When people talk about open source in the Enterprise, they most often focus on IT as a consumer of open source software. Indeed, IT can significantly reduce costs and increase flexibility by deploying open source software. But that's only half the picture.
Enterprise IT organizations can be effective *producers* of open source software as well, with increased benefits to both the organizations and the industry as a whole. By generalizing and contributing company-specific enhancements back to standard codebases, IT organizations can defray internal support costs and improve overall quality. By collaborating with their peers across the industry, IT developers can achieve common goals that would not otherwise be possible. Participating full circle as both consumer and producer, IT goes from being a cost center into a creator of value.
Open Source expands the role of Enterprise IT from a customer of vendor-created solutions into an interdependent partner in the information technology ecosystem. When open standards-based, open source options are pervasive, IT organizations have more leverage with software and support vendors.
To illustrate these ideas concretely, we will explore how Hewlett-Packard has acted as both consumer and producer of open source software for its IT infrastructure. We will look at how these practices have increased value for HP, its customers and partners, and the IT industry.
1st–5th August 2005