Differences Between Open Source and Vendor-Provided Software
It is almost a requisite for all today’s businesses to operate digitally. Long gone are the days of physical paper used for communications, files, documents or other pertinent items. Your business must be digital if it’s to keep pace in today’s modern business landscape.
But, of course, we all know this.
What we may not be so sure of is how to do it. There are many methods by which to digitally operate. The overarching methods from which to choose are either Open Source and Vendor-Provided software.
Considering author Jeff Walpole’s article entitled Open Source vs. Vendor Provided Software: Comparing Them Side By Side, let’s take a brief look at what they are and what what sets them apart.
The Benefits of Using Open Source Software
Walpole writes that the term “open source” means the source code itself, the instructions that cause the application to do what it does, can be easily viewed, modified or downloaded by anyone with technical expertise. “It can be a challenge for institutions not accustomed to the concept to accept open source as a viable approach for developing quality software. But those perceptions are changing. Businesses and non-profits of all sizes from the Fortune 1000 to the federal government have adopted open source software packages for many different purposes.”
The Benefits of Vendor-Provided Software
Walpole writes that the software might be a one-size-fits-all package that you can easily install on a desktop, like Microsoft Word, or a powerful, configurable system that takes time and care to roll out across an organization, like Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge “You might rent the system by the month and use it over the Internet in a Software-As-A-Service Model, like eTapestry. It might be highly configurable to your needs, like Salesforce.com. It might cost nothing to use, like Google Apps, or cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.”
...So Which One is For You?
It all depends on what best suits your business. Walpole suggests to start by building a list of your needs, researching and weighing options on more factors than just cost. Conduct thorough due diligence, compare features and, whenever possible, try out the software.
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