In a recent issue of Entrepreneur there were articles on starting a blog, virtual workforce, instant messaging, mobile banking, using Skype and choosing between BlackBerry and iPhone. How will you achieve all that without gearing up with technology? If you are a small business here are two ways…

1. Use expensive commercial software.

2. Give free open source software a try in those areas where it meets your needs

The same issue also offered useful tips to revamp small business IT for serious savings. One way; use open source software (OSS). By their estimation, by using OSS a small business could save $18,950.

What happened in the past was SMB’s hesitated to bring in OSS because of a lack of in – house skills. While deep OSS expertise is still needed to be gained by small businesses, that obstacle is now surmountable as OSS is increasing in maturity, smaller businesses are fast being supported by commercial OSS vendors and many more third party support providers are materializing. While larger enterprises are interested in reduced costs and the ability to customize and look at OSS in that way, SMB’s look at OSS as a chance to bring in the latest of technology that earlier had to be procured by expensive proprietary applications according to analysts.

For those who are still ignorant or skeptical about OSS there are hundreds of millions of downloads and a visible public profile, Linux, Apache, Firefox and Open Office provide examples of the same. Additionally we can now read everywhere about successful case studies of large enterprises using Linux, Apache, and other OSS. This doesn’t make it as daunting for the small businesses who would otherwise feel afraid of an unbeaten path

Cost savings are just the beginning. CNET Blog Network author and popular OSS columnist Matt Asay says, “Now is a great time to use open source, to tap into the innovation and flexibility with budgets being cut. Though open source isn’t only or mainly about reducing costs it’s a great side effect.”

Small businesses are naturally shy about using modern technology to improve their business. In the past every time they thought of a good idea they had to drop it immediately because of the cost which was sky high. Eventually they didn’t think about it anymore. The equation has changed dramatically with OSS. So small businesses are herewith invited to put on the thinking cap again. Get creative. With so much OSS now available you can still find an open source application to the craziest idea you can ever come up with.

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