Between meetings being held in preparation for a week of on-site vendor demos, I caught up on some blog reading. James McGovern replied to my earlier post which triggered another thought. We have evaluated over 2 dozen vendors, did a first round of literature evaluation against our requirements, did a second round of RFIs against our requirements and have arrived at the short-list for demos, next week. I did work with the main technical stakeholder to determine if there are any open source products that could fill all or part of the solution set. Regrettably, there aren't but, at least we did the investigation. The software suites we are investigating will be used as a company-wide standard and will retire several redundant systems which have all outlived their usefulness.
This lead me to think about our open source software use policy and our procurement process. There are several cost-reduction projects underway and a part of each project is trying to standardize software. Naturally, there aren't perfect solutions for every case so, architecture has decided to adopt a preferred choice and second choice ranking. It occurred to me that one more option was missing. If there happened to be 2 commercial options, there should also be an open-source option, too. I modified the asset catalog to look something like this:
|Software Domain||Preferred Commercial||Preferred Open-Source||Alternate Commercial||Alternate Open-Source|
Changing the asset catalog to this format allows both an open-source option to be considered and an open-source option to be the only option for preferred/alternate, if appropriate. Now, if only the federal government would modify the TRM in the FEAF, we taxpayers might be spared some of the tax burden by forcing agencies to consider open-source options.