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Determining enterprise readiness for the iPhone, open source, and more

You don't need an analyst to tell you if software works. Not in open source.

I had to laugh when I read this New York Times piece discussing the iPhone's readiness for the enterprise. Apparently someone at Gartner has now (sort of) blessed the iPhone as "enterprise ready."

Meanwhile, many of us have been using it for months or a year already in the enterprise, and finding it "enterprise ready" without someone else's official blessing.

It's the same with open source. Periodically an analyst, in true politician style, tries to get out in front of the open-source momentum to tell us that (Get ready for this) more and more enterprises are using open source, and that it's now enterprise ready. Or, even better, they tell us that no one is yet using open source which, of course, can't be true because, well, we are.

All of which leads me to suggest the single best determinant of enterprise readiness for technology: When you decide to use it, and it works.

If it works, you don't need anyone else to tell you that it works. This is open source: You can try the code out for yourself. Unless you're a mindless sheep, you also don't need some analyst to tell you that "everyone else is doing it," a phrase that teenagers find compelling but which should be less so to you if you have working code in front of you.

It's like that Martin Short skit on synchronized swimming from Saturday Night Live: "Hey! You! I know you. I know you." You don't have to follow the swarm, unless it happens to be moving in a direction that your own experience with a product suggests is a good direction.

Just use it. It works. You don't have to ask permission from the analysts. Like the CIO, they're often the last to know.