When times are hard we need to look at what we can do to tighten the proverbial belt, this holds true for both the private and the public sector.
It is in tough times that businesses should not hold back or shy away from investing in better processes or improved tech platforms to give themselves the edge they need to not only survive the lean times but to come out stronger on the other side and in a position to be able to make way into new territories/niches and beat the competition that has lacked the sense/foresight to invest in more efficient process and systems to better address the changing market needs/conditions.
In the case of the public sector organisations austerity spells budget cuts and a drive towards efficiency and cost savings… more with less and forever improving services for the public (if the incumbents want to win the next election).
One way to beat austerity is to ditch proprietary platforms in favour of open source platforms. This is a no brainer.
Too often businesses over look the benefits and the obvious advantages of using open source platforms, to list a few: economic hosting costs, wide availability of resources, crowd sourcing of solutions, code and support, freedom from a single vendor and the freedom to modify the software as you see fit, when you see fit.
More often the sales teams from proprietary vendors convince governmental departments to stick to their platforms and sell them discounted upgrades to keep them in their cages. You are the prisoner and the vendors are number 2.
From OpenOffice, OpenERP, Moodle, DoceboLMS, SugarCRM, PillarOne, Rapid-i, Jitsi, Zimbra, CineFX, GIMP, Drupal, Joomla and much more… there is very little that is not available or doable using open source platforms.
And should you feel your requirements need a custom application not available in the OS community then develop it by all means but use OS technologies like PHP, Python or Ruby and save yourself a packet on server and API licenses and by the way some OS application development frameworks will save you time and ££$$€€ compared to proprietary development environments.
So why pay an arm for proprietary applications, a leg for expensive server licenses!? Break on through to the Other Side.