Filed under: FLOSS
At first sight Small and Medium Companies (SMEs) may not seem very attracted to open source software (OSS). They have little to save in IT costs if they use e.g. desktop Linux but lots of work to integrate and learn how to use OSS. However, the big potential for SMEs actually comes when they collaboratively develop and maintain certain industry software.
This could be coordinated through their local industry association contracting an open source software company to adapt existing ERP or CRM solutions to specific national regulations. Or the association could even appoint an OSS development company to create a new core business process software. By pooling the resources SMEs can on the one hand save money for the initial purchase of the software and on the other hand share the maintenance costs on the long run.
Recently I did a presentation about the chances of open source software for SMEs at the Chamber of Commerce in Liestal. The audience took it up well and the press reported positively about the event.
(The idea of resource pooling for collaborative open source development by software users works as the recent workshop regarding OOXML improvements in LibreOffice/OpenOffice showed.)
Update 2012-01-04: Just before Xmas a national magazine for SMEs published an article about this topic: Den anderen Blick wagen — Der Nutzen von Open Source Software für kleine Unternehmen
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