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The recent financial turmoil may not offer many reasons for cheer, but for those evangelicals with a vision for lowering expenditure, the audience is growing and even the ranks of corporate mainstream are now listening.

Those profligate IT departments, which ran in excess of their typical 2% of revenue target during recent happier financial times, will find an increasing number of eyebrows raised in their direction as revenue figures plummet. Leading software vendors have been criticised for adding to the pressures during a recent round of hikes in support costs. Prominent among these, but by no means the only example, was SAP’s recent spat with The UK and Ireland SAP User Group over a 29.4% increase in maintenance costs. Despite strong protestations from SAP spokesman Bill Wohl – “I can state emphatically that no component of this decision is about improving SAP revenues in reaction to industry market slowdown. This is purely a reaction to changing customer needs.” – strong downward pressure on technology budgets was no doubt a major contributor to the frosty and rather cynical murmuring among clients left to balance the books.

Waiting in the wings are a new breed of software vendors. Their view of the world is radically different, offering software at dramatically lower license costs or in some cases, no cost at all. Andrew Sykes, Managing Director of open source ERP vendor Open Plus Ltd explains it like this; “we do this because we are passionate about software and believe passionately in the positive impact it can have. We want nothing more for the legacy of our R&D than to see the world benefit from our endeavours”. Open Plus is one of a number of new companies whose goal is to level the playing field for software buyers. These “third way” companies offer the low cost benefits of open source while adding the industrial rigour required of mission critical systems.

The old maxim “no one ever got fired for hiring IBM” may have taken a beating in recent years, but in the current economic climate the real career-stopper could turn out to be renewing licenses and support agreements at an increased rate against a backdrop of shrinking revenues.



July 2018
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