Why Procurement Professionals Need To Get Open Source Savvy

Phil Marshall | Open Source Delivers | June 3, 2013

Procurement’s primary role is to obtain goods and services in response to business needs.  When it comes to commercial software, procurement has long played an active role working with development teams to meet their needs for code.  With the abundance of free and open source software (FOSS) available on the Internet, developers have mostly bypassed procurement which raises two important issues.  First, if procurement is tasked with finding the best solution at the best price, shouldn’t they always be looking for open source alternatives to all commercial software purchase requests? Second, even though it’s free, shouldn’t procurement still assist developers in finding and evaluating FOSS?

Today’s procurement professionals can play a key role in helping organizations realize additional cost savings from the use of FOSS. As new requests for third-party commercial software are submitted, procurement specialists need to be able to assess if open source alternatives are available that could potentially replace the need for a commercial software purchase. To accomplish this, they’ll need to understand where to find and evaluate FOSS projects and become familiar with FOSS selection criteria, including support, license, security vulnerabilities, and more. This requires a working knowledge of the many public FOSS resources, including how to navigate within them to discover needed information supporting the selection process.