Small and medium business enterprises constantly look for every possible way to minimize their costs and boost profit margins without impacting their overall efficiency. Basically, the technological needs of any company depends on its size and industrial vertical. For simple and basic application needs, most of the companies, both big and small, nowadays are adopting free open source platforms and are exploiting various opportunities to get benefited in their business practices. Open source software which often is available free of charge, allows users to make use of its source code, to edit or improve it as per their technical needs. To use these software tools, companies need not hire employees with high technical skills in the relevant fields. It just requires staff with minimal IT knowledge or people with basic technical skills to adopt and execute the work.
Benefits of using these tools are enormous especially for SMEs, as they provide user friendly solutions for various needs including email client, CMS, operating system, database server, web server etc. For better understanding lets us go through some of the main benefits.
Lower or no investment
The purchasing price of many of these software tools are very low or sometimes freely available as online downloads without any charge. This make a big difference for SMEs because most of them have very limited budgets where they cannot afford high prices for royalties. Companies can save a lot on software upgrades, technical infrastructure & resources, and employee management cost which is going to be high if highly skilled professionals are employed for development needs.
More control and freedom on product
There is no restriction on installations and licenses as most of these platforms allow users to make any number of downloads from any location. It gives better control and transparency so that the companies need not worry about vendor lock-ins and increase in the service prices. Particularly, small start-up companies who have tight budgets, feel over burdened to pay ongoing license fee for multiple IT software platforms. Open source allows these businesses to have control on investment as well as gives scope to customize the software as per their specific business needs.
Reliable and secure
Gone are those days when people are under impression that open source is only meant for small application solutions. For example if you consider Apache and Linux, there are significant number of applications developed using these systems. Since the source code is openly available to all and has been constantly tested by thousands of developers for security and reliability standards, small and medium businesses need not worry about quality and security breaches. There are dozens of best alternative options for SMEs to choose from for each functional operation, and all they have to do is select the viable one that best matches their specific demands.
Availability of software support
The unavailability of assistance should never be the road block for using these tools because the level of support they get is almost equal to the purchased proprietary software. Many companies are giving training for their existing employees to get the required assistance or sometimes they are relying on free online or paid resource to support their applications. Often, these tools get included in the hosting packages by the providers with guaranteed accountability and support which makes it even more convenient for SMEs to adopt these tools in their business.
Keywords: Smeph.net, Marvist
By: P Vijay Kumar
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