Progress “Divests” Savvion – OR – How OSS Mitigates Software Risk

Just two years ago Progress acquired Savvion for around 40mill USD. Some of you may remember my blogs on this subject, as a large proportion of the product consisted of repackaging Drools; but without giving any noticeable due credit.

Now Progress has decided to divest itself of Savvion, along with a number of other products. I can imagine the existing Savvion install base is not too happy, as noted in this Savvion blog article:
This will no doubt have an impact to many organizations which uses Savvion for their core business applications and will impact other major initiatives. It is too setback and bad corporate strategy by Progress specially when the acquisition on Savvion was quite recent. ”

There is an important lesson to learn from this, with regards to risk management.
Open Source Never Dies!!!

When you commit to a product you need to know it’s going to be there for the long term. With proprietary technologies you are at the whim of the current business strategy. It took just two years for Progress to decide to divest itself of Savvion, creating uncertainty and risk for the community.

Open Source technologies offer an alternative way to manage risk. Healthy projects with large community adoption will always have companies invested in both developing that software and providing services around it. If the dominant company(s) decides, for what ever reason, to refocus their strategy and divest themselves of their involvement with that project; other organisations will step up to fill that void.

Now of course you need to make sure you pick a healthy project, with a strong community and large world wide adoption; such as we have with Drools and jBPM. Some areas to consider that help assess a projects health include, but is not limited to:

  • mailing list volumes
  • speaking engagements and workshops
  • published books
  • real time chat channels
  • user groups
  • job adverts (shows demand)
  • number of service companies
  • global impact (where in the world it has installed user bases and service companies)

Drools and jBPM are very successful projects at Red Hat, and Red Hat is very committed. But imagine in Bizarro world where a new RHT CEO decided to divest itself of the Drools and jBPM projects. Over night many of the existing alternative service companies out there would be competing to fill that gap and take on the divested Red Hat customer base. New companies might be formed too, to take advantage of the situation. To differentiate themselves from other service companies they would look to take on more of the core development for the project to demonstrate leadership in the community. In short the technology lives on, your risk from the adoption of the technology is mitigated. Further you have multiple options from competing vendors all vying to give you the best possible services and technology.

Compare the above Bizarro world situation to the reality that Savvion users are now experiencing.

But Savvion users, fret not. Red Hat brings a world of sunshine, come on over and dive in, the water is lovely :)


Comments are closed.