2009 Budgets are in and for many who oversee the Operations and IT Budget, you are probably challenged to reduce your capital budget by at least 40% lower than what you originally put in. As the pressure to cut continues, you may want to rethink about the software vendors you have selected to introduce into the Enterprise, or even think about replacing your legacy Enterprise applications with more cost effective open source or lower cost alternatives.
Still not convinced about Open Source or Lower Cost Alternatives? Well according to Gartner, approximately 85% of companies surveyed are already using Open Source Applications in 2008. The other 15% surveyed have plans to incorporate Open Source Strategies within their Enterprise in 2009. Whether your a small business, or you are looking to minimize costs - attached are some of the most cost effective applications on the market that can easily replace some of your more expensive Enterprise solutions and functions.
Open Office - An excellent and free alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office Suite. The suite contains out of the box functionality that even Microsoft's Office suite does not ship with like the ability to convert files to PDF.
Customer Relationship Management
Sugar CRM - A highly recommended CRM package that comes in a Free, Hosted, or Enterprise version.
Open CRM - A U.K Based CRM Company that claims to provide free licenses to those who use it.
Knowledge Management Vendors
OmniStar Kbase - A PHP based External or Internal Knowledge Management Software.
I.T Service Management/Help Desk Systems
O.T.R.S - The Open Source Ticket Request System that claims to be I.T.I.L certified. Save yourself 1/2 million dollars per year over investing in ITSM systems like Remedy or HP applications. This system includes many features to manage customer telephone calls and e-mails. The system is built to allow your support, sales, pre-sales, billing, internal IT, helpdesk, etc. department to react quickly to inbound inquiries. For a full list of Help Desk ticketing systems, click here.
Track It Web - Also Claims to be I.T.I.L Certified, Open Source, and significantly lower cost.
Jira - A flexible web based bug tracking, issue tracking, task tracking, and project management software solution.
BaseCamp - I was just recently introduced to this application, and it seems like a great tool for collaborating on projects over the web with remote teams, vendors, developers, and co workers located in different locations.
ActiveCollab - Another open source tool that is also compatible with iPhones.
eRoom.Net - A hosted collaborative solution that provides mid sized businesses with world class collaboration software in a hosted environment.
Content Management Systems & Community Software
Alfresco Open Source Content Management - Open Source Content Management for your web site, Intranet, or all of the above.
OpenCMS - Another Content Management application with great promise, and free to utilize.
Google Analytics - By far one of the best free analytic dashboards for your web site.
Get Clicky - This is Google Analytics, plus realtime results, and an iPhone friendly interface to track you web traffic remotely.
JS Kit - A free tool that enables you to incorporate reviews, ratings, and commenting functionality on your eCommerce site or Blog section of your web site and report on it.
103 Bees - Find out how customers are getting to your website. This tool focuses on analyzing search terms and questions that people are querying for prior to getting to your web site. It's a great tool for understanding your customers and for identifying new market opportunities.
Community & Forum Software
vBulletin - Probably the best in class Forum software out today. A small license fee, and some configuration and your up and running.
Dolphin Community Software - Build your own Community sites using this low cost open source platform.
Ning.Com - Geared more towards hobbyists, music enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs - this free platform provides an array of easy to use and deploy community features for your web site.
Audio & Web Conferencing
DimDim.Com - A great audio and web collaboration tool. Best of all it is free.
Yugma - Another decent and free web collaboration and conferencing solution.
Open Source Telephony Systems
Digium - This company offers telephony applications based on Open Source software that integrates with PCI telephony interface cards. The cost of their tools significantly lower than other vendors like Avaya, Nortel, and all the others.
Open Source Network Applications
Zenoss Inc. - This company provides network, server, and application monitoring solutions in the United States and internationally. The company offers Zenoss Core, Professional, and Enterprise solutions that monitors IT infrastructure, including networks, servers, virtualizations, and applications, as well as provide configuration management, availability management, performance monitoring, event/log management, and automatic remediation services.
Linux - This is the obvious platform these days, but I thought I would put it up anyway. According to a new Gartner study, About 52% of the companies surveyed are already using open-source server software and another 23% plan to use it within the next 12 months. However, Linux as an operating system for the desktop is much less established in enterprise use, with 39% of respondents in the Gartner survey currently using it and another 22% expecting to use it within the next year. Many of the vendors provide free distributions or are at significantly lower cost to some of the most complex tasks or functions that run your Enterprise today.
MySQL - The best and most cost effective choice for a free SQL/Database environment that needs to be hosted in the cloud.
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