Monetizing Open Source via On Demand

by

Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies:

Imagine a car company that got its steel for free. So, instead of spending its money on costly raw materials, this company could invest in high-value differentiators such as better vehicle design, build-to-order manufacturing, and superb customer service.

Now imagine that this company also offered customers completely care-free car ownership; Its customers would never have to worry about gas or oil changes or insurance, because that would all be taken care of for them. All they’d ever have to do would be to get in and drive.

Obviously, that would be a great deal for the customer. Plus, with its cost-of-materials reduced to zero, the company could operate quite profitably while offering its extremely compelling value proposition.

This, in a nutshell, describes the business model of an on demand software vendor using open source technology. By eliminating the cost of databases, operating systems, and other infrastructure components, open source technology allows an on demand vendor to invest more in development, hosting, and services. And by providing software as a service, the on demand model frees customers from the valueless, budget-sucking burdens of IT ownership.

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