At Open Source Business Conference 2013, conversations on innovation, disruption, and open source leadership dominated the sessions. The conference chair, Matt Assay, crafted a program where each presentation and conversation reinforced how traditional business strategies are being disrupted by new market dynamics. The dynamics are shifting power away from closed, proprietary corporate leadership towards open collaboration and user-led innovation. The shift is disrupting traditional business strategies, IT operation practices, and market dominance.
Open Source startups (e.g. HortonWorks, 10gen, Appcelerator, GitHub, Netflix, SUSE, and WSO2) are leading their respective technology domains by encouraging open collaboration, micro-iterations, and user-led innovation.
Open collaboration is occurs within the diverse Linux, Apache, and OpenStack open source communities, and also in infrastructure ecosystem partnerships (i.e. mobile device providers and mobile application platform vendors, operating system vendors and application platform vendors, or Big Data infrastructure vendors and Cloud analytic providers). Shaun Connolly described how open collaboration is shaping Big Data and Cloud technology.
The rapid pace of technology change is forcing companies to adopt agile product strategies that rely on micro-iterations to fine-tune market impact. Three and five year plans are rapidly rendered irrelevant by the rise of new market forces (e.g. think about the world before GitHub, before Twitter, before iPhone, before NetFlix, before Amazon). James Staten outlined how Cloud is still in an early adopter phase with significant opportunity for new leaders to emerge.
The open source ethos of open collaboration and listening to users is providing open source companies an edge in a user-led environment. Mobile adoption, technology consumerization, data democratization, and Cloud self-service access are shifting the market’s paradigm towards user-led innovation.
A telling data point is how Adrian Cockcroft from Netflix captured interest at the PaaS lunch table discussion and presented to a standing room only crowd on the last day. Roman Stanek illustrated how his company, Good Data, is successfully democratizing the rarified world of business intelligence and analytics. When Software as a Service and streaming movie companies lead the discussion, one can clearly see the paradigm shift on the big screen.
My conference contribution was to outline a New IT Plan that embraces the disruptive business forces reshaping technology offerings. After pondering the conference experience, I believe the plan will be recalculated and re-factored. My thanks to many conference participants and speakers whose insightful conversations are shaping the next micro-iteration.
I look forward to the next Open Source Business Conference, and obtaining an update on how organizations are adapting to a market environment shaped by open collaboration, user-led innovation, and micro-iterations.