OpeniHeavy Insights 61 – Medicine of Austerity

Medicine of Austerity

by Sean Hull – November 1, 2009

Nowadays, everywhere you turn, pundits and economists are talking about the medicine of austerity. Especially in regards to government spending that is crucial in the short term (or so says Keynes) but unsustainable in the long term. My favorite analogy I’ve yet heard is “when the tide goes out, you can quickly see who was swimming naked”.

Austerity is another way of saying tightening your belt, reigning in debt or paying the piper. It is in effect the other side – perhaps the painful side, of the credit coin.

For businesses it means paying off debts, while at the same time having more difficulty securing credit to grow. So it means taking a long hard look at spending, sifting through budgets, and deciding what is essential and what can be trimmed. The punch bowl is indeed a distant memory, and we’re still climbing out of our hangover looking for lessons and rules of thumb to keep us out of this situation in the future.

We think this all means there’s never been a better time to engage in open source technologies. And here are three really compelling business reasons:

Reason One: Less restrictive licensing Install the software in your development environment as quickly as your production environment, and rollout new servers that can contribute to the whole enterprise, without licensing headaches and restrictions. That does lower costs in the end because red tape and licensing headaches can mean time, and in the end money.

Reason Two: Peer under the hood This is perhaps a less obvious, or perhaps invisible advantage to open source. But for developers, programmers, and administrators working on and solving problems day-to-day, having the ability to peer under the hood can be invaluable. It means you’re not constrained by the speed at which your vendor can solve a problem and get a patch or more importantly their interest in doing so. Sometimes problems and issues come up which are not a problem for a majority of customers, so will take a back seat to more pressing issues. With open source technologies your engineers have the option to find, fix, and apply their own patch on their own time.

Reason Three: Lower overall costs This is the reason most easily itemized on your bottom line. Yes with open source technologies you still have the costs of expertise and implementation, but with lower cost commodity hardware, and license costs at or near zero, that is sure to reduce your overall costs.

We think now more than ever it’s time to take the medicine of austerity, and look at your computing costs with a mind to where and how open source technologies can be stirred into the mix. Mixing them into the pot on the periphery first, can allow you to test the waters, taste and blend and find the right flavor for your enterprise.

Review: Nudges

by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

I always enjoy books full of unconventional wisdom about how to influence the world around us. Levitt & Dubner’s Freakonomics and Gladwell’s The Tipping Point fall firmly in that category.

In a time when better decisions and choices are exactly what we need, and when they remain perhaps as elusive as ever, this book contains plenty of medicine worth taking.

View Nudge on Amazon