COMPUTING

OSS a ‘good choice’ for SMEs

Open source software is a viable option for small and medium-sized (SME) businesses because of its flexibility and scalability. This is according to Synaq MD, Yossi Hasson.

Hasson says that it is time for open source software to lose its “geek” image and be deployed more widely in the SME sector. “It’s extremely effective in the workplace,” says Hasson, citing his own company which is a 15-person organisation that runs almost everything on open source software. The only exception is the company’s accounting system.

“There is place for both open source and proprietary in any SME environment - it’s really about the right tools for the job,” he says. “For example, in a desktop environment in which users just need a simple web interface, basic word processing and a spreadsheet, an open source package such as Ubuntu running OpenOffice would be perfect. These users don’t need the bells and whistles of a Microsoft Office.”

Hasson also points out that for growing companies that need a CRM or workflow management tool, open source software is “absolutely the way to go. Open source allows for rapid change, customisation and greater flexibility.”

Hasson says there are many open source “big ticket” tech solutions - CRM, BI, mail tools and the like - which can be and are readily tailored to SME requirements.

“SME versions of heavyweight proprietary solutions generally offer fewer features than their big brother counterparts which is why they are more affordable for the SME. But what if the particular whistle that has been left out is one the SME needs? And what if there are still features in the ‘lite’ version that the SME can easily do without?”

“With an open source option, SMEs can have a solution that not only fits their precise needs, it will be easy to scale as the business grows,” he explains. He acknowledges that some SMEs may be reluctant to go the open source route because of concerns that a shortage of open source skills would make it more expensive to maintain than a proprietary solution.

However, he points out that there is a general shortage of IT skills across all platforms and he says that is is a worldwide phenomenon. “It’s important to bear in mind that while there may be more individuals with MS skills, they are not all good skills. Many of them may be merely average”.

Tectonic

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