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Remote working: Open source technology for the win!

Open-source technologies made it much easier to carry out critical tasks that otherwise would have hit a roadblock.

Two years back, when the world came to a standstill, companies worldwide had to transform, and they had to transform quickly. With strict norms being imposed, companies had no choice but to opt for a remote working environment. But it was easier said than done. Coordinating with hundreds (in some cases more) of employees spread across geographies was an uphill battle.

However, open-source technologies made it much easier to carry out critical tasks that otherwise would have hit a roadblock.

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Open-source technologies rule the roost 

The open-source market that was pegged at $21.7 billion in 2021 is estimated to double in size in just five years. A MarketsandMarkets report has estimated that the professional and personal open-source services segment will grow to USD 50 billion by 2026. GitHub’s data suggests that 72 per cent of Fortune 50 companies used GitHub Enterprise between Q4 2019 and Q3 2020. The company also reported over 40 per cent year-on-year growth in open source project creation per active user between April 2019 and April 2020. The numbers spiked first with the wave of the pandemic struck when countries started imposing lockdowns en masse.

This growth is steep but not unexpected. The open-source community offers a competitive advantage since companies can now improve the breadth and quality of available integrations. 

On the other hand, closed-source development falters since the value continues to shift from owning proprietary APIs to having the best-in-the-business ability to run software securely and scale it further. Rapid changes in the working conditions gave birth to the demand for new digital tools and challenged enterprises to create and manage them quickly. Teams had to work around new kinds of applications and develop them in days or weeks – as opposed to months or years.

While a few critical enterprise frameworks and custom logic for businesses remain strictly proprietary, for many other tools, companies prefer taking the open-source route. It also helps that integrating open source code proves to be a faster way to develop software. Here, developers import existing work with just a few inputs, making it much easier to pull new applications together. 

Expert opinions

“Pandemic has not only created disruption in how and where people work from but has also transformed the open-source technologies to ensure business continuity. While Kanban boards and Slack gained more prominence, Jitsi, Drawpile, and Riot have pushed the boundaries further, which allowed teams to collaborate and interact impeccably. At GlobalLogic, we have seen a rise in the productivity of employees with these tools at their disposal. While we have resumed offices in a hybrid model, we continue to operate open-source tools to ensure seamless continuity of work and enhance inter-functioning of the teams,” said Piyush Jha, senior vice president of Strategy & Technology APAC at GlobalLogic.

“During the pandemic, for a large number of companies and organisations, navigating the vagaries of work-from-home and virtual workspaces was a big challenge, especially since it happened so suddenly that they did not have time to adapt themselves to the new normal. At that time, there weren’t many options and, moreover, no budgets for the kind of flexibility that was needed. That is where open source platforms proved to be very helpful, to start off the WFH wave,” said Shekhar Sanyal, country head and director at IET India. Sanyal also said that open source is here to stay.

However, he adds a word of caution – it is important to address security and privacy concerns from a regulatory perspective, to ensure a smooth road to adoption.

“Open source technology has enabled remote work, helped teams stay efficient and improved business agility in an increasingly digital world. While tools like Google-suite, Slack, Zoom & Trello helped us stay connected, engaged and productive, we’ve transformed our cloud and security infrastructure to be better equipped to solve technology challenges. We’ve also adopted technology solutions for evaluating employee performance and providing virtual training,” said Rohit Srivastava, director of engineering for Platforms at MiQ India.

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Shraddha Goled
I am a technology journalist with AIM. I write stories focused on the AI landscape in India and around the world with a special interest in analysing its long term impact on individuals and societies. Reach out to me at shraddha.goled@analyticsindiamag.com.

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