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Closing the services gap

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

Open-source software has become the way that the majority of software is created and the trend continues to grow. This rapid adoption has been driven by the low cost, high quality, and freedom offered by open source software.

Despite this, organizations quickly realize that the companies or communities creating the software do not offer the services that are typically offered with commercial software. We call this the ‘services gap’.

It is critical enterprises close this gap so they avoid falling victim to the pitfalls of open-source software. Some pitfalls include growing technical debt and total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as installation, implementation, and support problems that come with using the open-source software. A Forrester study showing only 26% of organizations consider themselves excellent users of open source technologies suggests your organization is likely at risk of falling victim to these pitfalls.

This post walks you through the ways organizations are currently solving the services gap problem and explains why these solutions are inadequate if your organization continues to adopt more open source technologies. We also present a better way to solve the services gap problem using OpenTeams – a market network of open-source service providers.

Open source communities focus on software development, not support 

When you use commercial software, vendors provide services so you can successfully deploy and maintain the software solution in your business; they have a financial interest in your success. To ensure the software works for you, commercial software vendors offer services such as support, training, migration, installation, customization, among others. While open-source software project teams provide services such as organic bug fixes, dev documentation, and testing, they do not have the time or resources to offer the services companies need to successfully deploy and maintain their software. 

When you discover a bug or need help installing the software, it’s unlikely the project’s maintainers will have the time, resources, or ability to help you. Remember, they’re volunteers. They are passionate about creating useful software. They are less motivated, and possibly not skilled at writing user manuals, giving training, or answering user support calls. The result is a services gap.

Commercial software v.s. open-source software

And yet, many companies build their critical software infrastructure on top of these open source libraries. These companies’ revenue and reputation are at stake if they can’t get the help they need for open source libraries they use when they need it.

The services gap is therefore a real problem for many enterprises. When faced with this problem, companies have two choices: solve it internally or hire external service providers to help. 

We need open-source service providers

With hundreds of thousands of companies using multiple open-source libraries and only hundreds of currently identifiable support providers, it is clear that many companies are trying to support their own open-source implementations.

Despite this, few companies have the internal skills to configure and maintain their open source. According to the 2019 Open Source Software Support report by OpenLogic, 80% of development teams aren’t equipped to support the open source they are using. 

Skilling up your team internally to fill the services gap can be costly and time-consuming. It isn’t feasible to hire a new employee or train an existing employee each time you need to solve a problem with an open-source library. Unless it’s a library your business is heavily reliant on, working with a service provider is often faster, better, and cheaper. 

Finding service providers for a handful of hugely popular open-source libraries is easy. The most popular OSS libraries like Linux, Apache, Hadoop, and Spark are supported by well-known service providers such as RedHat, Cloudera, and SUSE.

But finding providers for cutting-edge libraries is harder. The reason is that the supply of support lags behind the adoption of open-source software. This makes it difficult for procurement departments to effectively vet many smaller or newer service providers.

Finding open source service providers is difficult

Your company probably uses many different open-source libraries. Identifying capable providers to help you make the best use of those libraries is challenging. Not to mention getting them set up as a vendor can be difficult and time-consuming. It’s often also very difficult to find answers to questions that appear to be relatively simple:

  • How do I find them; where do they advertise?
  • What do they call themselves?
  • How can I tell if the provider is competent?
  • How many providers do we need?
  • Can each provider meet our procurement organization’s vendor criteria?
  • How many contracts will you have to negotiate?

You could shop around and work with your procurement team every time you need help with a different library, or you could let OpenTeams do that work for you. 

OpenTeams’ market network

OpenTeams is creating a market network of open-source service providers. We offer you a single source and contract for all open source services.

Our service providers can help you to either build or rent a team to address the services gap for the open-source libraries you use. If you have a larger, more complex project, we’ll even team multiple providers together to solve your problem. 

OpenTeams allows you to easily find, vet, and contract with the right experts. You can trust all service providers on our platform because we have rigorously assessed their capabilities. You can even see what other customers have rated the providers and what has been said about them. 

Having one service contract covering many libraries will save you time and money. Think of OpenTeams as your Prime Contractor for open source services. 

Accessing the open-source services you need

OpenTeams’ founder, Travis Oliphant, created SciPy, NumPy, and Numba and has made many other significant contributions to open-source software. As the leader of Enthought, Anaconda, and Quansight, Travis provided services that filled the services gap for companies like Facebook, IBM, OmniSci, TDK, Nvidia, FedEx, and others. As a result, Travis came to deeply understand the need for a marketplace for open source users to find and engage with open source service providers. 

That’s why he founded OpenTeams. 

OpenTeams offers a variety of services to maintain and optimize your open source software:

OpenTeams’ services

To find out more about OpenTeams’ services, visit our website.

Help us make open source thrive

OpenTeams’ mission is to make open-source thrive. As an open-source software market network, OpenTeams creates many beneficial opportunities for those who use open-source software to provide financial support to those who develop, maintain, and support open-source software. 

Work with OpenTeams today so open-source software works for you. 

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