Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

I wrote a few articles about my recent switch to Ubuntu and my position on open source. Today I stumbled upon Alan Pope's article called "The Truth about Switching".

Alan's first bullet goes like this...

01. People will ridicule you for using Ubuntu

I have witnessed this first hand. A few people at work have busted my chops (in a nice way) for switching. Of course, they have never used Linux themselves. A fellow blogger took some shots at me and some how ended by comparing the open source movement to a communist revolution. I was almost ready to raise the terror alert to Red.

With all joking aside, I have found a few spare hours in my busy day to find additional open source products for my toolbox. Today I downloaded the Open Source Visio equivalent called Draw from OpenOffice.org. Draw worked great and was able to import files from many different formats. A cool blog that I subscribe to had a funny article about Visio and listed a few other alternatives.

I am currently working on a big BPM/SOA implementation. The team has a ton of requirements in a Word document that has use cases mapped to each requirement. This will quickly become a pain in the butt to manage and screams for a requirements management tool that will feed into our Mercury testing tools. Unfortunately, I have no budget for a requirements tool. Can you say Open Source to the rescue? I have started researching requirements tools and expect to have a solution in place and running by next week. The total cost will be...you guessed it...Zero dollars.

So let's look at all of the open source components that are being used on this project. First we will start with my desktop. I am using Ubunto, Open Office (for word, excel, power point, and visio), OpenWorkbench (for MS Project), and Firefox for my browser. Our BPM/SOA stack are all BEA products that leverage Eclipse. Our source control, defect tracking, and requirements management tools are all open source. We have the option to run our stack on Linux or Windows. We have more expertise on the Windows platform so we will stick with Windows there.

One place that I believe that Open Source really shines is in IT tools. In my lifetime, it has been very difficult to get funding for software development tools. The business invests so much money in infrastructure, CRM, financial systems, HR systems, and other enterprise initiatives that it is usually challenging to justify spending $100K-$300K on SDLC tools like portfolio management suites & CMDBs. Development tools like Reflection (a terminal emulator), Toad (a SQL tool), and many others are expensive. Multiply the cost of the license by your number of developers and the costs can get astronomical. Tools like these are no-brainers for open source alternatives. They are low risk replacements and save thousands of dollars.

That's my rant for today. I'll be back to share my experience of our new Open Source requirements tool. I have already found a few tools that have a decent sized community. They output xml which we can feed into our Mercury suite. This will eliminate the need for me to pay for licenses for our outsourcing partners. Stay tuned.


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My favorite sayings

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there"

"Before you build a better mouse trap, make sure you have some mice"