Open Source Software

Implementation Guide

When implementing any new software – open source software included – some basic principles apply.


Do your research

  • Look at your software costs – where are you spending your money and could open source help cut costs?

  • Look at how your current software performs – do you struggle to find proprietary software that is right for your needs.

Perform a cost/benefit analysis

  • Compare the costs of running your current systems – software, hardware and less tangible costs such as IT support costs and staff training – with the costs and predicted benefits of an open source software system.



  • You may want to seek help from a Business Link adviser to scope out your project and assess your options.

Technical considerations

  • Will you be able to download free software that meets your needs or will you need third party help to tailor it?

  • Are you going to be able to do the implementation yourself?

  • What levels of service will you need?


  • It’s best to run a pilot project to test your business applications on the new operating system. This helps you iron out any hitches before you go live and roll out the system to all staff.

  • The evaluation should be run as a business project and not regarded as a technical playground. Pilot open source software on a low-risk system that is not central to your business, so it will not interfere with the running of your business if things go wrong.


  • Decide which staff will require training and allow time for them to adjust to the new system.

  • If you have your own IT staff, will you need to send them on training courses to equip them with the skills they need for day-to-day support?


  • Get feedback from staff on the changes.

  • Evaluate the impact after six months and one year. Have you achieved your cost-saving objectives? Have you reduced network downtime? Establish how you could improve things further.

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