Adam is Director, State and Local Government at CapTech where he leads the company's government solutions group. Adam is responsible for supporting the Company with the creation of a variety of national offerings in support of CapTech's SLG clients. Adam is Chairman of the Claims Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Committee which manages the technology communication and data standard for Insurance Carrier and TPA transmission with State Workers' Compensation Jurisdictions. Prior to joining CapTech, Adam was co-founder and President of AgroShield, LLC a specialty chemical company focused on the development of proprietary compounds for the agriculture and health care markets. Prior to AgroShield, Adam was a member of the management team at The Egg Factory (TEF). While at TEF, he was involved in the development and subsequent license to Johnson & Johnson of a proprietary spectacle lens technology. His work at TEF included project oversight, corporate communication, coordinating venture funding and government affairs. Prior to joining TEF, Adam was special assistant for a former Lt. Governor of Virginia where he directed the legislative agenda for the Virginia General Assembly and directed all office communications. He began his career as a political consultant, where he provided political and legislative advice to a variety of candidates for public office and corporations. He has a MS, Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia and BS in Political Science from East Carolina University.
The Value of Open Source Technology for Government
May 12 2010
Is Open Source a Viable Option for Government?
In recent years there have been thousands of articles, blog posts, and ancillary commentary evaluating the use of Open Source technology by government. In recent months, the commentary has increased based on the State of California’s recent decision to approve open source as a viable offering for the State. www.cio.ca.gov/.../IT_Policy_Letter_10-01_Open_Source_Software.pdf. The use of Open Source software is an important decision for government and business technology decision makers alike and should be evaluated on a program basis. Further, the decision to use open source does not and should not be an all or nothing proposition.
There have been many cases where Open Source has added a tremendous amount of value and truly lowered the cost of implementing of mission critical applications for government agencies, but the decision goes far beyond near term cost. Personally, I believe that Open Source is a viable option for government but the choice needs to be assessed against a variety of factors.
First and foremost, the question needs to be asked - will Open Source meet business objectives? In many cases there are COTS packages or other solutions that exist in the marketplace that will better meet the business objectives. Additionally, in most cases, this is not an all or nothing decision - there may and should be combination of Open Source with traditionally licensed software. As an example using an Open Source web server or portal framework with commercial content management software and or database platform.
In today’s environment, Open Source provides real value that should not be overlooked. In fact, Government agencies are increasingly asked to keep pace with the customer service experience provided in the private sector. Think of the functionality of a web-banking platform and equate to the functions provided by government. Stakeholders are not just interested in these capabilities, they are demanding the same rich, web-based customer self-service for all dealings with government. From applying for unemployment benefits or disputing a workers’ compensation case to filing business renewals with government, these are all important use cases where Open Source can provide an attractive alternative.
With government it is often difficult to predict the adoption rate of a web-based system – this combined with traditional software licensing structures mean that it is often difficult to budget web-based initiatives for the government. Open Source helps alleviate this budgeting uncertainty and is a great solution for managing costs associated with creating a rich and most importantly secure government applications.
As a proponent of using Open Source software in the government sector, I intend to blog over the next several week about variety of topics that I am hopeful will support organizations in their analysis.
- Evaluation and Decision Criteria
- Combining Open Source with Best of Breed to solve specific challenges
- Balancing Cost, time to market, system features and long-term maintenance
- Combating Open Source Fact over Fiction
Keep in mind; government has been using Open Source for years and possibly without even knowing it.