP) solutions; and a host of new collaboration technologies based on Web 2.0 capabilities.
Gold points out that market dynamics and government requirements are major factors in this evolution. Many rapidly developing areas, such as China and other parts of the Asia Pacific region, have first-generation IT infrastructures in which proprietary applications have not been widely deployed. Consequently, they are very receptive to open-source solutions as a first choice. In Europe, state and local governments and even the European Union are driving use of open solutions for ECM to facilitate sharing large amounts of information among governments with a common need for access.
"Open source will continue to grow as an enabling force for business because of its 'perfect storm' of key attributes: a community-driven requirements model; a uniquely targeted deployment model; adherence to, and capability to drive, new standards; and low cost of entry. In 2008, users' greater appreciation of those qualities will bring open source closer to becoming competitive table-stakes for enterprises," Gold concludes.

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