Open Source and how it can be used to help your business.
The internet is home to thousands of unsung talented heroes who collaboratively work on amazing projects that cover just about every sector known today. Not only do these projects get published online, available for the whole world to see and contribute to, a lot of them are made absolutely free to use!
Why are there not more companies using these free open source projects I hear you ask? The answer is quite simple; for starters, publicity and advertising. A big corporation who have spent untold thousands of pounds in design, development and testing of a major off the shelf product are going spend another untold thousands of pounds in marketing, to get there product in your shopping cart. The open source community rely solely on advocation from a contributor or just somebody who knows about it. People are doing this for free in their own time, they don’t have the available funds to spend in marketing there hard work.
The second main reason, is the support side. Mr Developer who works 40 hours a week, and spends some of his free time contributing to an open source project is not likely to offer his time 24/7 in supporting the users should they get stuck. Users of open source software can find there is little to no assistance if they experience a problem, something as little as they can’t find the logout button, to a massive problem like “where have all my January expenses gone?!”. Most ‘well documented’ projects will come with a description and help page, the REALLY good ones have a community based wiki to answer all questions that arise over time.
And finally, the third main reason is availability. Head on over to GitHub, search for a buzz word like “accounting” or “crm” and have a look what comes up. The average user may have found their perfect application to help their business improve, but will lack the ability to actually get it up and running. This is because all modern web based systems rely on 2 main things; 1 – a web server to host and deliver the page content and 2 – a database to store all the information you enter for retrieval or manipulation later. From these 2 main things, there are many flavours of web servers (mainly differentiated between Windows and Linux), whilst databases come in MUCH more flavours. Unfortunately, most projects do not accommodate multi-platform web and database technologies. Its usually whatever the main developer / contributor liked at the time the project was started!
This is where C&C come in. We LOVE everything about open source. If you know of a open source project that you want to implement, but don’t have the knowledge or equipment to host it, get in touch. We have access to pretty much any type of server available, and will likely be able to get it fully installed, configured, and even made available to a web address of your choice (such as crm.mycompany.co.uk). We are constantly seeing whats out there, and we will be updating our open source list of the ones we already host. Finally, if you are considering some custom software, as much as we would love to offer our build services to truly deliver a custom application, you may find there is already something out there that does most of your requirements. We are always happy to look around and guide you in the right place to see for yourself!