Gautam co-founded Josh Software in 2007 with an aim to bring industrial disruptions for their customers. Through Josh, his mission is to develop in-depth sustainable and scalable solutions for companies across sectors. He is an entrepreneur who not only drives the growth of his organization but lives his passion for coding till date! A strong believer & promoter of Open Source, he constantly encourages its adoption within his organization. He is an active contributor within the Open Source community. With his dedication and efforts, he has been able to build this expertise and culture within Josh.
How do you define success? Through growth figures, employee morale, profits achieved or investors who want a slice of your business pie? Surely, it is a combination of all the above. If you’re having this conversation with anyone in tech, you know that investments drive company perception. While the landscape is bound to evolve with time, especially in an already rapidly advancing industry, the last two years have turned the tables tremendously!
The current investment scene
In 2021, we have seen many investors look for opportunities with ‘the next big payouts’. There has been a slight shift in investment decisions in the technology space as well. Most venture capitalists today have led rounds that are targeted towards open source initiatives – so much so that this has almost become an investment trend! Personally, that is really heartening to see, as opportunities like these only add to the community’s capabilities.
In the late 90s, OpenSource was considered a “revolution”. Today, it’s part of our lives, and a very essential one at that! Investors today look at open source startups as an opportunity and not a threat. Using open source to scale existing systems to either increase revenues or improve operational efficiency is the ONLY way ahead. The annual invested capital in OS and Dev Tool startups have grown at a roughly 10% CAGR in the last five years. Last year’s investments crossed $2 billion! New York-based Minds, a crypto social network has grown to more than 14 million since it received a funding round in October 2018. Goldman Sachs invested more than $70 million in AI startup H2o.AI, to enable their expansion in Asia. They also invested in GitLab, a San Francisco based DevOps lifecycle tool in 2019 as part of their series D financing. Databricks, with its core data lake product, Delta, gathered a billion dollar funding round and stands at a $28 billion worth in its latest valuation.
The relationship between Open Source and Scaling Up
There are three things that guarantee business scalability – speed, flexibility and dynamic approaches to traditional working styles. An Open Source led environment, supported with SaaS and serverless infrastructure is something that allows IT leaders to not only explore highly customized solutions, but also relieves them of the burden to create each and every solution themselves. Existing, free to use software libraries and the OSS community are nothing short of a boon if you ask me! The better you get at integrating their code, the more seamless it becomes to scale these solutions. Add to this the benefit of OSS being super cost effective as compared to proprietary, off the shelf solutions, and you have a winner at your hands.
Utilizing more Open Source frameworks also helps companies in the elimination of pre-existing, cluttered infrastructure and operational overheads. Automations, flexibility in working approaches and open tools frees a lot of developer time and makes for better resource utilization, that adds great value to the business bottom and top line, both. As long as the approach is backed by a clear understanding of the customer and team expectations, many applications and APIs can be standardized, modularized and reused easily – all functions that aid productivity!
Roadmap to scaling up with OSS
A few things that IT leaders and CIOs in particular need to keep in mind while making the move to, or utilizing OSS include:
Rethink legacy systems: It is a common misconception that taking the leap to new, novel technology will solve pre-existing problems, but that is rarely the case. Sure, advanced open source solutions and upgrades keep coming through, but the real challenge with legacy approaches is not letting go of them completely, but understanding where to improve. One of the key pillars of open source is incremental improvement that lays down functionality one step at a time, rather than all at once, especially for resource intensive tasks. Understanding this transformational change at its own pace is as important as making the decision to scale up.
Build effective tooling: Upskill, upskill, upskill! This is by far the most important process for developers, business leads and technical resources alike. Investing in tooling and products that will make your software team’s lives easier is absolutely critical to ensure that they stay engaged with their work – it can’t be about driving targets all the time, it has to include a personal sense of growth for the team as well! The decision to either bring in dedicated experts or train existing teams stays with the company heads, but talent and tech go hand in hand, and in today’s day and age, there is little chance that one will survive without the other! Get your developers to actively engage with the OSS community, run training workshops and hackathons, and understand their collective capabilities for the complete picture!
Focus on integration: Open Source solutions require the teams designing those solutions to have a crystal clear view of where they are headed – especially in the case of automation related services. There is a vast pool of resources available to software developers today, and picking and choosing which ones to integrate with modernized architecture is a tough but rather interesting call to take! The better your teams get at this, the more effectively they will be able to solve the challenges that come their way.
Keep it secure: Another common misconception about Open Source has to do with how secure it is. People may believe that since it is cost effective and community driven, there are underlying security concerns, but this is not true. Most security breaches happen due to human error. It is thus critical to upgrade risk assessment metrics, have 24×7 governance and raise better awareness with things like policy as code. Integrating automated regulatory frameworks in a DevSecOps led environment also helps!
There’s a lot happening in the Open Source space today and it’s very exciting to be part of such an interesting landscape, to be able to see innovation come to life everyday. Leaders need to align this with their tech operations closely to their advantage, and scalability will follow!