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How to get a 100X return on your development team

Open source is not only a cost-cutting strategy, it's also a productivity-enhancement strategy.

Baseline Magazine lists seven "grand challenges" facing IT in 2008, at least one of which is handily covered by greater adoption of open source. With universities churning out fewer programmers and development timelines shortening, there's only one solution: Reuse code. In other words, turn to open source if you want a 100X return on your developers:

As demand for software development increases, and the number of students pursuing software engineering and computer science degrees declines, meeting future demands will require increasing the output and productivity of each programmer. While tools that enhance productivity continue to capture attention, the best solution may lie in effectively and efficiently exploiting reusable code. But many challenges exist there as well, including minimizing the time required to find the perfect module and avoiding the need to modify reusable software.

Open source also covers several of the 25 ways Baseline lists to lower costs. Much of IT's pressing needs are resolved by a greater reliance on open-source software, making the big question in IT not "why" to use open source but "how," as The 451 Group's Matthew Aslett notes.

We've come a long way.