“We can make computers affordable by all, we can make every device smart, we can augment every aspect of our lives with technology…but not if it means we all have to be technologists. Even relatively high-tech buyers like businesses and network operators are finding it difficult or impossible to sustain the skill levels needed to adopt the state-of-the-art stuff that’s out there. And as we drive more toward software features we create more complicated integration and management, which means we need more professional skills. At some point, what a company can do to help its buyers install and use their stuff becomes more important than the stuff itself, and we’re already on the edge of that today.”
Tom Nolle, in his blog about who wins the new age of tech.
Two of the regular themes in this blog are simplification and tripods.
Tripods are the people who add serious worth to the OSS value chain. They are the ones that add real benefits to the customers that are paying large amounts for OSS products and services. In my experience, most product vendors don’t have very many tripods at all. And if the vendors don’t have many, nor do the CSPs, which makes even less available for utilities or enterprise to call upon.
As Tom alludes to above, this skills shortage is one of the limiting factors of tech in general, but can be specifically applied to OSS. One of the limiting factors in our industry is the shortage of skilled implementers.
To overcome this limitation, I see two primary options:
- Either establish better training that looks beyond the mere technical or
- Make the solutions far, far simpler
If we take the second approach, we’ll also overcome one of OSS’s other limiting factors – customers.
If OSS become simpler to configure, commission and use, then we will see a rapid up-lift in the number of customers as e-enterprise will quickly embrace the cost-benefits of installing OSS.