March 2021 - Open Business #1

By anniv, 11 March, 2021

One year ago, on the 11th of March 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This has had a major impact on all society. Suddenly, remote work became a necessity and companies embraced working "from the cloud." Also, many businesses had to reinvent themselves, and many individuals who lost their jobs had to build a new business to survive. While the pandemic presented overwhelming challenges, it has also presented opportunities.

Early in the pandemic, Dries Buytaert (founder of Drupal and Acquia) published his view of how businesses would be affected and what role open source would play. Dries believed that, in uncertain periods like that brought by the pandemic, individuals and organizations would look for ways to take control of their own destiny, and strive to do more with less. Adopting open source helps these individuals and organizations to survive and thrive. Data from the last two big recessions confirmed this view: open source adoption excelled during the dot-com crash (2000-2004) and the Great Recession (2007-2009).

The 2020 TideLift survey conducted in June provided initial data also supporting this view: 44% of respondents believed their organization’s leaders were likely to encourage the use of more open source for application development during the downturn, while only 2% expected its use to be discouraged.

This past week, Red Hat published the 2021 State of Enterprise Open Source Report, which further consolidates this view: nearly 70% of IT leaders believed COVID-19 has accelerated investment in public cloud infrastructure.

And finally, OpenUK's State of Open March 2021 Report provides an interesting quote from Rob Knight, CTO, Enterprise Cloud Products at SUSE:

"The global pandemic has really helped to accelerate open source adoption in the enterprise. As companies have been forced to adapt to change quickly, we saw open source use increase dramatically as companies needed flexibility - they didn't have the time to go into a long evaluation and a long sales cycle when their offices were suddenly shut down and everyone moved to remote working overnight. They needed new innovative solutions yesterday and open source was able to fill that gap for a lot of them."

It's also worth highlighting how open source and open data have played an important role in battling COVID-19 itself, from the design of open source ventilators, to open source applications for tracking infections, to maps and graphs displaying the spread of the virus.

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