Many organizations buy software based on analyst or peer recommendations. While this is a better business practice than simply buying blindly, the problem is that no one can tell you how a particular software product will actually fit into the way your organization works. In other words, a given software product may well work, but not work for you.
For this reason, companies should be looking at low- or no-cost ways to evaluate and use software products with limited contractual commitments. Open source and software-as-a-service (SaaS) both provide a way for companies to accomplish this.
Open-source software allows you to freely download the software and typically only pay for support or advanced features. With SaaS, customers use the software over the Internet, with free trials and minimal ongoing contractual commitments in case the software doesn’t work as expected.
In these ways, both open source and SaaS put you, the user, in charge, letting you pay less money with lower up-front risk.
Matt Asay General Manager and Vice-President, Americas Alfresco Palo Alto, Calif.