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Maturity Models for Open Source Adoption

Monday, June 5, 2006 - 10:57 by Mike Milinkovich

I’ve been meaning to blog on this for what feels like forever. I’m glad to finally have a moment to write this up.

Back on April 21st, I was one of a number of presenters at an event here in Ottawa put together by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) on Competing With Open Source Software. By far and away, my favourite presentation was from Peter Carbone, the Acting CTO of Nortel. He focused on a maturity model for open source adoption that was developed by researchers at my alma mater Carleton University with support and involvement from Nortel.

The maturity model really resonated with me. It felt exactly right, given the experiences I’ve had here at Eclipse.

The six stages of maturity identified were:

  • Stage 0: Denial – open source has no value, or we’re not using it.
  • Stage 1: Use – passive use of FLOSS.
  • Stage 2: Collaboration – contribute code and/or resources.
  • Stage 3: Champion – executive support, project leadership.
  • Stage 4: Strategic – defined business model based on FLOSS, and drive projects to achieve business goals.
  • Stage 5: Aggressive – design products so that they can be based on FLOSS, obtain competitive advantage by harnessing changes in multiple ecosystems.

Within the Eclipse ecosystem we can see companies at every stage of this maturity model. We’re constantly working with organizations who are interested in getting to the next level of maturity.

In addition to the maturity model itself, I felt that this statement under success factors is particularly applicable to Eclipse: “Ability to appropriate co-created value is more important than lowering costs“. I think that statement really defines what brings so many companies to participate in Eclipse projects, where they can collaborate on the platform and then compete with the products they build on top.

I would be really interested in hearing comments on this maturity model and presentation. Like I said, I felt it was very good and really captured what we’re experiencing at Eclipse. Has anyone seen another maturity model that they feel is superior to this?