Selection criteria for enterprise-ready Open Source software

Matthias Günter, GnostX GmbH, 2024

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 

Introduction

This document shows how an open source software can be evaluated for enterprise readiness.

AreaElementDescriptionPossible MeasurementEnterprise level target
CapabilityFunctionality coveredDoes the software cover the functionality needed for the core use cases.Weighted percentage of  use cases / functions  / capabilities covered. Goal 80% covered>=4/5 stars
CapabilityMaturityIs the software mature enough, for the intended use. Maturity can be classified as (poc, early adopters, main, late adopters)Weighed maturity per use case / function / capability. Goal: 90% of the core capabilities covered with main.>= 4/5 stars
EvolutionEvolutionCan the software evolveRoadmap, past releases dense enough with big enough increments. Goal: More than 2 releases per year (depending on what the software does)>= 3/5 star
EvolutionDeveloper poolEnough development power exists for the softwareNumber of developers Goal: One professional big player (is more classical software development) or 2-3 medium size players or >5 small players or internal team big enough for supporting the project>=4/5 stars 
EvolutionFinancial viabilitySoftware developers can live from their software.  May be a subscription model or payment for development.Annual revenues estimated Goal: Developers can live from the income>=4/5 stars
UsageLicenseThe license allows to do the things that need to be done. It combines well with other licenses, when it needs to be. GPL may be critical. OSI licenseReview license Goal: A liberal license>=3/5 stars
DocumentationDocumentationThe necessary business, technical and procedural documentation exists and is up to date and available in the language that are needed.  Typical minimal documentation: architecture document user manual installation manual troubleshooting manual specification of interfaces Review the documentation. Goal: Documentation available and useable>= 3/5 stars
MarketMarketMultiple users exist that make the software development worthwhile.Market reasearch/customer list Goal: At least one customer of the same size and many other customers. Customers in the same area/cuntry are prefered.>=4/5 stars
MarketLarge CustomersThe software is used by other (large) customers in the same business area.Market research/customer list Goal: At least one customer of the same size and many other customers.>=4/5 stars
Own involvementOwn involvementThis is optional, but if the company intends to get involved, then it would be helpful: bug tracking/translations/development work.

ReliablityReliabilityThe software has the necessary reliability level.Discussion with existing customers. In some cases the special needs of the company must be taken into account. Goal: The software is reliable enough>=4/5 stars
ReliabilityComplianceSpecial regulations and standards in the business area are respected/supported.Document review Goal: The software fulfills the regulation and supports the relevant standards.>=4/5 stars
ReliabilitySecurityThe software is secure, the project shows it can handle the security. The architecture reflects a concern for the security of the software.Reviews Goal: Security is built into the software.>=4/5 stars
CapabilityUsabilityThe software meets the usability criteriaTests Goal: The software integrates in the users processes (sometimes it is easier to streamline the process)>=4/5 stars
CapabilityPerformanceThe software meets the perofrmance needs.Tests Goal: The software scales to the necessary level and performs within the constraints set by the users.>=4/5 stars
CapabilityQualityThe project and the software maintain the quality neededReview, research Goal: Project and software have quality processes.>=4/5 stars
ProfessionalsmSupportThe project that supports the software is professionally organised and can deliver the support needed.Market research Goal: The support needs are covered.>=4/5 stars

Relevant table of enterprise readiness of open source software

Usage

For each software the table is filled, also weights may be assigned to the rows.  Also a textual verdict by the experts that fill in the table is helpful. The star rating should be given by some subject matter experts.

Further reading

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