The enterprise IT market is, arguably, very arguably in fact, sat upon shifting sands today.
Yes there is always a so-called “strategic inflexion point” around the next corner and we have Intel’s Andy Grove to thank for coining that term — but that’s not what we are talking about here.
Partly brought about by virtue of our current position on the global technology innovation curve that we have all been on for the last 50-years, we are in a time of change. Partly brought about by virtue of the very ‘nature’ of the firms pushing this section of the innovation envelope, we find ourselves in a time of change sat upon shifting sands driven by new open source mavericks.
Shockwaves, or serious ripples
Some argue that the ‘new breed’ of established-but-non-behemoth vendors are creating more shockwaves (or serious ripples at the very least) across the IT landscape than the larger counterparts which they seek to usurp.
NOTE: If usurp is too strong a term, then let us at least agree that the new breed seeks to unsettle the comfortably settled corporate-to-customer relationships that large-scale vendors have sought to create and cement over the last couple of decades and more.
This new breed of largely open source mavericks are no bunch of mavericks. Names include firms like Red Hat, Cloudera, Couchbase, Basho and the company whose discussions have created this commentary — Pentaho.
This is not Oracle, this is not SAP, this is not Microsoft, IBM, EMC etc. This is a set of firms with a strong commercial case for lower Total Cost of Ownership, almost always (and this is perhaps no coincidence) backed by strong developer and user communities.
I guess the cheese has really moved now
There is as yet no de facto industry standard term of the new mavericks. But this new Generation X (or is it Y?) group of technology vendors are enjoying serious wide-scale enterprise-level deployment of their technologies inside large organisations from NASA to the NSA and onwards to government.
When the US (or any other Western or developed nation) government starts plugging commercially licensed open source deployments into the fabric of its reference architectures, then you know there is a serious case of computing efficiencies to come to the fore.
It goes further than this of course i.e. governments (and large corporations) aren’t just using heavyweight open source software because it works, they also use it because it by and large saves money on license fees.
Then at this point in our argument (in a perfect world) we get an additional corollary benefit i.e. more money is available for software investment. By the use of term ‘software investment’ we are predominantly talking about the opportunity to start ploughing back IT spend into custom-designed solutions (as opposed to COTS – commercial off the shelf) products that start to add extra incremental value to the business case in hand.
The commercial open source argument comes full circle
We could (and should) even take the argument one step further through and push some of that extra investment cash back into growing the open source community that had fed the generation of the software at hand in the first place.
We finally come to a point where we start to see the end result and impact of effective enterprise open source – happier end users.
End users get what they need, IT budgets are rationalised, optimised and maximised, complex IT solutions are solved and the balance of power shifts from the vendor to the buyer.
OK yes this is something of a perfect world scenario and we will have to work hard to bring off every aspect of this model effectively, but the opportunity is there – so wouldn’t it be crazy to ignore it?
This post for Bloor Group Inside Analysis is written in association with Pentaho. The firm has exerted zero editorial influence over the content presented here and simply seeks to fuel dialogue and discussion based around its mission to provide a cost-effective business analytics platform that fuels growth and innovation.