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Siemens looks for competitive advantage in open source

For system integrators that want to compete aggressively, many are turning to open source.

What do you do when you're trying to unseat an incumbent in your market? You could try competing with the same tools as your competitors, or you could try to disrupt them with open source.

For Siemens, the latter course makes more sense:

Siemens' outsourcing unit is snapping up some of South Africa's brightest open source minds as it readies to offer large-scale open source services to clients. Going, as it does, head-to-head with the likes of IBM and T-Systems, the company is hoping its open source strategy will find a new niche in an already highly-competitive market.

Here in the United States, I've seen rumblings of similar movements within the largest system integrators. Open source gives them a way to offer superior software and service at a lower price.

It's just a matter of time before IBM et al. will have to respond in kind as they see software margins erode. It's one thing to deprecate an open-source solution when it comes from mom-and-pop open-source shop X. It's quite another when it's being delivered by Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, etc.