I’ve spent a lot of time at open source software conferences in the past 7 years. From locally focused Drupal Camps to international open source conferences, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking, listening, and learning at a lot of them, most recently All Things Open in Raleigh. For years, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing a lot of developer-to-developer interaction: sessions sharing best practices for development and working together in a lot of hackathons and code sprints. It’s awesome, and it’s at the heart of open source.
But this week, ATO showed me something I hadn’t seen on as grand a scale in all these years: that open source is truly emerging as the solution set for businesses serving other businesses. Alongside the developer-centric talks emerged questions of how open source is changing the landscape of business, and how open source can best be leveraged to serve business customers. Lunch tables were filled with teams from Facebook and Paypal and Groupon, alongside the Red Hat and Mozilla teams.
Why is open source emerging as the right place for businesses to build their B2B presence? In short, it’s because the capabilities and specialties of open source are maturing to meet the complex needs of this market. Look at the needs we have around mobile. It’s not just about smart phones anymore -- Forrester predicts that by 2020, 1 in 5 sales will result from data collected from wearable devices. From native apps to responsive design, this landscape is changing daily. B2B sites, perhaps more than any others, have to keep up with those trends. Open source is fast-adapting, so it’s better for handling the ever-evolving mobile needs of B2B sites.
And while we were engaged in those conversations at the conference, our project teams at Phase2 were also engaged in some exciting B2B work for open source. Just up the street from the conference, we met with our partners at RedHat about the opportunities they see for their products -- all open source -- to serve businesses around the world.