An open source foundation for Fortune 500 companies

Another un-used business idea to recycle… please follow me :

  • Fortune 500 companies produce a lot of in-house developments, reinventing the wheel again and again, especially in the field of non-critical, non-business applications : reporting applications, technical asset management, collaborative tools, IT security, identity management, content management… Each of them is sitting on a consequent catalog of custom-made « commodity » applications that they develop and maintain on their own.
  • Most of these non-critical-non-business-in-house developments have a limited value but a high cost for businesses.
  • The main priority of corporate IT departments is to reduce their costs ; most of them rely on outsourcing applicative developments to some extent.
  • Open source is now somewhat trendy even among Fortune 500 corporations ; it is reaching a high level of visibility and acceptability.
  • The open source model proposes an optimization of the costs sketched above by sharing them among several users of commodity applications, i.e. by open sourcing them.
  • The « open sourcing » of custom-made applications by Fortune 500 companies would be an alternative to the classical outsourcing of these development and maintenance costs.
  • The offshore outsourcing of corporate development is seen as a threat on jobs for IT programmers in northern countries ; but the open sourcing of this software could be seen as more acceptable.
  • These IT departments are currently converging to common technological frameworks : .Net, J2EE, open source scripting ; that movement enhances their capability to absorb « foreign » developments ; and the standardization of their architectures tends to enhance the re-usability of their in-house developments.
  • Open source foundations are legal entities designed to own the intellectual property of open source applications, to guarantee that the open source licence they are distributed under will be enforced, to promote these applications so that their communities are thriving and the applications make gains in terms of reliability, quality and sustainability.
  • The distribution of software under open source licences is said to represent the highest value transfer ever from rich countries to developping countries.
  • The open sourcing of these Fortune 500 applications would be a positive change both for big corporations themselves and for smaller companies especially in third world countries.
  • Social entrepreneurship is becoming a hot topic today even in mainstream media ; this initiative might qualify as a social entrepreneurship initiative ; the public usefulness of such a move might justify the legal creation of a foundation in France.
  • Recently, in France, foundations have gained in acceptance by big businesses since a new tax law offers higher opportunities for tax reductions.
  • I still work as an IT manager in the global IT department for a Fortune 100 company in France ; our CIO would see such an open source foundation as a positive initiative but, as a cautious manager, he is dubious regarding the willingness of other CIOs of Fortune 500 companies (in France) to share their custom codes under an open source licence.

You work in/for a big corporation willing to reality-check this idea ? What do you think ?

4 réflexions au sujet de « An open source foundation for Fortune 500 companies »

  1. Sig Auteur de l’article

    I previously mentioned the idea of « open sourcing » in-house developments in another article on my weblog. This other article, written in French, refers to a Slashdot discussion on this topic.

  2. Software Outsourcing

    We are in software outsourcing Business, and I found good and knowledgeable information on outsourcing here, which is very helpful

  3. Sig Auteur de l’article

    Thank you. And congratulation for such a discrete self-advertisement. ;-)

  4. David

    I think this is a very good idea for larger companies. Smaller companies not so much.

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