Tech revolutions of old, from bronze age to steam or electrical ages, have spanned centuries and follow each other in linear progression. Today, tech revolutions happen all at once which is a huge challenge for large companies, and an overwhelming threat for most small ones. Yet one of these revolutions provides many of the answers, and is arguably the human race’s greatest achievement – yet few people know much about it. So what is it? Well, it’s called Open Source (OS) and it’s the most powerful resource on earth.
The internet has enabled the global community of software developers to simply ‘share’ code. This started out through altruism, and to showcase skills – and now the scale of OS dwarfs even the largest global organisation’s coding capacity. Every complex system relies heavily on OS to power it. For example, OS played a pivotal role in the global community’s response to COVID-19, from PPE design to scaling ventilator/CPAP manufacturing, plus vaccine development at an unprecedented scale and pace
The real beauty of OS is that it’s free, and it allows a multitude of software providers to build powerful, affordable solutions aimed at transforming and empowering small organisations too. This means digital transformation is now possible for micro businesses, enabling them to embrace all the cultural, social and technology revolutions that are sweeping through right now. Making it possible for small organisations to be the fastest to react, and lead change, not follow it.
Open Source has also led to the rapid rise of what’s called ‘Low-Code’, which refers to software applications that require minimal code to implement, so ordinary digital natives can build exceptionally powerful solutions in a fraction of the historic time and cost. The OS revolution is putting power back into the hands of non-coders and organisations which are not awash with resource. WordPress is one example, it is a tool that powers about half of all websites, and its army of 1,200 software developers believe “great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely”. The OS revolution allows small businesses to have access to software solutions utilising millions of £’s of investment for a fraction of the price – and as soon these systems themselves become obsolete, they can be seamlessly replaced with the latest improved solution. This is the future of everything, and everyone, large or small.
Small businesses have no excuse to shy away from digital transformation – they should embrace it. Digital removes barriers and enhances experiences, and where implemented correctly it enables small, agile businesses to be ahead of their competition and exploit all revolutions as they arise.