BIT Seminar at the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen

31.05.07, 14:00 - Faculty of Computer Science, Free University of
Bozen-Bolzano, Piazza Domenicani 3, Bozen-Bolzano, Seminar Room (first
floor left)

Outsourcing to an Unknown Workforce: Exploring Opensourcing as
Offshore Sourcing Practice

BIT Prof. Brian Fitzgerald -- University of Limerick


BIT Prof. Brian Fitzgerald -- University of Limerick
This seminar presents a psychological contract perspective on the use
of the open source development model as an offshore outsourcing
practice - opensourcing as we term it here - whereby commercial
companies and open source communities collaborate on development of
software of commercial interest to the company. Building on previous
research on IS outsourcing, a theoretical framework for exploring the
opensourcing phenomenon is derived. The first phase of the research
concerned qualitative case studies involving three commercial
organizations (IONA Technologies, Philips Medical Systems and
Telefonica) who had 'liberated' what had hitherto been proprietary
software and sought to grow a global open source community around
their product. We followed this with a large-scale survey involving
additional exemplars of the phenomenon. The study identifies a number
of symmetrical and complementary customer and community obligations
which are associated with opensourcing success. We also identify a
number of tension points on which customer and community perceptions
tend to vary. Overall the key watchwords for opensourcing are
openness, trust, tact, professionalism, transparency and
complementariness: The customer and community need to establish a
trusted partnership of shared responsibility in building an overall
opensourcing ecosystem. The study reveals an ongoing shift from OSS as
community of individual developers to OSS as community of commercial
organizations, primarily small to medium-sized enterprises. It also
reveals that opensourcing provides ample opportunity for companies to
headhunt top developers - hence moving from outsourcing to a largely
unknown OSS workforce towards recruitment of developers from a global
open source community whose talents have become known as a result of
the opensourcing experience.

Reference person: Barbara Russo <mailto:%20Barbara.Russo(a)>

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