Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

An Open Source Advantage

...for Small & Mid-size Businesses

Our CIO Forum in Denver this September had a different feel when I compare it to our other nationwide forums. Was it the mile-high altitude affecting this lowlander? No, it was not the thin air making my mind spin.

It was actually the makeup of our panel which included Robert Green, Co-Founder & CTO of Dizzion; Robert Hagens, CTO of Envysion; and Stan Hume , VP of IT, Maximus. These three technology executives know firsthand the challenges and opportunities of being a young and growing tech business or small business at a time of great economic challenge. Each of them is helping to lead a young (one company being just over one year old!) or small tech business in historic times for both the economy and the evolving tech sector. If you're not familiar with their businesses, I encourage you to check them out.

Their optimism and passion for technology and their businesses were palpable. However, everything they said was buttressed by a solid foundation of business pragmatism. One of the best examples I can share is their endorsement of open source technologies and solutions as viable, cost-effective and strategic options for small and mid-size businesses. As the panel saw it, open source offers many smaller-sized and resource-limited businesses a way to be more competitive and adaptable without breaking the bank.

Open source--that's edgy, right? But back office business efficiency and increased competitive advantage--that's old school practicability. And that is how the Denver Forum felt--like a mash up of cutting-edge thinking supported by pragmatic, logical planning.

The open source discussion grew out of one of today's most common technology topics: cloud computing. It was a topic well covered in each of our forums, from New York to Seattle, where audiences and panels discussed the most effective approaches (private, hybrid, etc.) and how much cloud may or may not change IT operations. As we discussed cloud computing and its opportunity to reduce IT spending costs in Denver, the panel came back with insights into the increasing usage of OSS among small and mid-size businesses today (and even their own businesses) as they look to both innovate and expand capabilities.

It seems like it was just a few years ago when OSS was portrayed as fringe or rogue technology now it's becoming common place, a welcome new entrant to the IT environment. Since the forum I have had OSS on the brain and in my news feed. Wouldn't you know, it's not just the smaller guys looking to take advantage. With cloud computing on the rise and OSS mature, more enterprises are looking into open source cloud solutions, as this ZDNet article reports.

I want to thank our Denver panel and audience as well as all of our CIO Forum audiences and panelists nationwide. The energy and ideas you brought to our Forums ignited critical discussions and creative thinking. As my last few weeks of CIO Forum-focused blogs demonstrate, you provided us all with a ton of technology insights to ponder and bring back to our businesses.

For anyone interested in exploring the topics, issues and opportunities of the Harvey Nash CIO Survey and local market forums, please click here to learn more. In the meantime, we at Harvey Nash are busy refining the 2013 CIO Survey in which the cloud, OSS, innovation and efficiency discussions will continue. Stay tuned.