One of the best ways that will put you on top when it comes to online businesses is to be acquainted with open sourcing. Backcountry.com, an online retailer that caters to outdoor enthusiasts, has joined the bandwagon and is deriving majority of their income from the IT industry. They have a fully functioning staff that works primarily on maintaining and developing software and other related tech infrastructure. They banked upon open sourcing because it gives them the flexibility to limitlessly engage in customization. This addition to their frontline work gives them the boost in the business and as a proof they have now grown from just being a simple retail online shop to one that has around $51 million revenue. They have reportedly grown 600% in the past three years. That’s a phenomenal increase!
They contribute such growth to their hidden IT system. Through outsourcing they have become more efficient in handling customers and checking inventories. Their in-source software has also allowed them to have a better analysis of how they can best get profit from their sales. Unlike other traditional companies who still relied on traditional and licensed software, their capability to utilize open sourcing has cause them not just to cut down on expenses but to also be flexible. Thus, they can do whatever they want with their program and manipulate it to serve the growth of their company.
Open sourcing as the future of business
Open sourcing has the capability to fully secure and perfect your software. Because it is open for everyone to edit, there are a lot of people who can edit and fix the bugs quickly. The practice of peer review makes the software better and better. Such is not the case when you are using licensed software because it will usually take weeks and months before bugs are taken care of. Therefore, if you are always after improvement, the saying “security through obscurity” does not apply in open sourcing. If you are a perfectionist or just someone who expects a lot from a program, then you will have less frustration with open source software because you can do whatever you with it provided that you know how.
Moreover, since everyone has an access to it, you can be assured that hundreds and even thousands of users are working on the code to improve it. That is way better than relying on a handful of developers who have full control on a software that you cannot edit. If you want to customize the software according to the need of your business, you can simply modify the code and add whatever you want to include.
Another great advantage is the open source community. When a propriety software company decides to discontinue its software management, it support system will also cease to function. However, with an open source community, there is no need to depend on a single entity. Anyone can simply pick up where the software development left off.
This method of software developing also gives more freedom in terms of legality. Even if you are able to break through the protection of big companies like Microsoft Windows and Office, you will most likely face legal charges if discovered. If you part of a company that value every penny, then having your pertinent software upgraded all the time can probably crush your heart. Sometimes, the price that you pay for support charge and mandatory virus protection will cost more than you would have probably wanted. However, if you are using an open source software, then such ridiculous cost for upgrades will not be something that you are ever going to worry about. It will be in your hands if you desire to have the upgraded version or not. Furthermore, you can be assured that whatever system you may be running on, your open source software can still function at its best even though it is not yet upgraded. All in all, you will be able to save around 80% by opting to use open source software rather than buying a licensed one.
Needless to say that with these benefits in hand, open sourcing will open a wider world of opportunities for your business to expand.
The first steps to moving to open source
If you are going to use backcountry.com’s model for your business, then you ought to keep in mind how they started to capitalize on this industry. Like many other businesses, it started by getting a first-class IT consultant that helped put up the backbone system. The vision was born out of the trending popularity of Google search and that jumpstarted the company. What should have caused its founder $800,000 was reduced to $100,000 just by hiring the right person for the job. The software is then reprogrammed to maintain the company’s e-mail system and eventually its resource planning. By getting these things out of the way, the company was able to introduce its product into the market. It only took a few weeks to get everything in order and from then on, everything went well. Its developers tweak the system once in a while to meet the growing need of the company and thereby improve their customer service.
A word of warning
However, it is also wise to say that open sourcing is not the cure for everything nor the shortcut for success. If you are to get into this in the scale that backcountry.com has, you need to be fully equipped with top-class developers. They will be your number one asset and not your system. If you have a hardworking team, then you can pretty much remedy everything. In addition, you would also need to have a thorough understanding of how the whole system works. Knowing the code first hand is of great importance. You also need to know the ins and outs of the business because if you are banking your whole business in a software and it comes crashing down, you may not have something to fall back to. The e-commerce business is a trending platform, but you always have to keep yourself updated otherwise you will lose your edge.