If you need further proof that open-source applications are ready for prime time, take today's news from open-source business intelligence company Jaspersoft, which announced that British Telecom is using its business intelligence suite to support more than 8 million voice mail subscribers.
BT and Unisys, a longtime Jaspersoft partner, say they chose Jaspersoft for its modular design, which reduces maintenance and cost and gives them customization abilities that improve capacity planning.
The deal with BT also represents how important a solid channel strategy is for open-source software companies.
Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile has in the past mentioned that the BI market is heavily influenced by a few technical aspects, including SOA/Web services (and overall componentized design), in-memory analytics, integrated search, and the use of rich media services to provide more compelling (Web-based) user experiences.
The other obvious factor in the shift to open-source BI (and open source in general) is the economics behind the applications and ongoing operations. And perhaps more important is the control--both on-premise and online. As consultant Carlo Daffara noted recently, "the critical aspect is being able to assess this control and weight if the lack of control is compensated by the features you get (which is reasonable) or what kind of risk you are accepting in exchange."
In conversation earlier today, Gentile further asserted, "open-source software is both augmenting and displacing aged, proprietary solutions across industries and at the largest companies. British Telecom is just one example of a company that has realized traditional, proprietary software is just too expensive and too complex. The most aggressive companies figured this out long ago. But now, with heightened economic pressures and the feature maturity of open source, the secret is out and the choice is clear."
There was a time when people would debate whether or not open-source software was reliable enough to support a small office. Those days are long gone. The down economy and maturity of open source are the perfect storm for major disruption.