Assessing the maturity of Open Source adoption in an enterprise

By Ankit Pandey | Architect – Open Source Strategy Advisor, Wipro

According to a survey, open source software (OSS) is rated equal to or better than proprietary software by 94% of IT executives. All but five of the Fortune 500 currently use OSS, and 95% of IT specialists agree that open source has become strategically important.

Open source is not optional anymore but has transformed into a necessity to scale a business. With this realization and its ubiquitous adoption, IT organizations are leaving no stone unturned to incorporate open source into their business and technology strategies.

Like every transformation journey, open source adoption has several significant milestones. Knowing their current position with respect to these milestones helps IT organizations identify not only the attributes and characteristics of their position in the journey but also the ways to reach the advanced levels of maturity.

Wipro’s Open Source Maturity Model (OSMM) has been developed by experts with more than 20 years of practical open-source background. For example, we contributed an instance to FINOS to help finance organizations evaluate their current position on their open source journey and make progress.

Open Source Maturity Model

The Open Source Maturity Model is a tool to help organizations make more informed decisions faster, about the most effective way to use open source to meet corporate objectives. It allows them to understand where they are today, define an optimal future state based on their goals, objectives, resources, and constraints, and create a roadmap to get there.

In the parlance of OSMM, this open source journey to meet corporate goals is called the “maturity curve”, and milestones on the maturity curve are called “maturity stages.”

The open source maturity of an organization is a function of their position on three dimensions: Strategy, Management, and Usage. Each of these dimensions has several elements. Each element has associated attributes and implications corresponding to a maturity stage. Finally, for each maturity stage, the elements have a set of suggested activities which help an organization reach the next stage of maturity curve.

An organization can be positioned at any of the five stages on the open source maturity curve, namely (in increasing order of maturity):

1. Ad hoc — Characterized by little to no organized understanding of, and view on, open source. There is no governance nor controls of any kind in place, developers are downloading open source as they see fit. There is no insight into the amount, location or impact of open source from a development, legal, compliance, or security perspective.

2. Aware The organization is becoming aware of its usage of open source to some degree. Typically, legal, security, or risk management implement some form of strong controls. This state may also be referred to as “reactive”.

3. Managed — An organization at the managed stage begins to think more thoughtfully about how they are going to realize some of the benefits of open source in a safe and compliant manner. They begin to plan and implement a policy and set of processes which support the use of open source rather than restrict it. At this point, some organizations are thinking about an open-source program office (OSPO) or have implemented a very basic one; the company may begin scanning code to some degree.

4. Engaged—An organization at this stage will be close to fully implemented governance programs that support developers rather than restrict them. They are contributing more actively back to communities and looking at open sourcing some of their own software or participating in foundations. Benefits are being seen across multiple dimensions and a strategy is being fully formed to capture them programmatically for innovation, developer recruitment, retention, and increased productivity. The organization may be implementing inner source; they have a fully formed stack of collaboration tools in place.

5. Leading — A leading organization has a fully formed strategy, effective policies and processes, and an OSPO that is helping the organization define and realize its open-source goals and fully align them with overall corporate objectives. This org contributes to many projects, and they are fully engaged in one or more foundations. They are beginning to fully realize the benefits of open source across strategic, technological, innovation, and organizational domains. They have a fully implemented inner source and cultural transformation program driven by open source principals. They are public and open about their activities.

Open Source Maturity Model

Open Source Maturity Model Process

The OSMM process includes the following steps:

1. Take the survey (populates the maturity model)

2. Review Output (position on the maturity curve)

a. Spider and tabular charts showing present state of maturity

b. Interview feedback

3. Conduct current state analysis

4. Plan future state

a. Actions and recommendations to achieve future or target state

5. Implement

a. Actions and recommendations from earlier step

6. Refine

Open Source Maturity Model Process

OSMM Output

After taking the OSMM survey, the following outputs indicate the position on the open-source maturity curve for each element and dimension.

Open Source Maturity Model — Sample Output 1
Open Source Maturity Model — Sample Output 2

How Open Source Maturity Model can help organizations

By taking the OSMM survey, organizations become aware of their position on the open-source maturity curve for all dimensions and elements. They can then evaluate the target state of open-source maturity they want to achieve to accomplish their business and technology goals. Wipro can help define the target state for open-source maturity and deliver specific recommendations and action items.

Wipro has created this model based on years of experience executing open-source assessments for global organizations and contributed it to FINOS. It is available at: https://github.com/finos/osmm

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