Open Source for Enterprise

Open Source with Cian O Maidin NearForm

Pic: Naoise Culhane Photography

GBI Events recently caught up with NearForm founder and CEO to talk disruption, Open Source, and how the global development community is directly supporting business transformation.

Following is a synopsis of the interview.

Biggest Challenges Enterprises are Facing in 2019

  • Large, established companies are being rapidly disrupted on all fronts.
  • Cloud computing is enabling new companies to accelerate scientific and technological development.
  • New companies have a different playbook which is forcing established companies to adapt in order to stay competitive and meet consumer demands.
  • Established economic systems that were traditionally a strength for large companies are becoming a hindrance.

Biggest Changes to the Business Playbook

Financial Institutions

  • Traditional competitors, such as financial institutions competing against each other, are now having to compete with disruptive startups and large tech companies who are offering financial services
  • These new competitors operate in a completely different way than traditional financial institutions.
  • Traditional banks are faced with the prospect of losing customers and staff.
  • To keep pace they need to attract the brightest stars of the tech world.
  • These institutions need to be agile, break down the silos and bring their business leaders into the technical design of new products and features in order to deliver the customer experience set by the market.

Print Media

  • Subscriptions are declining but media companies are still earning most of their revenue from traditional advertising.
  • Media companies that we work with, such as the New York Times and Condé Nast, are currently trying to monetize their digital properties and move away from the traditional model.

Enterprise Transformation Programmes and Open Source. A good fit?

  • Enterprises should ask the question, “Do we need to become more agile and ideate new ideas that we can bring to working concepts quickly?”
  • If yes, then Node.js, the technology stack used by NearForm, is the best way to build scalable prototypes rapidly.
  • The right culture and mindset as well as an open approach are just as important for a successful digital transformation as having the right technology stack, which is something NearForm understands.
  • Open Source is an excellent choice for transformation programmes.
  • Open Source allows developers to solve problems as a community and that knowledge is shared globally.
  • The power of open source has made emerging tech more accessible, lowered entry barriers and accelerated the speed to market for software applications.
  • One example that stands out is artificial intelligence (AI) which has been heavily invested in by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM; but only after Open Sourcing their projects saw a wave of innovation and made commercial applications a reality.
  • Open Source allows enterprises to use a lot of existing art to create new things.

Risk Factors for Enterprises using Open Source

De-risking Open Source Projects

  • It’s important to look at the fundamentals of Open Source modules you are considering for a project:
    • Do they have a healthy community?
    • Are they frequently downloaded?
    • Are they frequently updated?
  • Adhering to best practices for building Open Source cloud-based applications and developing or following a standard reference architecture for building web applications, as we do at NearForm.
  • For this reason enterprises choose NearForm, to act as the conduit between their organization and the Open Source world.
  • NearForm makes Open Source safe for enterpises.

Comitted to Open Source

  • In 2018 NearForm invested about €1.2 million in external developers contributing to Open Source.
  • There’s an explosion of creative energy in the Open Source community.
  • Multibillion-dollar enterprises are committing to Open Source and getting real value from their investments.
  • The biggest challenge is how to capture that value and return some of the windfall to the developers.

Will Open Source continue to support business transformation?

  • Yes, disruption and competition are intensifying.
  • Organisations need to innovate rapidly which can only be done with collaboration, code reuse, and communities.
  • We can see major business transformation already showing results.
  • The New York Times is surviving the decline of print because they are getting digital so right.
  • Success stories like that are giving established businesses the proof they need to get on board with transformation initiatives.

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