Businesses that want to trade in their old systems for new IT should consider moving to open source first before thinking about a proprietary system, according to a report commissioned by transaction processing services provider Amadeus IT Group.
While a transition from closed and proprietary systems to an open approach can be time consuming and challenging, businesses should consider making the move, according to the report Open for business.
British IT specialist and study author Jim Norton said that open source software and IT infrastructure is ready to be used as critical computing systems in the enterprise.
By migrating to open source, enterprises can benefit from greater and swifter innovation, improved supplier responsiveness and enhanced systems accessibility and support, Norton said.
IT providers and enterprises can benefit from their expertise, he said.
Another advantage is the lower total cost over the lifetime of the use of the software, Norton said. While open source software is usually distributed under a free licence, enterprises still must pay for maintenance and system management. While analysis should be carried out on a case-by-case basis, industry lore is that it is possible for enterprises to save around 20%, Norton said.
But moving to open systems is not always easy, said Norton. Enterprises should maintain common development teams across existing and replacement systems for instance, according to the report. Older systems need to be progressively retired, while the staff responsible for supporting the old systems are trained in maintaining the new system to avoid them becoming a "stranded asset," Norton said.
Furthermore businesses must be realistic about costs, staffing and timescales. Moving to an open system is "neither quick nor easy," he said. "Only transfer what you need and absolutely minimise new development during transfer."
"Nonetheless, the case for embracing open source software is compelling, both from a business and a technology perspective," said Norton, adding that 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.
"Open systems will be crucial to underpinning the winning commercial strategies of the future in all sectors," said Norton.