At Kuliza, we are huge fans of open source technologies and use open source stacks alone for our projects. Over the last 10 years, we have seen the biggest and the best consumer-facing products being built globally using open source (Google, Amazon.com, Youtube, Twitter, DoubleClick, AWS, Dropbox, Paypal among several others). Today, we are elated to observe several of our enterprise clients prefer open source technologies to build enterprise level products. To the best of our knowledge, these are people who have built various products in their career and understand the difference of using open source stacks instead going for system integration.

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Yet, there is resistance.

Having said that, even to this day, for many enterprises in India, open source is a relatively unused term and the term ‘open source’ and ‘Enterprise Digital Product Development / Enterprise Mobility’ are often terms not used in the same sentence. This is as a result of several misconceptions in the minds of technology decision makers for open source software. However, with the rise of technology startups such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Coverfox, Policybazaar, Cleartrip (all being on Open Source), the perception and receptiveness towards open source has changed multifold. I’d like to discuss with you why Kuliza believes all enterprise consumer facing products should be built on open source stacks.

Misconceptions

Rafeal Laguna is his article ‘4 myths about Open Source we must put to rest’ mentions several points in support for why enterprises should use more of open source for building their core products.

Security: The top concern of enterprises in using Open Source is security. Contrary to popular belief, the reality is that security of a system is mostly dependent on hosting and coding best practices and not the technology stack. Open source systems can be more secure than proprietary software since it allows development teams to rapidly address security issues with updates and patches while proprietary software buyers need to rely on their vendors who are fewer in number. Some of the most secure applications such as Paypal, Tesla Motors, Google are completely developed using open source.

Openness: Often, during our sales pitch, we have observed clients emphasize on the questionability of quality and stability of an Open Source software since the code is created by a community of developers. Here, the misconception is that this very community keeps severe checks and balances on the overall quality of code and it is, in fact, several top developers around the world who are contributing to it. Even so, at Kuliza, we will do anything to hire developers who have contributed to open source communities, as we are aware that they will be better and more resourceful than any some of the best developers working on proprietary software products. Thus, in reality, the best developers in the world create codes that go into your enterprise product.

Vendor Dependency: Another misconception among enterprises for using open source is that it creates a dependency on vendors and changing vendors can be cumbersome. However, this is far from the truth as the number of Open Source firms are much larger than the number of vendors who work on a proprietary software. Hence, it is always easy to change a vendor. This misconception arises mainly as a result of Indian enterprises having not heard of open source players.

The Winning Game
Today, enterprises are competing against fast-growing well-funded startups (Big Bazaar will compete with Big Basket, a traditional retailer will compete against Myntra or Amazon) and most startup products are often built using open source stacks and quick-to-market products. (For example, all our open source implementation have a go-to-market of 3-4 months while we know that much proprietary software implementations of a similar nature can take more than 1 year).

Enterprises Adopt Open Source
Having discussed the above, Open Source is not just a startup stack. Increasingly, several enterprises are using them. The open source survey conducted by Black Duck Software in 2015 found out that 78% of companies in over 64 countries run part or app of its operations in open source software. Also, 93% of enterprises had a same or increased volume of open source usage as last year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch have built their integrated trading platform on Python, which is an Open Source stack. Bloomberg actively contributes to open source projects such as Hadoop and Solr and is a member of Linux Foundation. London Stock Exchange and New York Stock exchange are built on Open Source Stacks. In India, our enterprise clients such as Asianet, Bosch, HDFC Life are increasingly using open source.

Here is a deck that summarizes the points above.

I hope that this article will help more enterprises consider open source stacks for your digital transformation and consumer facing products. I will be happy to answer any questions / comments that you have.