Budgetary concerns are a central issue to any boardroom, be that boardroom a lush suite on the 73rd floor or an adjoining office off the side of your home. If you’re running a business, your boardroom is wherever you are.
A huge amount of thought goes into starting (and running) a business but especially so for those still in the process of getting stable. While executive professionals invest their careers into the success of a powerful corporation, individuals invest their lives into the pursuit of their small business dreams. Needless to say, important aspects of operation left unconsidered can be catastrophic. Which is why every entrepreneur has their own checklist of critical issues - from the primary evaluations of your core business plan and determining viability, to refining your product, to adjusting your company’s marketing and sales approaches.
Now, consider this: In 2001, Amazon filed their SEC quarterly, noting a savings of over $21 million - and attributing their multi-million windfall to switching over to Linux.
The fact is, moving to a Linux environment boasts the potential to save money in a vast - and still expanding - variety of ways, including saving on licensing, upgrades, and implementation fees–and that’s just off the top.
Part of the big issue at hand isn’t just wrapped around budgetary concerns - it’s about freedom of choice. Many entrepreneurs have asked themselves why they should have to pay so very much when there are robust, powerful, and free alternatives.
The big reasons:
According to an excellent piece by Steven Vaughan-Nichols - a writer over at ComputerWorld.com - there are 4 major reasons why big companies (the metric used considers ‘big’ to mean a minimum annual revenue of over $500 million) are switching over to Linux:
1. Technical superiority of feature and functionality
One of the key features that people love about Linux comes down to the fine-tuning control its users have over the systems. While this used to be of primary interest only to the IT crowd and associated professionals, Linux’s suite of tools have grown so comprehensive (and so user-friendly) that just about anyone can utilize the platform to strategically conform operating systems to their business needs. No more superfluous, expensive, and useless product getting in your way or sitting there costing you money.
2. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Not surprisingly, second on the list of primary reasons businesses make the switch to Linux (and usually away from Windows) is the massive windfall for company budget - as covered above.
The by-word of Linux may as well be ‘excellent security’. Even those who are only passingly familiar with Linux as a concept will most likely echo this fact when asked what, if anything, they know about Linux.
The issue of vendor-lock is, despite being the last on the list, is one that we feel deserves a much stronger appraisal. The fact behind the point is simply this: if you don’t like the service, support, or contract with Microsoft, your immediate options are pretty nil. Dropping your primary operating systems and software cold-turkey just isn’t a viable option for 99% of businesses - especially small ones. A switch has to be carefully planned out just to avoid incurring contract fees for dropping a product you don’t even like anymore.
Some of these companies on the list come with the power of global brand recognition. It’s fascinating to see that some of the largest enterprises in the world run with and depend upon Linux. To name just a few:
- Amazon (as we mentioned in the beginning)
- Virgin America Airlines
- IBM (IBM went so far as to create a TV advert touting that “IBM supports Linux 100%”)
- The New York and London Stock Exchanges (Yes, the modern world’s financial powerhouses depend upon Linux for operation.)
Governments and official organizations the world over made the decision to switch over as well. Three very notable examples:
The entire city of Munich in Germany went Linux, and in 2012 reported a savings for the City of over 14 million USD.
France’s national police force began moving their 90,000 computer-strong systems over to Ubuntu from Windows XP back in 2007. They estimated they saved around €50 million on software licensing costs alone in just a four year period.
Much of the U.S. government, from the White House web servers to the Armed Forces, relies on Linux. The entire U.S. Navy fleet of nuclear submarines runs on Linux, while the US Army is the single largest install base in the world for Red Hat Linux.
As impressive as all that sounds, you don’t need to be in an ‘all or nothing’ mindset when considering changing your business-critical operations. Many small businesses go at it piecemeal, one program at a time - among the most common of these is dropping Microsoft Office for Libre Office, which our Panther MPC units run.
Keep things simple and save your business money. The business world is hectic enough without adding more stress trying to fit square pegs into round holes. And the simple reason as to why so many businesses are switching over to Linux can be summed up in two words: it works.