☆ The Open Source Procurement Challenge

I am speaking at the ODF Plugfest here in the UK this morning, on the subject of the challenges facing the procurement of open source software by traditional enterprises (including the public sector). Based on a selection of experiences from ForgeRock’s first year, my talk considers procurement challenges that legacy procurement rules raise for introducing true open source solutions. My slides are available online. I consider two different needs:

  • The need for legacy procurement barriers to be removed. Examples:
    • requirements for indemnity that are only truly proportionate for proprietary software
    • requirements for copyright assignment and license negotiation
    • comparison of open source subscriptions with only the service portion of proprietary bids
    • a preference to sustain the lock-in caused by previous procurement
  • The need to recognise new value available from open source. Examples:
    • Removal of the need to administer end-user licenses
    • Long-term continuity – “community escrow
    • The ability to create ecosystems without vendor mandates
    • Enablement of adoption-led deployment

If we’re to see open source solutions bringing budget and change flexibility to government IT as the Prime Minister wants, both kinds of change – addressing legacy processes and lock-in (so that SIs are out of excuses) and seeking new kinds of value – are essential.

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