Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Open Solutions Alliance: Interoperability between open source solutions should improve

The Open Solutions Alliance send out a press release today after concluding a survey among customers in various countries. The key message: It is possible to compete with Microsoft when the various commercial open source solutions are fully interoperable.

Feedback from more than 100 customers reveals reasons for open source adoption, opportunities to “out-Microsoft Microsoft”

SAN FRANCISCO, December 10, 2007 – The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), a nonprofit, vendor-neutral consortium dedicated to driving interoperability and adoption of comprehensive open solutions, today announced the key findings uncovered during its 2007 Customer Forum Series.After meeting with more than 100 customers in five cities throughout the United States and Europe, the OSA found that interoperability between open solutions tops the list of requirements among customers and channel partners who are deploying these solutions.

“These findings represent a clear opportunity for the OSA to out-Microsoft Microsoft by offering a fully interoperable suite of business tools,” said Dominic Sartorio, OSA president. “If we can help our members’ solutions work well together it makes it easier for our channel partners to sell open-source software
and it will translate into more revenue for vendors and even more options for customers.”

Interoperability is a challenge among both large and small organizations. Key issues with small organizations include single sign-on and authorization, data integration and synchronization, UI and portal integration, and content management integration. In addition to these, larger enterprises also raised
business process integration, production management, and legacy/proprietary integration as key issues. Across the board, non-technical interoperability issues, such as how to support and manage integrated solutions being sourced from multiple vendors, were also raised.

Other key findings from OSA’s 2007 Customer Forum Series include:
* Customers said they are embracing more open solutions because open standards offer more options for integration and functionality. In a world of frequent corporate mergers, open source also offers an assurance that the product will outlive the company.
* Concerns about the GPL were discussed, but open-source software users largely felt the GPL was a help to their business — discouraging competitors and facilitating collaboration.
* The most widely used open-source applications included the application server JBoss; the commercial databases MySQL and Postgres; and the Eclipse development platform. Software solutions such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) applications
are also increasing in popularity.
* Beyond interoperability, security, support, licensing, training, and finding knowledgeable developers and integrators rank high on customers’ list of requirements for using open solutions.
“These customer forums were a good opportunity for me to share my experiences with an organization that cares about meeting customer needs,” said Warner Schlais, VP of Professional Services and Solution Sales at Datatrend Technologies, and former CIO of Deluxe Check. “Interoperability is a key issue,
and I look forward to the OSA continuing to drive thought leadership in this important area.”

The OSA will use the Customer Forum Series findings to prioritize its efforts in 2008. The group expects focus on the top interoperability concerns raised by customers during this Series. Work groups will be established after the New Year to define best practices in each of these areas, build out more
interoperability projects such as the Common Customer View, and engage with more integrators and distributors who can bring interoperable open solutions to market on behalf of the OSA membership.

The OSA Customer Forum Series, which took place in Barcelona, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, kicked off in July and concluded this month. The Series gives CIOs and business-level executives a unique opportunity to share and learn from others the key issues and best practices for
the interoperability of opens solutions.

About the Open Solutions Alliance
The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) is a nonprofit, vendor neutral consortium dedicated to driving the interoperability and adoption of comprehensive open solutions. Founded in 2007, it is supported by leading companies from around the world who are dedicated to improving interoperability among software
products, resulting in integrated and rapidly deployable solutions for business users. Through cooperative action and advocacy, the OSA helps facilitate interoperability, reduce barriers to adoption and raise the awareness of open solutions in business. For more information, please visit


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