Open Source : Catalyst for Fourth Industrial Revolution

| | 6 min read

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, businesses had a taste of what the future would look like. With platform-based services and related ecosystems taking over the world and our way of life, there has been little doubt about what business enterprises needed to do to keep up with the changing times. After the pandemic disrupted the normal way of life and businesses, organizations, educational institutions, and government departments alike had to look for digital solutions to carry on functioning, it became quite clear that we are already behind schedule on digital transformation.

The fourth industrial revolution has changed the way the industrial sector functions. Automation of industrial processes has brought in increased efficiency, reduced costs while improving standards and speeding up industrial processes. This has made production cheaper and transformed the production sector all over the world.

Digital transformation of the service sector aims to achieve similar results by automating as many business processes as possible while ensuring that there is no compromise on user experience.

Digital Transformation is the Need of the Hour

Business enterprises, corporations, educational institutions, government agencies, and departments alike have gone through some form of digital transformation within the organization. Organizations have brought in computers to replace filing systems, keep an employee registry, share files, and communicate across the organization, all of which has led to an immense increase in efficiency and cost savings. Business software is used to instantly log, analyze and visualize data for use, store and manage datasets in databases, communicate within the organization with an internal communication network as well as an e-mail system. All of this has helped organizations to transform their day-to-day functioning, exploring and pushing the potential of IT systems. Whether the organization is a financial institution, a private business, a government agency, or a service firm, technology has provided tailored digital solutions for every possible issue and is constantly finding new ways to innovate and provide services to users.

But digital transformation cannot stop at transforming the back end of your business. It is equally important to transform how your organization interacts with your consumers and users. Digital platforms have exploded in popularity with there being a digital platform for almost every service a person uses in their day-to-day life. From online shopping through e-commerce platforms, to streaming content on streaming platforms, to hiring a cab, booking movie tickets, flight tickets, the entire service sector has moved online. A mobile app along with a website is a must-have for modern organizations providing any form of service to ensure accessibility and user engagement. Be it an educational institute or a financial institute, front-end digital transformation is the priority as users are spending more and more time on these platforms for getting their work done and it is important to ensure that the user interface ensures a smooth user engagement. Your website/platform has become just as important as a brick-and-mortar store for it is based on how well you treat your consumers that the online presence of your business will grow.

Complete digital transformation of your enterprise will aid you in improving your communication and user engagement. Your service delivery platform is the face of your enterprise, and it should be able to provide the best possible user experience and allow the users to contribute to the platform ecosystem. Engaging users in your platform ecosystem through lowering the barriers of participation and ease of usage will transform the user experience of your platform.

Why go Open Source?

Digital transformation requires the necessary infrastructure, network architecture, and developer support to ensure a smooth user experience as well as an efficient back end. Implementing digital transformation requires you to create SaaS-based SMAC platforms, upgrade legacy systems, bring your IT infrastructure up-to-date, and upskill your workforce to smoothly transition into the new digital age. Digital technology brings in a lot of new tools, applications, and programs that need to be maintained and kept up to date with patches, updates, and bug fixes.

Open-source platforms provide the best circumstances that can ease and aid the digital transformation of your enterprise. Open-source technology is everywhere and that is large because of its cost benefits and data security capabilities. An open-source platform is open to all and is constantly being developed by developers around the world. A stable core source code allows developers to constantly innovate and create and find new applications for the code and modules to run on it, creating a thriving ecosystem of rapid tech development.

One of the most famous examples of open-source is the Android OS which is itself based on an open-source OS for personal computing devices, Linux.  These open-source platforms are being constantly worked upon by developers around the world and as such receive a steady stream of upgrades in the form of security patches, quality of life upgrades, or even upgrades to the platform itself.

Apart from being extremely secure as any potential security threat is resolved immediately by the community, open source is cost-effective as there is no licensing fee, and enterprises using the platform are allowed to innovate on their own if they keep their source code open. This drives innovation, keeps maintenance and development costs low, and provides prolonged utility to the platform as the platform stays relative as long as enough developers are working on the platform.

Governments around the world use open-source as the basis of their GAAP services. Open government platforms and even applications used by enterprises such as MySQL, Python, Java, Core JS, etc are all open-source software that provides reliability, performance, and data security.

4 Catalysts for Digital Transformation

Although open source is essential for the digital transformation of your enterprise, you also need these 4 catalysts to ensure that the transformation takes place in the right direction.

  • Data Analytics: Online platforms and services today collect a lot of public data but have little idea what to do with it. One of the keys to the digital transformation of your enterprise is to understand how you can use the data you collect to improve and expand your enterprise and consumer experience. Most of the data collected are never used to their full potential and as such you must be able to use data analytics to its full efficiency in your decision making.
  • Invest in infrastructure: Your enterprise must invest in technology infrastructure and platform to ensure the longevity and sturdiness of the company's technology ecosystem. Integrating from top-down can help you eliminate redundancies, find innovative applications and as such a high priority investment in the technology of your enterprise is a must.
  • The best talent: Digital transformation requires a specifically skilled workforce that knows what they are doing. To keep the best talent in your company you must create a culture that appreciates innovation and excellence while also cutting down on project times and empowers developer teams. The best ideas have often come from the bottom-up and a positive work culture that allows new and fresh ideas to float is necessary to create a positive reinforcement cycle.
  • Operating model: The leadership must be clear on how to best implement and integrate digital technologies into the enterprise. Your operating model must provide opportunities for the digital innovation platforms to come and grow. Isolating digital progress can cause rapid development but at the cost of segregation. While adding digital technology everywhere can slow the whole process down. A sweet spot must be found that is the responsibility of the leadership to come up with a suitable operating model.