Proprietary and Open Source Software: Hand and Hand

A recent InformationWeek article on a SugarCRM customer did a nice job underscoring a topic I’ve seen getting a lot of attention in the industry press lately: open source and proprietary software applications running hand and hand.

ThyssenKrupp is currently running SugarCRM within its system engineering unit based in Detroit. Being a huge SAP customer for ERP and other back-office functions, bringing Sugar into a proprietary-based IT environment only begs the question as to how well these types of software work together.

Open source and proprietary applications are inevitably linked, and will co-exist because IT managers of businesses will want them to. Just like the hosted vs. on-site argument, there never has been, nor ever will be, a one-size-fits-all philosophy when it comes to software. And it’s the responsibility of vendors, and in their best interest, to ensure that’s the case with their product offerings.

At the same time, as commercial open source applications continue to mature and proliferate, the “volunteer” nature of community open source projects (cited by some as a weakness for open source adoption within enterprises), will be supplemented by continued assistance and documented successes by the vendors.

Like most industry trends, with market acceptance will come continued reception by the vendors. ThyssenKrupp is a perfect example, as we’ve had European-based partners and customers building custom integrations to SAP on a near regular basis. In fact, SAP even attended SugarCon this year; as I’m sure they’re interested in what we have to offer.

As the number and variety of businesses that are adopting these hybrid environments increase, the ease and sophistication of integrating open source with proprietary-based solutions will only improve. It’s just a matter of time.