Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Enterprise Architecture: Participating in Open Source

I got an email from a fellow EA employed in the banking industry who is seeking my opinion on their strategy to not only use but contribute to open source software. She asked that I suggest five different open source projects worthy of exploration for her organization to consider...

The funny thing is that they want to contribute to open source for financial reasons but still have closed media relations policies which don't allow them to talk about their approach. Of course, my advice was to address the ability to talk about things as the first priority as this is more important than us enterprisey folks actually writing code.

Likewise, I suggested that the problem with open source is not in having enough software developers but in the lack of good comprehensive documentation to make products usable by the masses and therefore contribution at this level should also be considered.

Finally, I hinted at the problem-space that many enterprise architects who go down this path will run into. Simply, while EA's who want to give back to the community are handcuffed by their peers who rely on metrics and the industry analysts who guide them. Sooner or later, someone will stand up and say: How many other enterprises are doing this? Since no industry analyst firm regardless of size has enough integrity to even research this question, you need to figure out this answer for yourself. I did however suggest that she check out the fine work by the folks at Duke Energy, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JPMChase, Boeing, GM and Bank of America.

Anyway, here are the top five projects that I recommend:

If there are other open source projects I should have recommended, please do not hesitate to trackback. In the meantime, I will be starting a campaign to get Jon Udell of Infoworld to get these products into the Infoworld test labs to openly compete against closed-source proprietary vendors...

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