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From the Frontiers of Research to the Heart of the Enterprise
O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina
July 22-26, 2002 -- San Diego, CA



Speaking the Same Language as the Decision Makers
Jason Reid, Codeit Computing

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Wednesday, July 24
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Grande Ballroom C

Corporate Hot Buttons: One of the greatest challenges that Open Source technologies have in the business world is acceptance. It is easy for the mid level IT manager or even the CIO to choose a closed source solution based on the simple "If I chooses Microsoft technologies and something breaks, I won't lose my job". In order to convince the decision maker that your solution makes sense, you'll have to make certain that you don't push any 'hot buttons' that make it seem risky.

The Language Gap: It may seem at times that you aren't even speaking the same language as the person making the decisions for your project. There are simple ways in which you can ensure that the options you're presenting are understood, without having to oversimplify the choices.

Comparisons - come prepared: The best way to oppose a proprietary solution with an open source one is by making sure that the comparison is apples-to-apples, not apples-to-oranges. So, you need to be armed with the appropriate checklists in order to demonstrate the advantages of your proposed solution.

Money Matters: We all know that open source solutions are much more cost effective than proprietary ones. With the economy continuing to slow and budgets tightening across the board, making this point effectively to the decision maker can be the one thing that closes the deal, after the other objections have been dealt with.

Professional Image counts: Finally, it's very important not to give the decision maker any reason to reject your proposed solution. Sadly, many ideas are rejected based not on their merits, but on the impression that the person presenting them makes.

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