Open Source projects embrace many of the same strong values that also help successful businesses grow and scale. Collaboration, Transparency, Community, and commitment to quality solutions helps make many Open Source projects as good or better than their SaaS or Enterprise alternative. This makes changing over to using Open Source tools have a lot of weight behind it, but how to you go about the process of deciding what Open Source project is right for your teams needs?
The first step in looking at switching tools should be, what features you currently use the most, which features drive you nuts, and which you wish you could have with your current SaaS or Enterprise tool. It would be good to create a simple survey to ask your team about the things they value most and what things they could do without. After all the whole idea behind the switch is making things easier and more profitable for the team.
While it is true that Open Source projects tend to not have a ongoing license fee, there is the cost of opportunity and a real cost when it comes to having the correct infrastructure in place when you make the change. A lot of times, these costs are hidden when you are using a SaaS product because they are included as a part of the subscription fee. Have you tech team or one of our OpenSource gurus take a look at the requirements for the tool you select, so that you have a good idea as to the type of impact this change will have on your budget. There are often many choices when it comes to OpenSource projects and not all of them are equal in quality.
The 90% match
When switching to a OpenSource tool, it will be important to keep in mind the fact that you can update and extend how the tool works over time. I often recommend to clients that they start with the basics of a new OpenSource tool, use it for a couple of weeks or months and make notes to things they need, things that feel more difficult than they should, or look/feel things. You can set a budget to update the tool over time to dial it in more to your team's specific needs and also keep from spending too much on modifications. Over time your installation of the tool will become a bigger reflection of your team's goals and values.