5 guide points to help businesses migrate to Open Source

More and more businesses are seeking ways to cut down cost in this economic recession, and one of the ways in which they can do so is to cut down on overheads relating to IT spending. The easiest way to achieve this kind of cost cutting measure is to go Open Source. However, I have realized from some clients that I have consulted with, that most businesses, especially small ones do not have any concrete guide they follow to switch to Open Source. It is in this regard that I have compiled the following five points to serve as guide posts for businesses that are seeking to make the switch.
Identify your present and future needs
IT is a means to an end, and to switch this means will invariably have an effect on the end to which it is aimed. Thus it is very essential that businesses clearly define their current and future needs in order to be able to determine if Open Source can help them achieve those needs both now and in the future.
Know the limitations of both platforms
It is imperative that businesses seeking to switch to Open Source know the limitations of both Open Source and proprietary platforms. This will help them make a well informed choice should they go ahead and switch because  they would have made a systematic audit of the limitations of Open Source and have concluded would have concluded that its limitations are beyond the scope of their needs.
The cost of Open Source
Though most Open Source applications are free as in free beer, it is still necessary to consider carefully any implicit cost that may be associated with Open Source. For instance, if the business picks an Open Source application and improves upon it, it would be under an obligation to pass on the new product, what if the application gets into the hands of competitors?
Consulting/ Guides
It is very much recommended that businesses seeking to switch to Open Source get the advice and guidance of experts in the field to consult with them. This will ensure that they do not suffer unnecessary hiccups in the process of migrating to Open Source since they will be under the guidance of an expert in that field.
The switch to Open Source should always be a gradual, well timed process. This will make it easy to correct any mistakes that occur in the process and also to ensure that staff have adequate time to learn the new platform. Also the learning the leaning curve associated with migrating to Open Source will be very smoother with a gradual roll over to Open Source.
These are the 5 simple guides that can serve as guides to businesses seeking to make the switch. What other points do you think should have been added to the list? Have you made the switch in your business? Share your experience with us.

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