Local organisations are looking for the smartest, fastest IT solutions and, despite the ongoing threat of license infringement suits, are making business decisions based on business principles rather than open source/proprietary strategies.
Cape-based Synerlogix, a 100% black owned and managed business solutions company, says many of their best and biggest implementations have included open source systems.
"We are not an open source only company. Most of our clients have legacy systems based largely on proprietary solutions. We have been surprised by the willingness of clients to explore open solutions as a viable alternative to proprietary ones," explains founder and CEO, Thabied Harris.
SynerLogix, established in 2005, offers business process improvement, labour broking, business intelligence and application development as part of its services. Harris started the company after many years at the Safmarine group and says his desire to start the consultancy company was ironed out with the support and encouragement of the Cape IT Initiative of which Synerlogix is a member.
"Then executive director, Masedi Molosiwa spent many an hour with me over coffee as I plotted the future of the newco. Since then I have remained in close contact with current CITI chief, Viola Manuel who has continued to support me," says Harris.
One of the company's more recent sites is the University of the Western Cape where Synerlogix assisted with the restructuring of the finance division. This included the first implementation of an open source enterprise business intelligence tool in Africa (using Pentaho).
A member voucher systems at Virgin Active, which led to significant savings, was done using content management system, Joomla. Synerlogix also turned to open source to deliver business advantage for Shell Energy.
"The reality of business today is that CIOs are looking for the best solution based on a variety of considerations. Certainly price is one of them, but solid technical solutions remain a key focus.
While open source cannot be foisted on a client for the sake of it, it does often supply a better solution. Synerlogix will continue to offer proprietary solutions and we have great partnerships with these vendors, but we look at every available option and advise based on an holistic business consideration," Harris says.