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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Open Solutions Alliance (OSA)

I’ve spoken (and written) often on the need to drive open source not only from the bottoms-up, but also from the top down to help clearly articulate the value proposition of what open source can do for business, from a CxO perspective. There is noticeably much focus on enhancing open source components with new features, improved reliability, and the like. But, where is the push to ensure the business needs are being clearly captured and driven throughout the community? It sure would be nice if there was an unbiased initiative setup with the right level people and the right culture to drive such a focus. And now there is.

The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) is a 501c organization (nonprofit) with a vendor-neutral membership focused on driving the development and acceptance of open source business solutions. The organization will work with open source software developers, system integrators, and the broader open source community to improve interoperability among software products. The goal: create more integrated and rapidly deployable solutions for business users. This is a very good thing for everyone involved.

Driving interoperability standards for open source components should lead to greater enterprise-class functionality and increased breadth of applications. Not only will standards help the incumbent players better develop their applications, but this should draw more ISVs into the fray leading to more competition and better products for the end user. But, in order to incorporate mission critical business requirements, you need someone who really understands systems integration, high-end enterprises, and vertical markets. Enter Unisys.
As the first SI player in OSA, we will work closely with the members to help position these requirements. Additionally, with our product development capabilities, we are going to help implement some of the glue code to help make that integration work. There are several other top notch organizations that are part of OSA, and I’m sure others will soon join. The end result: more rapid creation and better applicability of open source solutions to address compelling business challenges. I am very excited to help drive this initiative.

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