Are SMBs Really Ready for Open Source?

A new report by The 451 Group, my former employer, claims the small and medium-sized businesses(SMBs) market isn’t the “hot market” opportunity for open source vendors that many have always considered it to be. The report cites a number of reasons, including the cash-strapped environment SMB companies typically operate in and the resulting limited IT resources an SMB has to effectively manage an open source solution.

I think the report needs to define exactly what they mean by open source. If they mean open source infrastructure, that requires skill sets, time and money, then I agree. But when it comes to applications, open source is on fire. Here is why:


With Sugar, you do not need specific skills. You can get the app running on your laptop in minutes with no commitment. It allows people to evaluate more easily and then buy. Plus, alot of the folks have been burned by proprietary CRM apps in previous lives. Sugar is the alternative. So the SMB space it very hot right now. – at least for us and other open source apps I know of.

One interesting point that study makes: “Open source software that integrates with and supports Windows and other Microsoft products will have an advantage among SMB.” Fortunately for SugarCRM, it was the first open source application vendor to adopt the Microsoft Community License.