Weather Company CIO says informed IT leaders are open to open source

Weather Company CIO says informed IT leaders are open to open source

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December 07, 2015
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Just a few short years ago, there was a possibility you might lose credibility by bringing up open source as a possible solution for an IT problem. As 2015 draws to a close, it’s more likely that you will lose credibility for not bringing up open. This doesn’t mean the decisions or the outcomes are closer to being right, but at least there’s a respectable debate going on.

I look at open source and take stock that we’ve come a long way as an industry, and I think that’s good. Apple has recently made some noise related to the platform they’re building out that is heavily open source-based. Google has just released a big part of its AI technology, and IBM is hard at work in the Spark community. As the consumerization of IT continues its march and as consumers begin to consume content from nontraditional sources as their new traditional means – the Netflixes of the world, the Hulus, the Amazon Instants, the HBO GOs – they’re starting to be more comfortable and familiar with less traditional and niche players as a part of their lives.

I think the open source conversation has come a long way, and as it continues to increase in its importance, companies that are still shying away from open are clearly being led by people who are probably not fully informed about the decisions they’re making. More likely than not, their resistance is based on a lack of full education on the topic. And so as leadership continues to turn over and as people rise through the ranks of an organization and we see that turnover occur, what we will see I think, is more informed decision-makers being put in positions of authority who can ensure that the decisions they’re making are coming from a place of education.

When that occurs, I would expect to see a continued rise in the use of open source technology solutions, especially in modularized ways so that it’s easier to replace one set of libraries or components in your stack with a new set as open source projects ebb and flow throughout their life cycles.

As I’ve seen it, every year that we get more informed and educated about open source allows us to make better decisions as an industry about the solutions we’re building.

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Bryson Koehler is the chief technology officer of the IBM Watson & IBM Cloud platform division at IBM. This division encompasses cognitive and AI computing capabilities of Watson machine learning, the public IaaS IBM Cloud platform, IBM’s big-data cloud analytics group, Clearlead, Cleversafe, the Watson Data Platform and The Weather Company. Prior to this role, he served as the chief information and technology officer of The Weather Company.

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