Monday, January 4, 2010

Prediction for 2010 #4: New Leadership in Open Source

I believe the landscape of open source companies will substantially change in the next year with continued acquisitions, one IPO and some new upstarts becoming high flyers. Some may wonder if a return to a stronger economy will spell softer times for open source software, meaning: will IT organizations and developers return to the sinful spending of the past? I say absolutely not. The benefits of the open source model are too well-aligned with the new needs of IT and developers to be so easily abandoned.

So, the now-legitimate open source model combined with a return to a stronger economy will lead to even better growth and financial results for leading open source companies. In this sense, the strong and well-built open source companies will get stronger: Ingres, Alfresco, SugarCRM, Talend and Jaspersoft, for example, will reach new heights.

And, relative open source newcomers who can substantially disrupt in their sector will make big gains as well. I believe these up-and-comers will gain new and deserved center stage profile.

Lastly, I also believe that some even earlier-stage open source software companies will come on the scene strongly, becoming the new “ones to watch”, starting this year.

The Open Source Center Stage

Watch for these companies to break away, driving real disruption in their sectors.

Acquia – the commercial open source extension of the Drupal project is doing for web content management what Alfresco is already doing in the enterprise content management. Have you heard of a substantial web site being built recently that wasn’t using Drupal? Acquia stands to gain handily from this trend.

MindTouch – with fierce and varied competition in the wiki collaboration space, it’s clearly a tricky segment to pick a winner. But MindTouch has managed to make huge inroads to serve both open source and commercial communities with its open core business model. And it has differentiated its product with both a service-oriented architecture, key for mashing up content with other systems, and with its friendly GUI designed for business users.

Wavemaker – 2010 just might be the year to crown WaveMaker the “PowerBuilder for the web” (a reference to the most successful client/server 4GL tool of the 1990s). Building and deploying advanced, web-based apps quickly and efficiently is critical to the next-generation internet and Wavemaker just may hold the key.

The Newest Ones to Watch

You may not have heard of these companies yet, but I bet you will in 2010.

BonitaSoft – after years of design and development to provide a commercial open source business process management system, this product won the Open Innovation Award in Paris in 2009.

Lucid Imagination – an enterprise search tool, built on the remarkably popular Lucene engine and financed by notable investors, it’s hard to see where this will go wrong.

zAgile – finally a commercial open source tool that enables collaborative software engineering, this product should expand the market led by CollabNet and many proprietary options (including IBM, Oracle, Borland and Microsoft). Looks like some disruption is coming soon.

In 2010, the open source software landscape will continue to shift and change, but you can count on consistently strong innovation and disruption. Which companies do you think I’ve missed? Who will make a new open source mark in 2010? Your comments are welcome.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    Thanks for the mention. MindTouch has had a great couple years of triple digit revenue growth. I expect 2010 growth to surpass 2009 given my expectation for a slightly improved economy in 2010 and what with the introduction of new products and resources coming online at MindTouch.

    You touch on how MindTouch is used, but I want to clarify this further. MindTouch is consistently being used as an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. No, I don't mean as a DMS or ECM I mean as a new kind of business platform. MindTouch is solving the problem of collaboration by making it possible for non-programmers to connect enterprise systems, databases and web-services in the context of an easy to use collaborative environment. The purpose of MindTouch is to provide wiki-like ease of collaboration between humans AND MACHINES; thereby enabling less-techie people to automate reports, systems and create dashboards.

    I look forward to watching Jaspersoft grow in 2010. Happy new year!