[OSGeo-Discuss] Whitebox GAT (Chris Puttick)

Zak James zjames at dmsolutions.ca
Sat Mar 27 08:01:19 PDT 2010

Zak James
Applications and Software Development
DM Solutions Group Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Puttick
Sent:  26.03.2010 17:54:39
To: OSGeo Discussions
Subject:  Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Re: Whitebox GAT (Chris Puttick)

Terribly off-topic now, so feel free to stop reading...

----- "Brian Russo" <brian at beruna.org> wrote:

> It wasn't directed at you Chris, nor specifically at anyone.
> I just think the general tone of this conversation is pretty
> unproductive. Sure people have reasons about "being" strategic"
> everything but maybe it's just how I'm reading it but I just see the
> old, familiar tones of the "Free Software Movement" which is "do it
> my
> way (100% free) or the highway". I don't think that helps anyone..

You can take it on faith or a Google that I'm pragmatic on the issue. I've explained why I think .net is a poor strategic choice, and that my motivations are strategic. I am all too well aware that many IT decisions are based on convenience and short term outlook, and pretty sure that's a major factor in...

> It's all well and good if you're in a small organisation with 300 pcs
> or whatever like Chris P and you have that sort of latitude.. but
> people forget that most organisations aren't driven by cost or
> ideology - they're driven by business value. Openness is no different
> than being Green/Sustainable. It has to make good business sense in
> order to be the right decision. I can't go to my bosses and say "we
> have to do this because it's open source". They won't care and I
> don't
> blame them.

...not realising high or often any business value. Business value is where what you expend money and get more in return than you spent. Incredibly easy to measure in small businesses with few employees and a simple business model, harder the larger the business or the more complex the concept of value becomes e.g. in a charity or government organisation. There is good evidence that collectively western economies have spent more on IT than they have realised in value.

The business case is not simple, any more than it is in marketing; but here's my base position in simple terms. I select solutions that maximise our future choices and reduce our costs; a further benefit is derived if I can move any remaining costs from fixed annual overhead to per employee or pure capital; while there may be short term pain as people get used to the changes, any increase in costs for that short period will be more than offset by the long term decrease in costs and increases in flexibility for the organisation. 

Luckily for me I don't have to justify to others other than in my long term results. I'm aware that this continues to be a rare privilege for the top of the information systems tree and that many organisations continue to not have technical expertise at the highest level, resulting in many decisions in that area being taken with the wrong information and wrong motivations. I'm working on that too.

There are other aspects to openness that may derive negative value for some organisations e.g. opening data - great for archaeology, bankruptcy for marketing companies, a matter for the courts for financial companies. But open source solutions for your organisation's IT has no downsides. Unless there are no open source solutions that can be made to do the job.

Sorry this thread has deteriorated into a management philosophy discussion. I'm here mostly for the open, I'm not so strong on the geospatial...



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