Q2 just ended for most of us, and the ink is probably still drying on P&L statements across the world. For many, this time of year is about vacations, R&R, catching our breath and shifting our focus to the second half of the year.
You’re probably saying that it is way too early to think about 2013, but is it?
Baring a natural disaster, come inauguration day in the US on January 20th 2013, this will mark the first time since the United States Presidential term from 1997-2001, that the Dow Jones Industrial Average will close higher than when the Presidential term began.
The economy is rebounding right before our eyes and open source software is becoming part of common vernacular in enterprises across the world spanning more and more vertical industries.
The financial services industry is using the technology to develop web and mobile applications, as well as backend systems.
Companies like Blackboard involved heavily within the education industry are making a concerted effort to support clients using open source education technologies.
The healthcare industry is aggressively examining open source software IT business models that can cut down on expenditures and provide market opportunities.
You are looking to leverage open source software to improve processes, produce quality products, be creative and innovative, and provide yourself with the keys to success. And rightfully so.
As the economy improves, you and your organization cannot afford to miss the boat and be caught off guard at any point during the upcoming year. You’ve cut costs and reduced overhead, and almost certainly you’ve laid people off. Now that you’ve been through the doldrums and back, the time is now, to be in a position to take advantage of a rebounding economy.
As you begin to plan for your 2013 budget, keep this in mind; OSS scanning, provisioning, governance, policy, support and indemnification are no longer where you want to cut costs and deal with on an “as needed” basis. This is where you want to invest and invest now.
Some estimates have up to 90% of IT budgets already accounted for with committed expenses. Things like your data center, committed renewals, employee salaries, and even just keeping the electricity flowing. That means there is only 10% of your budget that is considered discretionary and we all know what happens to discretionary spend when it’s just waiting for the right time to use it. Another department has a need; the CFO looks at the budgets, and poof! It’s gone.
Every budget is going to have a mix of variable and fixed costs, but no matter what that mix is, you have to find a way to invest in your open source software foundation now.
By investing now in an infrastructure that is compliant, that is backed by expertise, and that is unified and aligned, you are providing your organization with the ability and confidence to go “all in” in 2013.
If you play poker, think of it this way; You have folded countless hands because your chip stack isn’t what it used to be. You have even endured passing on the chance to play when your small and big blind bets were on the table. You’ve waited for the chance to have pocket aces so that you could be in the best position possible to be competitive amongst your competition.
If you try to avoid investing in a sound IT infrastructure, you are heading into 2013 playing poker against your competition with a jack/nine in your hand and all you can do is hope that you catch a break and that they are taking some risks too.
The difference here is that in poker, the actions that have preceded you at the table will never dictate the cards you are dealt. However, here and now, you do have the control to dictate the cards you are dealt, and the beauty of it all is that it is your choice.
Cards or no cards, the more competition you have, and the weaker your infrastructure is, you are diminishing your chances to succeed by an exponential percentage. The risk of cutting costs here could be detrimental to the rebound your company has been waiting so long to experience. People are looking to you to right the ship and then stay the course.
Should you be concerned about distribution and legal ramifications heading into 2013?
Open source applications are used in a wide variety of products sold commercially. If there hasn't been diligent attention given to open source compliance, you may now have some serious legal fires to put out that are sure to be costly, not to mention time consuming, due to the extent of the remediation needed.
Should you be concerned about your internal expertise heading into 2013?
If you think that you can get by with what you’ve got right now, there is a high probability that you are wrong. Technology is evolving fast and choosing to forego an upgrade to your arsenal of expertise could leave you scratching your head next year when your team can't provide the churn you are looking for to capitalize on the rebounding economy.
Should you be concerned about compliance heading into 2013?
It is not uncommon that enterprises shy away from scanning their open source software or avoid audits out of fear for what they might find. Can you really afford to find out there is a problem as your team is depending on you to be successful in 2013? Think about it. You’ve waited so long for the day to come where you would be faced with an increased economic demand, and all of a sudden you find yourself looking at products collecting dust because you can't quickly and confidently disclose the open source usage and documented compliance steps required to generate sales. Can you afford to be sidelined for any length of time as your competitors are increasing their hold on market share?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Your #1 priority, starting now, should be to audit your internal expertise more closely than ever before. You should identify your A players and invest in continuing education and making them super stars. Decide whether or not your B players can become A players and start planning for their growth and development now. As cold as it might sound, cut your C players loose and use that money to bridge the gap by investing in; Increased performance based compensation plans for your A players; Training and resources to coach up your B players; And professional services that can provide you with service level agreements, a schedule of deliverables, and the comfort of indemnification.
It is not too early to plan for 2013 because if you start now, with a scan or an audit of your code base, or begin to revamp your open source governance policy, or most importantly review the strengths and weaknesses of your internal expertise, you will be in a far better position to reap the rewards that your patience and long hours has gotten you to.
Who knows, by planning now you might find some budget left in 2012, and leave you with one less thing to worry about next year.
With every economic recession, there has been an economic expansion.
Will you be positioned for success and the economic expansion of 2013?
Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics
If you read a post on The Enterprise OSS Blog, please leave a comment. Let us know what you think, even if it's just a few words. Comments do not require approval, but they are moderated.OpenLogic reserves the right to remove any comments it deems inappropriate.