Posted by Professor Jim Norton, FReng

Open for business - The value of Open Source Software in transaction processingOpen Source Software has been around for the last couple of decades and its presence is now being felt across many sectors. Despite early scepticism, particularly from some corporate technologists, today open systems are making significant inroads into enterprise and critical computing systems.

This shift is heralding nothing short of a revolution in the IT industry. And it is a revolution that almost every major business will need to embrace, at least to some degree, over the medium term.

The paper which is being launched today, kindly sponsored by Amadeus, entitled Open for business, explores what this transition means for enterprise customers, IT providers and the end consumer.

The benefits to enterprise customers are manifold and include greater and swifter innovation, increased responsiveness, enhanced systems accessibility and support. The first two in particular make the open systems as much a business as an IT issue.

Likewise, there are advantages to the IT provider that also have a trickle down benefit for customers. These include lower total cost of ownership, the ability to attract highly skilled and talented staff, quicker access to new technology developments and access to a global community for quick problem resolution.

With this in mind, it would be easy to conclude that the arguments in favour of moving to open systems make it an obvious decision, however, as with most decisions, it is not quite so simple. The shift to open systems, despite the significant advantages, is not without its challenges. The paper provides lessons from those that have done it before which may help to reduce the challenges of transition.

Some of the learnings include: ensuring that there is a common support team for both the new and current systems, being realistic about the amount of resources required, only transferring what you need and using the transition as an opportunity for a clean up of systems architecture.

Nonetheless, the case for embracing open source software is compelling, both from a business and a technology perspective. Even in demanding high-volume transaction processing environments, open systems have proven not just fit for purpose, but critical to helping industries as diverse as financial services, banking and transport to adapt and transform how they operate.

In the travel sector, which is one of the fastest moving and most dynamic, there are significant advantages from shifting to open systems in terms of greater agility and cost reduction.

With information now one of the world’s most powerful currencies, and innovation and speed of response key competitive weapons, open systems will be crucial to underpinning the winning commercial strategies of the future in all sectors.

We hope you will find the report interesting. If you are short of time, there is also an animation summarising the key findings. You are most welcome to share them both.

Editor’s note:
Professor Jim Norton FREng BEng CDir CITP CEng DEng LLD FIoD FBCS FIET FRSA is the Immediate Past President of the BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT, a board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, Chief External Examiner for the Institute of Directors’ Certificate in Company Direction and a trustee of the Foundation for Information Policy Research. His past roles include Chief Executive of the UK Radiocommunications Agency and Chairman of Deutsche Telekom Ltd. He is a respected adviser to governments, an independent director and has served on several notable enquiries and commissions. He led the team that authored the reporton e-commerce for the British Prime Minister and was a member of the IPPR’s Commission on National Security in the 21st Century.

Any views expressed in this paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Amadeus IT Group.