by Galen Gruman

How to Evaluate Open Source Suites

Nov 01, 20061 min
Open Source

When evaluating preintegrated open-source suites, analysts recommend that CIOs keep the following caveats in mind:

Focus on software you don’t intend to change much. Integration maintained by outsiders proves most effective when your need for change is rare. Otherwise, you’ll either lose the integration or end up paying your staff or an outsourcer to keep reintegrating.

Understand what value is really added. Many open-source components are commonly used together, so you can find de facto suites integrated from a variety of sources, at little or no cost. A suite’s cost—both up front and for support—should reflect its unique value, such as optimizations for your industry or better performance that benefits your operations.

Gauge what must be specialized. Essentially, a custom open-source suite is no different from custom commercial software. The more specialized the offering, the more you are tied in to its provider for support and services—so be sure the customization is worth losing broad support from the open-source community.