Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Open Source Catch 22

When a Small Business owner looks for software solutions that he can afford, often he looks at Open Source.  That makes perfect sense because Open Source "Community Edition" software is free to use.  Free is good.  I have relationships with the CEO/CTOs of several Open Source vendors that tell me that some 80-90% of the people that download their "Community Editions" never get into production.  All of the Open Source software that we offer at is free for anyone to download and run on their own.

So what's the Catch?  Why would a Small Business owner pay O4SaaS when he can download and install the same software on his own?  I am reminded of the old saying, "There ain't no free lunch".

Let's look at the reality for a Small Business Owner (SBO). If an SBO wants this "free" software, he must:

  1. Have some Information Technology skills.  Some of these solutions have significant requirements for Database, Memory, CPU power, etc.
  2. Spend time and money to install, setup and train on not only the use of the software but the maintenance of the data, backup, etc.
  3. Risk loss of data, loss of productivity, and malicious acts by disgruntled employees or hackers.
If that same SBO signs up with not only do they NOT need any server class computers, but they need no IT skills.  They don't need to spend time or money to install and setup the software.  They don' t have any worries about data backup or security.

The Bottom line is pretty simple, as an SBO I can download and install Open Source software on a server class machine, setup the software and use it if I have some IT skills or hire someone that does have those IT skills, or for about the Cost of my daily Starbucks, I just login and start using the same software.  I do not need to buy a server class computer, or hire an IT person to maintain it.  Lastly, all the Open Source software at is already fully integrated so you can add a customer in one solution and that same customer data is added in the others.  You as a SBO would have to pay someone to do that too.

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