Software Ecosystems

Software Ecosystems

Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry

Edited by Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper and Michael Cusumano

This book describes the state-of-the-art of software ecosystems. It constitutes a fundamental step towards an empirically based, nuanced understanding of the implications for management, governance, and control of software ecosystems.

Chapter 9: The open software enterprise model: how open is my software business?

Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper, Jurriaan Souer and Lutzen Luinenburg

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, strategic management, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


External observers are faced with the challenge of establishing whether a software producing organization is “open” or “closed”. Unfortunately, no tools are available for these observers to establish how open an organization and the software products it produces really are, leading to detrimental judgements based on speculation rather than a fair comparison. This chapter provides an overview of the different openness options that software producing organizations have available to them. Furthermore, an objective measurement instrument is provided that enables external observers to make a fair judgement on the openness or “closed-ness” of an organization, which is applied to four case studies to illustrate its application. The Open Software Enterprise model and the measurement instrument illustrate that organizational openness and transparency are complex variables, which should not be established based on belief or prejudice. Software Producing Organizations (SPOs) have one goal in common: get the software that is being produced to be adopted as frequently as possible. Different business models exist to obtain that goal, from open source models where source code is given away for free, to service models where the source code is running on a protected server. SPOs have discovered that they can achieve their goals quicker by creating an ecosystem of partners around the product, such as developers or resellers.

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