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How are businesses using open technology?

August 17, 2012

Olivia Shannon, @Olivia_at_O

Do open technology strategies (e.g. open source, open standards, open hardware, open APIs, open data, open science) affect how businesses compete with each other?

To examine the competitive uses of open technology, tech researcher and regular CloudCamp contributor Simon Wardley is running a survey, available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HCYXZVG. As Wardley suggests in his open survey request, the move to open technologies may reflect a shift in how businesses use technology to gain a competitive advantage. He writes, “In the past open source has often been seen as hippy idealism and far removed from the cutthroat world of commercial software. Today, it’s viewed by many companies as a weapon to be deployed against the unwary competitor.”

The survey will explore how businesses are using open technology and test some of the predictions Wardley has presented at CloudCamp over the years.  In a recent article in Computer Weekly, Wardley writes that companies are “making bets with open technology” to maneuver themselves into better competitive positions. He says open APIs, such as those used by Amazon and Google, can help companies “protect existing value chains or create new ones.” Open technologies, Wardley writes, are part of a significant change in IT strategy: “While IT strategy in the past has often referred to operational choices such as what technology or vendor to use, today’s game is all about undermining a competitor’s barrier to entry, protecting against threats, creation of ecosystems and altering market dynamics.”

One thing is for sure: The Countdown blog team will await results from the survey with interest.

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