10 technologies for SMBs to avoid (?)

Is open source a threat to SMBs? Nah.

eCommerce News lists 10 technologies that are "ballyhooed technology trends [but]... are worth ignoring, at least for this year." Some of the points made are correct for the audience (Small to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs) addressed by the article, like this point on virtualization:

...[W]e small businesses don't need to run Microsoft Outlook in a virtual world. We can barely get it to work right in the real world. This technology needs more time before it makes sense for small business.

But at least one other is way off, like the admonition not to use Software as a Service. What could possibly be better for an SMB than not having to install software?

This leads me to its suggestion that open source is not ready for SMB prime time:

Sure, open-source software may be "free," but the propeller-heads you need to actually get it working, customized, and supported aren't.

Spending time customizing a software product, just because it's "open source," doesn't mean that time is well spent. Business owners should stick to the boring, off-the-shelf stuff for now.

Fair enough. But what this doesn't note (perhaps because the author doesn't understand) is that just because you can access source code in open source doesn't mean that you must. Most people don't.

Even if an SMB elects not to modify source code, however, they still benefit by all those that do. Better code. More accountability from one's vendor. Lower prices. These are just some of the benefits that are attendant on those that buy into open source, whether they're a hacker or a surrogate of the hacker.

Is all open source ready for SMB prime time? Of course not (just as not all proprietary software is). But an SMB can use Projity, Drupal, SugarCRM (SaaS, no less!), Coupa, Magento, OpenX, etc. without skipping a beat.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Find Your Tech Type

    Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!