This year’s shrinking budgets have forced CIOs, CTOs and IT leaders to make difficult decisions to improve the viability of their organizations. The typical decision-making process comes down to a combination of reducing headcount and postponing or cancelling new or existing projects. Reducing headcount can rob an organization of unique skills and experience, demotivate remaining staff and have a negative impact on service levels. Canceling or postponing existing projects may have an immediate effect on the bottom line but longer term negative impact on the business. Canceling new projects also robs the organization of an opportunity to innovate their way out of the current economic crisis and will ultimately leave them at a competitive disadvantage. So before you go canceling a project and chucking anymore jobs, remember that there are alternative technologies that can and should be considered that will result in enormous cost savings and long-term innovation. And a happy accident of pursuing these alternatives is that it puts the IT budget holder in a stronger position when renegotiating contracts with existing IT vendors.  Even in these tough times, the options are many. For instance, you can replatform existing technology deployments onto an equivalent open source technology stack. Open source products don’t have an up-front license fee and many are backed by commercial entities that can provide 24x7 enterprise support subscriptions. The most significant cost savings can be achieved by replatforming proprietary database and application server deployments onto proven open source alternatives. Anywhere open standards have been embraced by your IT department, the cost and risk associated with these migrations are minimal, and the savings can be enormous – savings so big you can keep your people and your projects. 

Open standards create a fair, but competitive, market for the implementation of industry standards and do not lock the end user (you) into a particular vendor or technology. The organizations that administer open standards do not favor one implementation of the standard over another and make the standards available for all to read and implement. 

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