Beyond Open Source: The Business of ‘Whole' Software Solutions

Beyond Open Source: The Business of ‘Whole' Software Solutions

Joseph Feller (University College Cork, Ireland), Patrick Finnegan (University of New South Wales, Australia) and Jeremy Hayes (University College Cork, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-904-5.ch016
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Abstract

Researchers have argued that competitive necessities will require open source software companies to participate in cooperative business networks in order to offer the complete product / service (whole product) demanded by customers. It is envisaged that these business networks will enhance the business models of participant firms by supplementing their value adding activities and increasing responsiveness to customers. However, while such propositions have intuitive appeal, there is a paucity of empirical research on such networks. This study examines Zea Partners, a network of small open source companies cooperating to deliver the ‘whole product’ in the area of Content Management Systems (CMS). It investigates how network participation augments the business models of the participant companies, and identifies the agility challenges faced by the business network. The chapter concludes that reconciling the coordination needs of OSS networks with the operational practices of participant firms is of crucial importance if such networks are to achieve adaptive efficiency to deliver whole products in a ‘bazaarfriendly’ manner.

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