The 4 open source “secrets” your business requires

By | 2 minute read | December 17, 2020

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting a LinkedIn live session for IBM Systems with a stellar panel of guests. I want to summarize the conversation we had and the nuggets of insight I took away. We structured our time together around the recent Secrets from the C-suite: Modernizing IT with Open Source webinar. Read on to hear our take on each of the secrets. 

C-suite secret #1: 

Having the right people, the right infrastructure, the right mindset— is great, but if you don’t have the right tools, then you’re not going to be competitive, and open source is one of the most important tools in the toolbox.  

The feedback from the panel was that infrastructure can’t be overlooked, and more specifically, that clients should explore enterprise-class infrastructure for their mission-critical Linux workloads. IBM Distinguished Engineer and IBM LinuxONE CTO Marcel Mitran suggests that the security attributes of LinuxONEwere gaining traction with client, especially for digital assets and banking workloads. My take: infrastructure is important, but you need to look more holistically at people, process and infrastructure to achieve the maximum benefit. 

C-suite secret #2:

Open source brings consistency to solutions that you wouldn’t otherwise have without massive investment. It doesn’t require rip & replace, and it offers a high level of consistency within solutions.   

The debate here was interesting. Increasingly, the panel is seeing the desire to build differentiation as a focus for proprietary innovation, but APIs and horizontal ‘plumbing’ should be open-source driven. My take: clients should look to adopt open source pervasively and then build on that layer to deliver what their business requires. Investing to replicate open-source tool functionality, be it either with ISV solutions or with in-house development, will become rarer over time for primarily economic reasons. 

C-suite secret #3:

Attracting and keeping top talent is imperative, and it means helping employees feel like they can give something back. Empowering and engaging talent through open source means letting them participate in that larger world.  

This was a hot topic for the panel, with spirited discussion. This was not surprising as the demand for talent, especially in the current business climate, is increasing. Hot new skills, largely in open source, are key to driving digital transformation projects. My take: every client should be establishing an open source program office and actively encouraging employees to take active roles in the open source community, even if this is not directly related to their core function or role. 

C-suite secret #4:

Businesses can unify old & new systems across vendors like never before, and leveraging containerization enables fast movement of data and workloads, letting business pivot as needed.  

The panel focused here on the pervasive adoption of Kubernetes as an open-source project, driving the adoption of containerization and the jet fuel for digital transformation.  This technology layer is powering the adoption of hybrid cloud and obviously what IBM is doing with OpenShift and Cloud Paks is at the heart of this adoption. My take: clients need to look more widely than just public cloud, as models show that a hybrid strategy is proven to deliver 2.5x the value on average. Specific benefits will vary based on your enterprise. Focusing on systems of record and on-premises infrastructure as part of a hybrid cloud strategy often delivers more benefit than a pure public cloud strategy. 

>> I strongly recommend you watch the replay of the webinar and watch our latest LinkedIn live session to learn more.