Open Source, Vendor Lock-In Are Top of Mind for Execs This Year

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The use of open source software has increased dramatically in the past decade, and this year could be the one in which we see real maturity in the market.

Couchbase Chief Executive Officer Bob Wiederhold spoke with Information Management about what he sees for the market in 2017, as well as issues related to digital infrastructure and vendor lock-in.


Information Management: What should we expect from players in the open source market in 2017?

Bob Wiederhold: In 2017, we will see a major ‘rubber hits the road’ moment for many companies using an open source model. Over the past decade, the use of open source has expanded dramatically in the IT infrastructure of enterprises and there was a large influx of venture capital funding for open source-based companies as a result. Many of these companies are now reaching maturity and we will begin to see which vendors have built sustainable, profitable business models, and which ones will not survive without continued VC funding.

We expect the market to experience considerable consolidation, and likely a few shocking moments, as some companies go public or are acquired while others struggle to grow without continued VC funding. Those whose fortunes have risen largely on an open source project’s popularity will have to demonstrate their business models are strong enough for long-term, sustainable success.


IM: What critical issues will organizations face regarding their digital infrastructure?

Wiederhold: In 2017, many enterprises will take the next steps in ensuring they are prepared for the next wave of digital experiences and can keep up with or outdo their digital-only competitors. For some, this will require a major shift in management.

Enterprises will need to address vital questions: Do we have the right leadership with the right digital foresight and skills? Do we have people who are experts in these modern technologies? Is our executive team able to lead our digital transformation? Do we need to create a new department or role?

Enterprises in nearly every industry will need to restructure to address these new demands and focuses. It is no longer enough to just have a digitally-savvy developer or IT team. It is also required all up and down the management chain in order to have a competitive digital business. We’ve already begun to see big changes in many enterprises’ C-suites. In the past year, when we’ve seen these shifts, we’ve see much faster digital transformation progress than in those who didn’t make any changes.


IM: What are the top technology issues that organizations will face this year?

Wiederhold: The conversation around vendor lock-in is becoming much more prominent in senior level meetings, spurred on by many enterprises’ decision to move to the public cloud. To this point, the issue of vendor lock-in was initially discussed as a black or white situation. However, in 2017 we are going to see this conversation shift to acknowledge the many shades of gray, as executives realize and consider the varying degrees of lock-in and how it impacts various departments and levels of management.

Examining the potential consequences of using proprietary technology on the different levels of the hardware and software stack will be an important issue within companies this year as more enterprises implement digital transformation initiatives.

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