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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Open Source Empowerment

Building an IT department with the power to envision solutions, evaluate options, and lead evolutionary implementation is the best investment a company can make if IT is a strategic factor. The more an IT department is supporting stable systems, the more buy-leaning it should be, and the more IT becomes a commodity. The more strategic value that IT brings, the more likely it is that flexible and dynamic systems must be supported, and the more build-leaning a department should be. The more build-leaning a company is, the more it must take responsibility for its own destiny and create and maintain skills for requirements gathering, architectural design, and development.

Open source transforms companies, because it prepares them to be more build-leaning. As use of open source increases, IT departments take more responsibility as architects and creators of the solutions their companies need. (Doc Searles has an approach called “Do It Yourself IT” in which he recommends becoming more build-leaning.) To become more build-leaning, an IT department must develop a central architectural brain for crafting initial requirements, selecting from all the options available for implementation, and then leading the evolution of a better solution.

Creating a well-oiled IT department is difficult, whether a department is buy-leaning or build-leaning. If an IT department is buy-leaning, it had better have a brilliant understanding of requirements so that it does not find itself ...

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