Corporate Open Source

One concept that is under active discussion for the past decade or so but constantly being misunderstood. Open Source is often taken as a label for software downloaded from the internet, packages free of charge, components under a particular license filed under “Creative”. Often enough it’s misused for lower quality software, which reality has proven wrong by 2017, not to mention the issue with intellectual property.

However, there are many much more aspects to the concept, that add substantial value to any software centrist product organisation. And in times of digitalisation and digital transformation, software will move into the value chain of many organisation that don’t anticipate it yet. Whenever a customer offering is complex and / or service based, transparency and documentation are often key to a satisfactory result and efficient processes.

Open source may not be the one single bullet for any organization, but the concept will help becoming more transparent and efficient.

Single Source of Truth

While SharePoint is a powerful tool with many opportunities to improve processes, many organisations use it to maintain a file server. Which has information about any other effort, therefore creating a large spread between the tangible product and the then theoretical documentation. Not to mention the version horror everybody experienced at least once, trying to ask a few people for the latest version.

Reversing this process through Wiki or even Version Control Repositories allows to keep only one version, that is automatically the latest. Software will take care of all versioning, that would go in filenames_v01_final.docx otherwise.

Transparency

Adding together the product with documentation allows quick reference, pointing back and forth between customer facing and engineering. While this may sound terrible technical, the nasty guts of any product can still be ignored by those who don’t need to see it. However, for those requiring insight, they don’t have to go through a process to see it. Or even have to talk to a colleague first and ask. Oh, and the colleague will be on vacation anyway.

Opening the product internals will remove any barrier to productive work and allow employees for quick insight. Obviously, some may argue an open repository may lead to uncontrollable product results, but that’s actually a different point. Write access or merge credentials are not required for anybody without responsibility.

Applicable Metrics

To shape it all up, the management world has plenty of nice metrics that can be applied to measure the whole thing. Not all of them express quality by themselves, but applied consciously these can carry a product far.

Documentation Coverage is something that will serve as a great basis for the point I’m trying to make here. With closed projects, or engineering only code, it’s often difficult to understand whether a product, feature or bug is actually just badly documented or the colleague just doesn’t want to help.

With a metric to measure percentage of a product being documented, at a minimum the amount of available documentation can be measured. And with the product internals being transparent, any reader can – at least theoretically – see whether the documentation correctly corresponds.

Conclusion

While being a strong supporter of open source software in general, I’m not trying to make a point for open sourcing anything outside an organisation. However, transparency will help any organisation improve the offering and processes. And the concept of open source will help achieve this transparency. It has a hurdle to overcome, in particular management will have to overcome their fear of software and technology to adopt this concept, but the step is worth taking on the way to digital transformation.

Travel a lot?

Don’t worry, you are not alone. German airports counted 207.934.803 travelers, in 2014. Out of all included airports in that report, the top 3 busiest airports, Airport Paris-Charles-de-GaulleFrankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC) and Düsseldorf (DUS),  are responsible for more than half of all travelers, in total. (121.117.136 Travelers). And the numbers won’t include transit. Now consider the Munich Airport only serves all of Bavaria, which had 12.604.000 people living there in December 2013. With MUC serving 39.593.025 passengers (departure and arrival) in 2014, assuming everybody returns to where he departed, every Bavarian would fly from Erding 1.57times per year. And the trend is increasing, after the same paper from above. Obviously, there are some people traveling The tip of the Eiffeltower. Not visible: the Eiffeltower.more than others, and I do definitely give to the side north of the average.

In times of global communication and videoconferencing means, commodity and convenience is a an argument for all business type of apps. Travel websites make it easy for customers, private and business, easy to get away. AirBnB even makes a (huge) business offering cheaper deals on privately let apartments. No traveler needs to work with a travel agency anymore. Any  traveler can arrange a trip to a Sacré-Cœur de Montmartrerandom European city by himself in minutes and spend a few hundred € max.

In particular, business makes huge use of this commodity, for one particular reason. Policymakers regulated business very much about how business partners can close deals, for a good reason. And compliance is a huge social achievement, laying out common rules for all business. But all personal interaction and mutual appreciation cannot be outweighed by Internet, e-Mail, social media or videoconferencing. The more valuable and complex a solution Aisle on a random airplane.will be, trust is a part the decision maker will appreciate higher. That makes frequent business travel indispensable. And so are airports full of travelers that do not appreciate traveling. People that get up 5am in the morning, to fly out to a city 2 hours flight away, to make it to a 9.30am meeting, with executives from an important account. And come home by 9pm. Instead of enjoying the experience.

Remote work cannot replace traveling, in particular for business partners. But remote work should complement travel. Business travelers should see traveling as a privilege, enjoying the destinations they are traveling too, and not an annoying duty, just to get the business done.

How do you travel on business?

Infografik: Warum Startups scheitern

Sehr schöne Analyse, warum 11 von 12 Startups scheitern. Hauptgrund, schenkt man dieser Analyse Glauben, ist zu frühes Wachstum. Irgendwie kommt aus der Grafik aber nicht raus, ob es für die Idee des gescheiterten Unternehmens überhaupt einen hinreichenden Markt gab oder ob dort nur Geld verbrannt wurde.  

via Kaffeepause: Warum Startups scheitern | Gründerszene.

Internet: The winner takes all

Lesebefehl: Der Artikel beginnt damit, Marktgrößen der vorangegangenen Generation, der Pre-Internet Zeit, als Beispiele zu nennen. Konsum-Produkte sind als “Long Tail” leichter durch das Internet als Vertriebskanal zu verkaufen sind und gegenüber den bekannten Marken genauso leicht zu finden sind. Damit sind die Beispiele, die der Autor nennt, schwer zu vergleichen mit Amazon, Google, Apple oder Amazon, die es tatsächlich geschafft haben, Infrastruktur zu werden, fast alle anderen Angebote hängen in der ein oder anderen Form von diesen 4 Firmen ab.

assertTrue( ): How the Internet is Changing Economics

Am Ende ist das Argument “Winner Takes all” leicht nachzuvollziehen. Diversität findet im Internet (Content-) Business gerade wenig statt.